Sunday, May 15, 2016

Conquering InDesign

Considering that my husband calls me a “Kindle evangelist,” I have spent a lot of time lately working on printing books. I just finished a semester-long class at my local community college. The course title was Desktop Publishing but really it was How to Use InDesign.

InDesign is an Adobe product that will handle page layout, and also allow you to export an ePub (ebook) file,. As I found out from the course, it will also export simple Adobe Flash files, for say, a series of click-through screens. And, it can export interactive PDF, if I ever need to do that. It's a very powerful but complex product, and I had had no luck in learning it on my own, which is my usual method with new software. InDesign has an incredible number of functions and as a result, the menus often have long list of unrelated options. Also, it use “tools.” That is, you change the function of what the mouse cursor does by picking a tool from a list.

The basic function is selecting things, but the software doesn't stop you from using menus if you have a tool other than the Select tool in use. This can get you in trouble! For example, I discovered that if you're using the Type tool when you place (paste in) a graphic file, InDesign creates that image as an anchored graphic that won't budge, no matter how much text you add in front of it,  Who knew? I'm sure it's that way to provide a shortcut for people who know what they are doing with InDesign. Until recently, that was not me.


As you can see by the above image of a full print cover, I started small, with my only novella, Where Magic Rules. Because it's so short, I didn't even try to put text on the spine, but I'll do that with the next book.  Once I have WMR ready to go, it will join Saronna's Gift as a paperback for sale on Amazon.

And of course, InDesign does the page layout beautifully. You can quickly and easily impose proper book format, with the first page of a chapter having its own unique layout. I love it!

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