Join David Blatner for an in-depth discussion in this video New documents, part of InDesign CC 2018 Essential Training.
- [Instructor] Now that you know your way around InDesign a little bit, it's time to make a new InDesign document. When the Start workspace is showing, you can make a new InDesign document by clicking the Create new button. Or, head up to the File menu, choose New, and then Document. Up comes the New Document dialog box. Actually, I should point out that InDesign has two different New Document dialog boxes. This one, and one called the Legacy New Document dialog box.
So if you're seeing something really different than this, there's a super easy fix. First, let me go ahead and close out of this. Then, on the Mac you go to the InDesign menu. On Windows, you'd go to the Edit menu. Then, go to the Preferences submenu and choose General. Up here at the top, you'll see Use Legacy New Document Dialog. If this is on, you'll get the old style, the Legacy one. If it's off, like it is here, you'll get the new one. I'll go ahead and click OK, and then I'll go back to the new New Document dialog box.
Right now, we're looking at a list of recently used page sizes. I only have one, Letter sized. Let's ignore that for now. The very first thing you need to decide on is what kind of preset to use when creating your new document. In the old Legacy dialog box, this is called the intent. But here, you want to come up here and choose either Print, Web, or Mobile. I need to point out that Web is really kind of a misnomer. It does not mean web like a webpage or an HTML page.
It just means a document that's going to be delivered on screen. This really should say on screen. Now, two things happen when you choose any of these web presets. First, of course it shows you page sizes that are typical screen dimensions, like 800 by 600, or if I click View All Presets, you can see others, like 1,024 by 768. But less obvious is that when you choose one of these, your document measurements are all set to pixels instead of picas or inches, or centimeters or whatever.
Also, all your colors in your document will automatically be set to RGB colors. Now that is appropriate for an on-screen document. On the other hand, Mobile is very different. These are for documents that are destined to be used as part of Adobe's AEM Mobile product, which is a high-end system for large enterprise customers to create tablet apps. I'm not going to get into that in this course. Instead, I'm going to choose Print. Now just to be clear, Print does not mean that you're necessarily going to be printing this document.
Let's say you're making a document that you're just going to be putting up on your website for somebody to read, and maybe they'll print it out. In that case, you can still use Print. Also, note that these are all just starting points. These presets are just changing all these settings over here on the right. Those settings are what you really need to pay attention to. Also, you can see that Adobe is offering you a number of templates from their Adobe Stock service. Now some of these are pretty good, and some are, well they're not so good. To open one, you have to click on it and then download it.
Or, you can search for more templates down here. But I'm not going to start with a prebuilt template, because it's important that you know how to make your own files from scratch, and to do that you need to understand what these settings are over here on the right side. Like the width and the height fields. This is the most important thing you can choose here. What size should the finished piece be? Now I'm talking about, if you're going to be printing this on a commercial printing press, what is the final size after it's trimmed down going to be? Is it letter size, is it eight by 10? Is it something smaller? Right now, this is a letter-sized page and it's currently set to picas.
We can change the units over here in this popup menu. Let's change it to Inches. As you can see, eight and a half by 11 inches. If you want to, you can also click these orientation buttons over on the right. All these do is literally just swap the values in the width and the height fields. The next thing you need to decide here is whether your document should be setup for facing pages. Facing pages should only be used for documents that have a left-hand and a right-hand page. What's called verso and recto, like a book or a magazine.
If you're doing a one page flyer, or maybe a double-paged brochure or something like that, then you'll want to turn this off. Anything that does not truly have facing pages, turn this off. Now the next checkbox down is Primary Text Frame. This is used for things like books where you have a story that goes from one page to the next, over a lot of pages. Primary Text Frame will automatically add a text frame to your master page. I'm going to be covering that in the later chapter, but for now I'm just going to tell you that unless you're making a book, you should probably leave that off.
Over here on the left, you can choose the number of pages and also a start number for your page. I usually just leave these alone, because I can add pages later, or renumber them later if I need to. But that's up to you. Down here, you can set the number of columns. Now most documents just have one column, but if you know that you're going to have two or more columns in your document, go ahead and change it here. You can change that number, or just click on these up or down arrows on the left side. I'll set this to two points.
The column gutter amount is the amount of space in between each column of your document. For example, if I wanted to add more space between the columns, I could change it here. I'll simply click in there, that selects it, and then I'll type two p, that's two picas. It's important to know that InDesign lets you type in any measurement system. You can replace inches with picas, or vice versa. Okay, there are two other important settings in here, but a lot of people don't see them because they're kind of hidden. You need to click these little triangles over here to expand the Margins and the Bleed and Slug areas.
Once you do that, you'll notice that this whole area scrolls. So, make sure you check out all the options in here. Okay, margins. Margins are just guidelines. There's nothing stopping you from putting objects outside the margins in InDesign, but margins are helpful reminders of where you should put your text frames and graphic frames, and so on. Now one thing to note here is this little button over on the right side. It looks like a little chain. Right now, if I made a change to any one of these fields, let's say I change my top margin here to .25 inches instead, now as soon as I hit Tab you'll notice that all these fields are linked together.
They all changed. But what if I want one of those margins to be different than the others? That's where this chain comes in. When I click on that, it breaks the link between each of those fields. So now I could come in here and just change the top margin to something different, let's say one inch. And you'll see that all the other fields stay the way they were. Now what about bleed and slug? Well if you're making an on-screen document, like it's only going to be displayed on-screen, then you can ignore the bleed and slug settings. But for print documents, and specifically something you'll be sending to be printed on a printing press, then you might want to use them.
Bleed is for when you want a background color or an image to extend all the way to the edge of the page, and see, in order for that to work in print, you have to actually extend it past the edge of the page onto the pasteboard. If you don't, then when it ends up on a printing press, you may end up with a white sliver down one side or the other. So to compensate, printers want you to extend your objects off the page onto the pasteboard, and that's called a bleed. Then they print the whole thing on a larger sheet of paper, and they trim it down to where the edge should be.
So if you think you may need to bleed objects off the side of your page, then set these all to about nine points. That's about an eighth of an inch. That adds bleed guides out on the pasteboard. Now you don't have to use them, but they're helpful to know how far off the page you should bleed your objects. The slug area down here is kind of like bleeds, but it lets you put information about your document on the pasteboard. Stuff that you want to communicate to your printer, but you want them to trim it off and throw away.
I'm going to ignore this for now. Great, now I'm going to come down here, click Create, and I'm good to go. There's my document. You can see my large top margin, my two columns on the page, and even my bleed guides. That's the red guides around the outside of my page. Now after you create your document, you might realize that you need to make changes. That's okay, don't panic. I'll be showing you how you can change all of this. Making a new document with the proper settings is the first step in creating a strong foundation for your publication, but it's just the first step.
- Creating a new layout
- Inserting pages
- Adding text
- Inserting graphics
- Applying color and transparency
- Drawing and editing frames and paths
- Formatting objects
- Formatting text
- Creating styles for uniform formatting
- Building tables
- Adding links and interactivity
- Printing and exporting InDesign documents