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Creating a layout in InDesign is important, but if you do not set up your preferences correctly, you may find yourself making manual changes to your preferences endlessly with every document that you make. InDesign has two types of preferences: global and local. A global preference is a change that you make with no document opened. For example, if you want to work in inches, and you change your preferences into inches with no document opened, every document you create will always be in inches. But if you make a document and you realize it's in picas, and then you decide, I want to work in inches, and you change your preferences to inches with a document opened, that's considered a local preference.
The next document that you make will be back in picas again. That's why it's best to make changes to your preferences with no document opened, so it affects every document that you create. We're going to begin by closing our Welcome Screen and clicking Don't show again; we don't need to see this anymore. And we're going to go to InDesign > Preferences > General on the Mac, or Edit > Preferences > General on the PC. Inside the Preferences dialog, I'm going to go down to Interface, and I'm going to disable Enable Multi-Touch Gesture. If your computer supports these gestures, it can be jarring to accidentally re-size and rotate images if you don't mean to do it.
Next, I'm going to come down to Live Screen Drawing and change this to Delayed. Live Screen Drawing shows you a preview of your image as you re-size it. Some people enjoy this feature, but I feel it slows down your design process. Next, we're going to go to Type, and we are going to apply leading to the entire paragraphs. This way, if you only hit your cursor inside the paragraph, the leading will still apply it uniformly. Next, we'll go to Display Performance. Inside Display Performance, we're going to change our View settings to High Quality for both. This way we'll see high-resolution graphics whenever we place them in our layout.
If you're working with a lot of graphics, or your machine is a little older, you may want leave this on Typical. We'll change Greek Type Below to zero. This way when you zoom out, you'll be able to read your text. Next, under File Handling, I am not going to change these settings, but I want to point them out. If you use Bridge to view your InDesign files, we can see previews of the pages in our document. We can include more pages if we like, but realize this will increase your file size for each InDesign document. We can also change the preview size for each thumbnail. I'm going to leave this alone. And now I'm going to click OK, and my Preferences are set. One last change I'm going to make is a Mac-only change.
I'm going to go to Window > Application Frame. When we turn the application frame on, the entire program will sit within one frame. The application frame makes it much easier to move the entire application around, and prevents you from clicking and losing focus of your application. Remember, when you set up your global preferences, it will only be set up for documents that you're going to be creating. If you're opening other people's documents, these documents will have whatever preference settings that the other user had set. Therefore, it's important to remember what your favorite settings are so you can make your changes much more easily.
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