Adobe InDesign CC - A complete introduction
- 3 hours on-demand video
- 31 downloadable resources
- Full lifetime access
- Access on mobile and TV
- Certificate of Completion
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- After this course, students will know enough to work in a professional graphics studio. Seriously.
- All you'll need are a computer with Adobe InDesign installed – and a wish to learn how to use it.
Even if you've never used Adobe InDesign, this course will take you from being a total newbie to being able to work right alongside graphics professionals. While there will always be areas we haven't learned yet, no matter who we are or how long we've been doing this, this course goes way beyond the basics. It will show you the right way, the easiest way, and the best way to work with colour, type and images. It also shows you, in detail, how to output your work either for uploading to a website or handing off to a commercial printer. Best of all, it's fast. I'm a professional graphic designer as well as an Adobe ACI, and I know what you need to know.
- This course is aimed at total beginners, or people who want to expand a basic understanding of the program.
This video is merely to convince you that a) I actually know what I'm talking about and b) that you might actually want to check out my course!
One of the great things about Adobe software is that you can fine-tune their things to work in the way you want. This includes screen colour schemes, 'workspace' settings, memory settings and more. All these are stored in the 'preferences' section, and it's a really good idea to have a brief look around inside before diving in to your first InDesign project. Incidentally, 'preferences' is one of the two differences between PS and Mac. On a PC, it's always right at the bottom of the 'edit' menu. On a Mac, it's under the 'InDesign CC' menu, top left - which doesn't even exist on a PC! The other difference is that on a Mac, all the keyboard commands are preceded by the 'command' key, while on a PC it's the 'control' key. Otherwise, InDesign is the same on both.
Setting up a page properly is vital if your project is going to succeed. It's like the foundation for a building – if you don't get it right, your building is probably going to be difficult to work on, and might even fall down. This video makes sure you get it right, whatever your page happens to be.
This is the first of the 'big four' subjects (colour, type, text wrap and images) that you absolutely have to know about. Once you've got them figured out, you can put just about any page together regardless of its complexity. This video deals with 'flat' (i.e. single) colours: how to use them, how to create new colours, and how to edit them.
Of course, flat colours are by no means all you can do with InDesign. You can also create gradients of two or more colours, and edit how they will fill shapes. This video also looks at creating a tint of an existing colour, and for those involved in printing it also covers the creation and use of 'Pantone' colours.
This video continues to explore the important settings in Paragraph Styles. It's worth knowing your way around them, because you'll probably be using them all the time. And, while most of us might think of InDesign, Photoshop or Illustrator when we hear the name 'Adobe', they actually began life as a type company. So, they're really really really good with type!
Of course, sometimes you also need type to get out of the way – for instance, when you want an image there instead, with the text wrapped around it. That, of course, is a 'text wrap'. This video not only shows you how to make and use them, but also how to easily create some additional space for captions, and also 'text wraps' for non-rectangular objects.
Adding rules, shading and borders as part of Paragraph Styles can give your work loads of visual impact. They're extremely effective and very easy to apply. But, you don't have to include them as part of a Paragraph Style. If you want, you can add them as 'local edits', just to give individual elements a bit more impact.
I've calculated that using (what I think is) the best zoom shortcut saves me approximately 1 day a year. To me, that's all the proof I need that keyboard shortcuts are worth learning. This particular shortcut also works in Illustrator and Photoshop, and once you're familiar with it you'll find you can zoom in and out of your work, wherever and whenever you want, without even stopping to think about it.
There are two kinds of Library in InDesign – 'CC' Libraries and 'regular' Libraries. This video covers the use of 'regular' Libraries. 'CC' Libraries are covered in a separate video later on.
I use Libraries to hold all the specific Colour Swatches and Paragraph Styles that a particular client uses. then, all I need to do is open the library, drag the item onto the page, and delete it - and it's already been added to Swatches and/or Paragraph Styles windows.
How about if you're working on a newsletter, and you have a text frame that's divided into three columns. Inside it is a heading, a sub-heading, and 'body' text. To begin with, everything fits within the columns...but not if you apply Span Type. Span type will allow you to flow the headings and sub-heading right across the column divisions within a text frame.
Adding bullets at the start of paragraphs will drive you nuts unless you know how to do it properly – and by properly, I mean by adding them as part of the Paragraph Style. That way, you can control exactly how and where they appear. You can choose any character as your bullet from any font installed on your computer. You can even change their colour if you want, without affecting anything else. If you don't know how to do them, they'll drive you nuts. If you do know how, you'll find you want to use them all over the place!
If you add an image to InDesign, the default setting is that a 'link' is created between the document and the image, which still lives somewhere else on your hard drive. This helps to keep the file size smaller, but it can cause problems if you need to send the file to someone else. The alternative is to embed the images. Then you can send the document to someone else, and you don't have to send the images separately. But, it's likely to be huge - because it's stuffed with images! So which approach should you use? This video tells you how to decide.
Separating your work into layers helps to keep everything clearly organised and can also help to prevent mistakes. You can lock layers, hide them, and select everything on them or just select specific objects. You can easily move objects from one layer to another, and you can also move them up or down in the layer 'stack' to change the visual hierarchy of what's on top of what. And, to anyone who reacts with horror at hearing the word 'layers', take heart: they're much easier in InDesign than they are in Photoshop!
If you need to add page numbers to a long document, you don't want to have to do it manually. Inserting them individually on every page would be an awful way to spend your day. Instead, you can put a special icon on the master page which then appears as a number on every page it's applied to. You can add numbering icons to any master page you want, and you can format them with Paragraph Styles or the Control Bar. This will save you doing a huge amount of unnecessary work.
If you copy and paste something, it lands right in the middle of the screen. But, if you use 'paste in place' instead, it lands in exactly the same position as the object you copied – on whatever page you've moved to. So if you want something in the same place on page 9 as it already is on page 5, 'paste in place' will do the job.
Drop caps are often used to add emphasis at the start of a paragraph, and it's easy to add them as part of any Paragraph Style. You can also add a 'nested style' to apply yet another appearance to a specific number of words directly after the drop cap. The combination of the two adds a really professional touch to all sorts of documents.
You can add or delete any number of document pages, any time you want – but of course, in the true Adobe tradition, there's more than one way to do it! This video shows you all the methods so that you can make an informed choice, including how to assign different master pages to different parts of your document.
If you put your company logo and an address block on a master page, it will then appear on any document page you apply it to. If you're using a 'facing page' document, the left-hand master can only format left-hand pages, and the right master only formats right-hand pages. The default setting for master page objects is that they're locked on document pages...but you can unlock them, if you want. You can have as many master pages as you like - I've had nearly 40 in a single document (don't ask!) and you can change your mind about which one should be applied to which document page any time you want. There's also a default master page that can't hold any information at all, if you need it. And, automatic page numbering is set up using master pages. What's not to like? They're great!
Object Styles allow you to save all the attributes applied to one object – including effects and Text Wrap – and apply them to other objects. All you have to do is select the object you want to affect, and click on the object style. The list of attributes is huge, and if you don't want any of them to be applied, you can just turn them off. You can also continue to change any of the object settings after applying a style.
The Pen Tool is a tricky thing to master – so much so that I call it 'the tool everyone loves to hate'. It's a shame, because it's actually quite easy, and it's one of the best tools ever. All you need to do is give it a few minutes every day – but, don't work on it until you get frustrated. Just give it a few minutes, then you won't mind giving it another few minutes the next day. And the next. And so on. And before very long, you've got the hang of it. And once you do, you'll find you want to use it all the time as it enables you to do stuff none of your colleagues can do – because they still hate it!
The Pencil is a freehand drawing tool that comes with its own sensitivity adjustments, and that's what makes it really useful. It's easy to connect up separate paths, and it's also easy to delete chunks of them or just cut them into sections. The Line Tool is even easier - all it does is draw lines. Whatever thickness you want, whatever colour and style. You can draw then at any angle, or make them horizontal, vertical or 45 degrees.
InDesign's Preflight feature is supposed to check your work continuously and warn you of any potential problems. The problem is, it won't – unless you create your own profile, something specific to the work you need to do. Then, it's great! It will find whatever you ask it to look for! This video shows you how to set up a profile of your own, and how to put it in place so that it automatically checks every document you work on from then on.
There are three different ways to save an InDesign document: as an InDesign document, an InDesign template, or an 'IDML' document. Which one you choose depends on what you need to do with it. Templates are great for 'repeat' layouts - like a monthly newsletter - and IDML documents are really useful for archiving or sending to someone with an earlier version of InDesign. It's well worth knowing about them – and this video will tell you everything you need to know.
If you want to create more than one page numbering system within a single document you need to create a 'section start' at that point. You can choose which number you want it to begin with, and a variety of numbering styles – to which you can apply your own Paragraph Style, of course. This video shows you exactly what to do.
While drawing shapes might seem pretty basic, there's more to doing it than meets the eye – and this video makes it all clear. Rectangles and squares, ellipses and circles, and...polygons. With or without a 'star inset'. Also, an introduction to the Pathfinder tools, which were first developed in Adobe Illustrator – incredibly useful if you need to draw something just a little more complicated!
The Stroke window allows you to choose the weight and style of stokes, but it also does a whole lot more. For example, you can add a variety of shapes (such as arrowheads) at the end or beginning of the lines you've drawn. And, not only can you add them, you can scale them. You can adjust their position. You can change the shape of corners and change the shape of line endings. And more. If you've chosen a dotted or dashed line style, you can even apply a colour to the gaps!
There are three ways to import a text file into InDesign: manual, semi-automatic and automatic. The last one is probably the most interesting...because using it will create and fill all the pages needed to place the entire file. Even better, you can set up text frames for an entire layout that runs across loads of pages, and then just flow the text into the whole lot. This can save an enormous amount of time!