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InDesign lets you make a single document thousands of pages long, but I really, really would not recommend it. It's usually better to break long files down into smaller chapters. There are no hard and fast rules about how long each of those files should be. I've created documents that are several hundred pages long. Other folks like keeping their files down to 50 pages or so. Some magazines are actually laid out where every two-page spread is a different InDesign file. The good news is that InDesign lets you combine multiple documents together into a book.
The key is to create a book file. I can do that here in the Welcome screen by clicking on the Book button, or I'll go to the File menu, and choose New > Book. It's going to ask me to name my book, and where I want to put it. I am going to call it HOAbook, for history of art; that's what I'm working on. And we can see that it gives it a file name extension .indb, for InDesign book. I'll click Save, and up comes my Book panel. This is where I am going to be putting all of the documents that I am trying to collect together.
Now, that welcome screen is a little distracting to me right now, so I am going to close it by clicking on the red button to close it, and now I am going to add my first InDesign document. I can do that by clicking this little plus symbol at the bottom, this add document button, and now I am going to select chapter 1, and add it. As soon as I do that, InDesign looks, and it sees the number of pages in the document, and shows it to me here in this column. This document has 27 pages, and I can see that it goes from page 1 to 27. Now let's go add some more chapters.
I'll click plus, and this time, I'm going to click on chapter 2, and then Shift+click on the last chapter. The Shift+Click means select all of those items in the list. Click Open, and now InDesign goes through, opens each one, sees how many pages it is, adds it to the Book panel, and then updates the page numbering automatically. That means chapter 1, which ends on page 27, is followed by chapter 2, starting on page 28. InDesign did all of that numbering for me automatically.
You can control that page numbering by going to the flyout menu in the upper right corner of the Book panel, and then scrolling down to Book Page Numbering Options. Here, we can see that it's set up to automatically continue page numbering from the previous document, but you can change this to continue on next odd page, or even page; up to you. You can even turn that feature off by turning off this checkbox. In this case, I am going to go ahead and leave it on, and click OK. As I look at this, I realized I left out a chapter, so I am going to go back and add one more document; that's the cover and front matter. Oops, got to have that.
Click Open, so it adds it after the currently selected document in the Book panel, which is not actually where it's supposed to be, so now my page numbering is all off. It went through, and it saw that there's a number of pages in here, and it renumbered all my other pages automatically. So I need to put it in the right place, so I'll click, and drag it up in the panel, until it gets to the top, and when I see that black bar across the top, I'll let go. InDesign now goes and renumbers all the chapters again, making sure they're in chronological order.
InDesign moves this to the front, but it has to renumber all the pages in the other documents. Sometimes that takes a little while. The more documents, the longer it's going to take for it to update, but it goes through, and it makes sure each of those numbers are in the proper order. So page numbering is one of the best reasons to use the Book panel. It updates that numbering for me automatically. Another good reason to use the Book panel is to synchronize attributes about my documents. Here, let me show you. I am going to open one of these documents by double-clicking on it in the Book panel, and now I'll move my panel out of the way, and I want to change the style of my chapter titles.
So to do that, I am going to double- click to switch to the Type tool, and why don't I just select all this text, and change it to a different font. How about Myriad Pro, and I'll make it Bold. This looks great here, but now I need that same change made in all the other chapters. So to get it there, I'm first going to update the style. I'll go to the Paragraph Styles panel, and say Redefine Style. That pushes all this change back into the style definition. I'll close that, and now that I have it updated in the style definition, I can tell InDesign to propagate that change to all my other documents in my book.
To do that, I first need to set the style source. I do that by clicking in this left column of the Book panel. Whatever document has that little crazy little icon next to it means that that is the style source. I think of that as sort of the master document that all the other documents are going to be matched to. Next, I need to select which documents I want to synchronize. Right now, I have this master document selected, the style source selected; I can't synchronize to itself. So if I click on chapter 3, the Synchronize button shows up here.
Of course, I don't want to only synchronize to chapter; I want to synchronize to all of them. So here's the trick: click in the blank area at the bottom of the Book panel. When nothing is selected, it's the same thing as having all the documents selected. Now I click on Synchronize, and InDesign goes through, and takes all the attributes for this document, and pushes them out into the other documents. Because each of those documents had the same chapter titled paragraph style, it will now match this one. It tells me that it's done, it was all successful, and I'll click OK.
Let's go check it out. I'll just randomly open a chapter here -- how about chapter 5 -- and you can see that now this one has the new style in it. You can synchronize all kinds of things in the Book panel: paragraph styles, character styles, table styles; even master pages. Here, let me show you. In the Book panel flyout menu, I'm going to choose Synchronize Options. This lets me control what does and does not get synchronized across my various documents. As you can see, there's all kinds of stuff in here. I am not going to make any changes right now; I just wanted to show you what you could do.
You will notice that the documents that are currently open in InDesign also have a little open document icon in the Book panel. Watch those icons, because they can give you some interesting information. It turns out that you can put a Book panel on a server, and then multiple people could open the same Book panel at the same time. Then each person could open their own individual InDesign documents to work on, and the Book panel will tell you that those documents are open, so that you shouldn't open them. It's okay for more than one person to open the same Book panel, but you don't want more than one person opening the same InDesign document.
One last good reason to use the Book panel is that you could export or print all of the documents at the same time. You do that by choosing the documents you want to print or export, or use the trick of clicking in the blank space to select none of them, which means get all of them, of course, then going to the Book panel flyout menu, and choose Export, or Print. I'll be talking about exporting and printing in a later chapter, but I just wanted to point out that you could do it here to export all of these documents out at the same time.
Later in this chapter, I'll cover some other features that pertain to long documents, like creating a table of contents, but I also want to encourage you to check out Mike Rankin's excellent long documents title in the Online Training Library. It is great, and it covers everything that you would want to know about making long documents in InDesign.
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