The other day a friend asked if I could set up a template to play around with indesign. Well. I am still working on the template ( hopefully that will be next week's post) but I thought it would be good to at least lay out how to set up a document because it is not exactly straightforward.
I don't know if this is the best way to do it. It is certainly not the only way, but it is how I learned when I took a DESMA typography class in my last year of college(how this course was the best and most life changing class I have ever taken would require an entirely separate post) and has worked out for me.
So here are the steps to set up a new, basic project in InDesign:
1. Open a new document. just ok whatever default size/settings are there - we will adjust it all in a minute.
2. We want our units to be in inches because I don't know about you but judging the size of a pica is a little above my head.
so go to indesign > preferences > units and increments
then select 'inches' in the dropdown menu for both 'horizontal' and 'vertical'.
3. Cool! Now it will be much easier to select the size of the document.
go to file > document setup
From here you can select the width and height of the document (in inches woo!)
4. Oooook almost ready to actually do something! Last thing is to make sure you have all the tools you need to create whatever it is you are creating. There are a bunch - if you click on 'window' at the top you will see just how many.
There are 3 or 4 I like to have available at all times:
- The main toolbar should already be on your screen(shown below on the lower left with the arrows, shapes, and buttons on it)
- Some other ones you will want will include the character toolbar - easiest way to get that is to just press cmd+t for mac or ctrl + t for pc. This is super important because it is where you adjust your fonts, sizes, and spacing WHOA!
- Finally the 'Pages' and 'Color' windows are good to have around. 'Pages' is a great overview of what you have going on and..believe it or not, you can add additional PAGES by simply dragging the white square under the ones that are displayed. Don't use the master pages unless you know what they are*. And the 'Color' does exactly what it sounds like.
* Master pages are kind of like an overall template. If you create a master page, then all of your pages will have what is on it. it is mainly used for books to display page numbers/column widths/etc.
5. woohoo!! Now the fun can start! To make a text box just click on the T in the main toolbar, drag whatever size you like in the main doc, type something out, and start messing around :)