Drawing from the Sea - inDesign

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Intro to InDesign

InDesign is used to combine text and images in preparation for print.

File Management

  • Saving files to local computer
  • Creating project folder
  • Create a subfolder for graphics and copy images files you're going to use in the project into this subfolder

Document Setup / Margins and Guides

  1. Launch InDesign from the Doc and create a new document
  2. Create a flyer
    • Set width and height to 8.5 X 11 using the Page Size of "Letter"
    • Note the # of columns and the margins

Save Your New Document

  1. File > Save
  2. Locate your project folder on your local computer
  3. Name your inDesign project (note the Format will create an .indd file)
  4. Click Save


Add a Guide to help you place and align objects on your document by clicking and dragging from the rulers on the side

  • With the black arrow select tool, click and drag from the ruler area into your document

Add an image

By default, images placed into InDesign are only linked. It is important to have a good file management strategy to keep your images properly linked to your InDesign document.

Best Practice: Before adding an image to your inDesign document, localte the image file you want to use and move or copy it to your project folder / graphics. Once the file is in it's new home, then you can link to it from within your indesign project.
  1. Make sure nothing is selected in your document before you place your graphics!
  2. Go File > Place to place your image
  3. Locate the image on your local hard drive that you want to place and click Open
  4. Your cursor changes to the "Image Loaded" cursor. Click your cursor where you'd like the image placed.

Resize your image

With the black arrow select tool Indesign-select-tool.png selected

  1. hold down the Command AND Shift key then grab a corner of the bounding box and drag to resize.
    • Note what happens if you forget to hold down these keys...

Crop your image

With the black arrow select tool Indesign-select-tool.png selected

  1. click and drag the bounding box (without holding down CMD+shift).

Move your image

Graphics in inDesign have two parts: the frame and the content.

  1. To move a frame together with its content, use the black selection tool Indesign-select-tool.png to click the image outside the content grabber.Content-grabber.png
  2. To move imported content without moving the frame (that is, to pan content behind its frame), drag the content grabber.
    • You can also use the Direct Selection tool Indesign-direct-select-tool.png to select and drag the image.

Why does my image look so bad?

Print project typically use large image files and depending on the project can include many of these large images. By default, inDesign sets the "Display Performance" to present an optimized (i.e. crappy) view of your beautiful high res image. Don't worry, if you're working on a smaller project and aren't worried about inDesign gobbling up all of your RAM, you can change the display performance.

  • Go View > Display Performance > High Quality Display

Edit your image

InDesign lets you edit your images in place. What that means is that after you place an image in your inDesign document you can change it in Photoshop or Illustrator and have your changes automatically apply to the image in your inDesign document.

  1. Double click the image you want to edit (you need to select the image object and not just the images frame)
  2. Right click on the image and choose Edit Original
  3. The native application for the image file (i.e. Photoshop) will launch and you can make your changes
  4. Save your changes in the editing app
  5. Switch bak to inDesign and see how your changes have automatically been applied.

Adding Text

  1. Select the Text tool and drag diagonally to create a frame on your document, start typing.
    • You can also Copy and Paste text from other applications
  2. Using the black arrow tool select a corner of the bounding box to resize

Formatting Text

  1. Select the text you want to format using the black arrow or type tool
  2. Change your type using the character and paragraph options in the top property bar


InDesign allows you to set the Fill and Stroke color for text and graphic objects.

  1. Select the object whose color/stroke you wan to change
  2. From the color palette choose fill or stroke
  3. You will need to set the color mode to RGB from the color palette properties menu (our printers in the DIS require RGB mode)

Text Flow (for brochures)

You can flow text between multiple text boxes

  1. Text boxes that are too small to contain all of the text will have a red + box in the lower right corner
  2. Click this box and the cursor changes to the "Text Loaded" cursor
  3. Click anywhere on your document and a new text box will be created flowing text from the previous text box
  4. Use Guides and your Margins to snap text boxes into alignment

Text wrap around an image

  1. Select the image and from the top properties bar choose the text wrap option you'd like
  2. Move a text box near/over and image to see the text wrap around the object

Wrapping it up

Placed images in InDesign are by default only linked to the original image files. There are advantages to this but it can create problems when moving files around. You must move your graphics and images together (see File Management strategies above).

Packaging your project for print

Your final step is to "package" your InDesign document. This should be done when you are finished editing your document. This process creates a new project folder, a copy of your inDesign project file, a subfolder called "Links" for all of your linked images and folder called Document fonts for your fonts.

  1. Save your work File > Save
  2. Go File > Package
  3. Click Package
  4. Add any special instructions and click Continue
  5. Create the package folder.
    • Note the package options. You can accept the default of packaging the top three options from the list.
    • Name your folder yourlastname_partnerlastname_final. Save locally first, you will eventually copy this over to Orca/programs.
  6. Click Package.
  7. Click OK at the copyright warning
  8. InDesign will now create a new folder that contains a copy of your project as well as all linked images in a Links folder.
  9. Copy the entire folder back to Orca/Programs/between-word-image/workspace/Book-final-versions.

Additional resources