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Tips for using InDesign

This entry was posted in Book Design, Graphic Design, Publishing, Typography, Web design and tagged , , , , on by .

InDesign logo 640pxRecently, the publishing forum Bookmachine interviewed a selection of industry experts about the software they used for work. They asked me about InDesign, the programme I use most.

1) How frequently do you use InDesign and when did you start using it regularly?

I use InDesign every day (and Photoshop/Illustrator occasionally). I switched over from using Quark XPress in 2004; I attended an in-house course at BBC Books (where I worked at the time) on transitioning from Quark to InDesign. Almost immediately, I was hooked.

2) What methods do you use to keep updated and improve on your skills?

I am a Creative Cloud user, so have access to the latest updates. However, I only update occasionally as the latest versions often have bugs when they are first launched. I improve my skills by googling things that I don’t know how to do and then following tutorials. Adobe have quite a good Help section, but I often prefer to follow tutorials on YouTube.

3) Would you mind sharing a top trick with us?

Always use style sheets. You will save yourself time, save your clients money, and make it easier for others to follow your styling. InDesign provides Paragraph style sheets (for overall formatting of typography), Character style sheets (to apply to individual characters or groups of words) and Object style sheets (so you can set the style of boxes, for example). If a global style change needs to be made, altering the style sheet will alter every instance within your document.

Adobe InDesign screen shot showing stylesheets


 4) Could you please share a couple of links to your work?

You can see a selection of my design work in my Bookmachine portfolio and more examples of my work on my website’s publishing portfolio pages.

5) What advice would you give to anyone wanting to improve how they use InDesign?

If you are a beginner, go on a course, it really pays off in the long run. If you are a fairly accomplished user, has some good tutorials or you could google problems as you encounter them and follow online tutorials.

6) What do you use InDesign for mainly?

Just about everything! In the past 2 months I have used it for website banners and sliders, book covers and text pages, brochures, exhibition banners, packaging and logo design (though I switch to Illustrator to refine and finalise logos). My core work is for the publishing industry, and InDesign is great for complex book design – especially as it integrates so well with other Adobe products.


Are you struggling with InDesign at work? If you would like 1-1 tuition, please get in touch.

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