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A key feature for long-document workflow is the ability to save InDesign book files. These files allow you to organize groups of documents for three main purposes: automatic page numbering, the synchronization of styles and swatches, and output-related tasks like packaging, preflighting, printing, and export to PDF and EPUB. Let's see how it's done. To create a book file, you just go to File > New > Book. Give it a name. I'll call this the Complete Book of Cheese. And save it.
Now when you first create a book file, it's empty. It has no InDesign documents in it until you add them. And you can only add InDesign documents to books, not InDesign templates, InCopy documents, snippets, and so on. To add files to the book, click the plus icon at the bottom of the panel. Then navigate to the files you want to add. I'll Shift+Click to select all of these and click Open, and they are all added to the book. Now they are not exactly in the order that I want.
I want the front matter to appear before Chapter 1. So to reorder files in a book, you just click and drag. Now my front matter is first. Now when you add a file to a book you're not making a copy of it. What you see in the Book panel is a reference to the original and only file. You can also drag and drop to move a file from one book to another book. If you actually want a file to be in both books, you could hold Option or Alt as you drag from one book to another. But generally that's not a best practice, because it can get very confusing for a document that's trying to be a part of more than one book at a time; especially if it's having its page numbers and styles synchronized by multiple sources, you can see how things could get messed up in a hurry.
On the other hand if you were very careful, you could have one document serve as a master style source for multiple books to streamline things, but just be sure you manage things carefully. Once you have your documents in a book, you can hover them to see their file path. At the bottom of the Book panel you have buttons to synchronize files, to save the book, to print the book, and to add or remove documents. On the left side of the Book panel, there is a column where you can set the style source for the book.
The style source acts like a master document for the book, which you can use to broadcast settings like styles, and swatches, lists, text variables, cross-references, text conditions, and so on. To change the style source, you just click in the column next to a different document. So if I wanted to make Chapter 3 the style source, I'd just click down there. To the right of each document, there is a column for showing the document's status. So if I double-click to open a document, I can see here that this one's open. There are also icons if the document was modified outside the book, or if it's gone missing, or if someone else has it open.
In the panel menu, there are commands for adding more documents, removing documents, and replacing documents in a book. Replacing is an interesting one. You'd use it when, for example, you had all your documents already set up in a book and you get a new version of a document from someone else. You don't have to remove the original from the book and then replace it with a new one; you can just do that in one step with Replace. From the Book panel menu, you can also choose Reveal in Finder or Reveal in Explorer to open the folder containing the file in a book.
I'll switch back to InDesign. There is also a feature in the panel menu called Automatic Document Conversion. When you open a book file from an older version of InDesign, documents are not automatically converted. They will be converted when you synchronize or output the book. So you can have InDesign ask you for each document, if it's okay to convert it to CS5.5, or you can turn on Automatic Document Conversion. Now when you sync the book, all the files will be saved to CS5.5 format, overwriting the old ones.
There are also commands to export the book to EPUB, PDF, and to print, as well as to preflight the files and to package them. Document Information is an interesting feature. If I select that, I can see all the documents in the book. I can see their location. I can see their file size, their modification date, and their status. And by clicking Next, I can just go through all the documents. I can also replace a document from here if I want it to. Now that we've seen how to use the Book panel to create collections of documents, next we'll see how to use the panel to automatically update the numbering of pages and chapters in those documents.
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