Publishing Tools: InDesign - article

It’s always a little daunting to take a stab at new software, when you’re already fast and furious with the applications you know. For a writer or illustrator, however, InDesign is a great tool with many desirable features to enhance your workflow. The combination of editing choices is endless. Even if you tried to master the full range of services, you probably wouldn’t discover them all.

On the author end, InDesign is convenient, as it allows you easily to paste your work onto its blank sheets. If you don’t want to use a word processor, this program allows you to type your work right onto a new page. It has all the standard features you’re accustomed to like choosing font color and size. The text can be positioned on the page, as left-justified, centered, or in other configurations. The program enables you to create a table of contents page, and countless other typical features you simply can’t live without. You can add captions, headers, and footers as well. You can create and edit your whole book right there on the InDesign program, making the illustration portion of your project an easy next step.

For the illustrator, this program replaces the use of a separate photo-editing program to add pictures to documents. You can add your pictures within the program, and manipulate them with the ease of clicking a few buttons. The program allows you to edit the photos for size, positioning, and focus. You can change their coloring and use other techniques, such as fading and shadowing. Even the angle of the picture can be altered. They have a nifty feature that gives you the exact degree of the angle, so there’s no need to guess. Layers can be added. There is even a scissors tool for cropping. In offering all this, within a document that already contains your text, you effectively cut out the middle man. There is no need to go back and forth between applications, and in turn your workflow becomes both simplified and far more organized. It makes it easy to illustrate your own book. If you’re a freelance artist, you can illustrate someone else’s book, with a much cleaner process for sharing information with your writer.

With all these benefits, what are the drawbacks? It’s possible you shouldn’t completely dismiss word processors and photo-editing software. This is where assessing your needs comes in. Is learning new software worth the effort? InDesign is sometimes a bit tricky to figure out. You may find it hard to create new pages and layers. With some practice, however, you should become reasonably comfortable using it. Once you master InDesign, it could become a great tool for an illustrator or author.

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  • I have two questions. Perhaps they have a common solution.

    First, when I export a full cover from InDesign as a pdf file, a paragraph of text on the back page appears to have been pasted up by Lulu's engine so that thin straight lines show between lines of text when I download Lulu's rendering, which is clearly unacceptabe. What is the remedy for that?

    Second, when I export as 300 dpi jpeg or png, the text looks okay in the downloaded rendering, but the preview panel the customer will see shows blurred text. How do I get around this?

  • As a designer, InDesign has always been a favourite for portfolio layouts, brochures and even resumes. I'm excited to use it now for my book. Thanks!

  • I'm a newbie who is ready to start typing my book and want to get a Microsoft word program that has grammar and spellcheck for my windows 10.  Some people say the older programs are much easier than the 2016.  Help please!  Before I plunk down my $109.  Thank you, Patricia

  • My book size is Height is 8 and width is 5.917 I want the pages to bleed though how can I do that on Indesign or photoshop? Please help thank you! Rocio
  • Will this be something you can use from other design websites, such as I wished I knew this before I sent in my manuscript, but the next book I write I will use this information.