Join Deke McClelland for an in-depth discussion in this video Starting a new document, part of InDesign CS4 Getting Started.
InDesign allows you to assemble text and graphics in order to create multi-page documents whether bound for print or the web or some other electronic medium. In fact, a single document can be re-purposed for many mediums if you like. In this exercise, I am going to show you how to create a new document in InDesign. I am looking at the Welcome Screen, which appears each time you launch the program and whenever you have no document open inside the program. If you are not seeing the Welcome Screen, you can get to it by going to the Help menu and choosing the Welcome Screen command.
Notice that you can open recently created documents over here on the left side of the screen just by clicking these links. Of course, your recently created documents will vary. Over on the right side of the screen, you can create new documents, including a standard multi-page document, but InDesign permits you to create a couple of specialty documents including a book, which appears as a floating panel and allows you to combine, say, chapters into a single book so that the chapters are continuously numbered and share common index entries.
You can also create a library; it too appears in the floating panel. It allows you to collect type and graphic elements that you use on a regular basis, things like logos and folios for example. Also, if you are creating a new document and you want some help, you can go ahead and click on this From Template button in order to see some templates that Adobe has created for you in advance. I'll go ahead and click on From Template. Notice that InDesign launches the Adobe Bridge, which ships with all versions of the program. The templates are organized into folders.
Let's say, I am interested in creating a newsletter. I'll go ahead and double-click on the Newsletters folder, and then I'll use this slider triangle down at the bottom of the window to make my thumbnails bigger. And finally, I will double-click on the newsletter template that interests me. Note that these templates will open as untitled files, so that you can save them without overwriting the original. All right, I am going to switch back to InDesign, because I want to create a brand new document without anything in it. So I'll click on the Document button. I could also go to the File menu and choose New Document or press Ctrl+N, Command+N on the Mac, and that will bring up the New Document dialog box. If this is a regular document like a brochure or a newsletter, you probably know how many pages it's going to be. But don't worry if not, you can always add and delete pages later on.
If your document has a spine as with a book, then you have left and right pages, turn on the Facing Pages check box. Don't worry about Master Text Frame, it's not something you need for most of your documents. Next is the Page Size option. If I click this down-pointing arrowhead, notice I can select from common paper sizes, such as those available to us in the States and overseas. You can also select the common screen size, perfect for web pages and kiosks and so on. However, what I would like to do is enter some custom sizes. Now notice that my width and height values are represented in picas, where six picas fit inside of an inch. So when we are seeing 51p0 that means 51 picas 0 points, and there are 72 points in an inch or 12 points in a pica.
If that doesn't appeal to you, if you want to enter your width and height values in say inches, you can override this value on the fly just by typing in 8in for example, because I know my books are eight inches wide, let's say. And then after entering that value I would just press the Tab key, InDesign will go ahead and covert it to picas on the fly. Next I would enter something like 9.75" also serves for inches, for the height of my document, and press Tab to see that value update on the fly as well.
You can also enter mm for millimeters or cm for centimeters, lots of different ways to go. All right, I'll set that back to what I had there, 9.75in. The orientation will be automatically specified by your width and height values, but you can change it if you want to by clicking on the horizontal option, for example. You can also select a number of columns. Again don't get too hung up on this, because all of this can be changed later on. But I'll go with the two-column design and I'll enter 0.25in as a Gutter, which will translate to 1p6 points.
My margins are currently set to 3 picas a piece; these are the margins around the outside edges. And notice that the link is turned on, so all of the margins will be the same. I am going to turn that off, and I am going to change the top margin to 4p6 which is three quarters of an inch. I am also going to raise the inside margins, so we get away from the spine a little bit. I'll take that up to 4p6 as well, otherwise these options are great. Now if this is the kind of document you are going to be creating on a regular basis, definitely save yourself some time by clicking on the Save Preset button, and I'll go ahead and call mine One-on-One after my One-on-One books and I'll click OK and that now appears as a document preset that I can select in the future.
When I am done I'll go ahead and click OK, and I now see the first page of my new eight-page document that I have created using the New Document options here inside InDesign.
- Designing master pages
- Changing type color
- Defining paragraph styles
- Formatting bullets and numbers
- Improving display performance
- Determining how text wraps around graphics