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Author David Blatner provides in-depth training on InDesign CS5, Adobe's print and interactive page layout application, in InDesign CS5 Essential Training. The course shows how to create new documents with strong and flexible master pages, precisely position text and graphics, prepare documents for print, and export designs as interactive PDF or Flash SWF files. Exercise files are included with the course.
It's great that InDesign lets you put your panels anywhere you want on your screen. For example, let me grab the Pages panel and put it here, and I'll take the Links panel and put it over here. Maybe the Color panel and put it over here. That's terrific, isn't it? But pretty soon, you realize, you have too many panels open and you can't even see your document. So then you spend all your time moving panels out of the way just to get anything done. It just leads to no end of frustration. Fortunately, InDesign has a feature called Workspaces, which really helps with this problem. Workspaces are a way to remember the particular configuration of the panels on screen; which ones are open, which ones are closed and where they are on your screen.
And InDesign actually ships with a number of Workspaces built in. You can find them up here in the Window menu, under the Workspace submenu, each of these things in brackets are Workspaces, but typically I don't use those. But typically, I don't use those. Typically, I use the Workspace popup menu here in the Application bar. All those same workspaces are listed here, but they don't have the brackets. I don't know what the difference is, but here they don't have brackets, but they're the same thing. These are the workspaces that ship with InDesign. Now normally, when you start working in InDesign, it starts you off with the Essentials Workspace, which just gives you a few panels.
I find it way too limited. I don't know why they do that. I want to see a lot more panels. So I usually switch to Advanced. Advanced is really not that advanced. It just gives you more options by default. Now, you can further customize this. For example, maybe you want your Character Styles panel to be grouped with paragraph styles or whatever. Now, they're grouped. So I 've customized the Advanced Workspace to the way that I like it, which is great. Now, if I go back to Essentials, you'll see that it's exactly the way it was when I last left it. It remembers not just the underlying Workspace, but also everything I've done to it, which is kind of cool unless I've made a mess out of it, like this.
Fortunately you can tell InDesign to go back to the original version of Essentials or any other workspace, by going to the Workspace pop-up menu and choosing Reset, in this case, Reset Essentials, and that puts it back to the way it was, when you first installed the program. Now, it's great that Adobe gave us these workspaces, but in general, none of them are exactly what I want. I mean sure Topography is cool because it gives us a lot of text panels open, Interactive is cool if I'm doing a lot of multimedia stuff inside of InDesign. That's great. But in general, none of them are just what I want.
So I usually start with Advanced and start moving stuff around. Maybe I'll put my styles over here, maybe I'll open those up and I don't typically use Effects. So I'm going to pull that out and close it, and so on and so on. So I'm customizing the Dock and the panels to the way that I work most, and then I want to save it with my own personal workspace. So to do that, I'll go to the Workspace popup menu and choose New Workspace. It asks for a Name. I'm just going to call this David's Workspace, but you can call it anything you want, of course.
Click OK and it now remembers my workspace in the popup menu, which is great. I can switch back and forth among all the other workspaces, but whenever I want to go back to the way I like it, I just choose David's Workspace. You know Workspaces fall into the category of what I call Blatner's First Rule of Publishing. Take the time now to save even more time in the future. If you take a little time to create your own custom workspaces, you're going to save yourself so much more time down the line and you'll end up a much happier InDesign user.
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