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