For today's project, we will use the Adobe InDesign page layout application to create a two-page, printable newsletter entitled "Classroom Technology Today." The newsletter is to be aimed at educators, and as such it will address issues related to teaching with technology. The publication will incorporate text, graphics, and some common publishing techniques. As we work with the newsletter project, we will learn to use Adobe InDesign; in addition, we will learn general methods of structuring a document and various approaches to important design choices. Along the way, we will also acquire some layout terminology.
In the beginning, we'll spend some time getting acquainted with the InDesign workspace.
To find more training and information about InDesign, go to IT Training's Design and Media topics page.
Introducing Page Layout in Adobe InDesign
Adobe InDesign is a professional page layout software application that is used to design sophisticated publications. Like others of its type (e.g., PagePlus, QuarkXPress, and Microsoft Publisher), InDesign is especially useful when we want to:
- combine text and graphics on a page
- control many advanced formatting characteristics of text
- create templates to make our publications consistent and easier to work with
- print to a laser or color desktop printer
- save and send work to a printing service provider
Before deciding to use InDesign with its many complex graphical features, it is important to know if InDesign is best suited to the needs of our publication or whether a word processing application such as MS Word would be more appropriate.
Understanding Page Design vs. Word Processing
Although layout applications readily accept text that is directly entered into documents, the main function of these programs is not of typing but of positioning imported text and graphics in appealing ways. Accordingly, when a document that contains significant amounts of text requires a detailed layout, it may be most effective to handle it in a two-phase workflow. First, the textual content may be generated in a word processing application like MS Word; then, after the writing is done, the text can be imported into a layout application such as InDesign to be skillfully arranged.
It is important to understand that these two types of applications offer complementary features. Because layout applications are complex design tools, they present sophisticated layout options, but they lack many of the intricate text manipulation tools used in word processors. In contrast, although most advanced word processing programs include layout options, their handling of graphical features is not nearly as efficient or powerful as the layout applications like InDesign.
Keeping this in mind, the following section outlines some projects that are appropriate for page layout software such as InDesign and then specifies others that are best completed with word processing software such as Microsoft Word.
Page layout software is better suited for:
- documents that require precise layout of text and graphics, such as brochures, newsletters, and professional-looking flyers
- advanced typographic (text) adjustments
- accurate color management within publications
- templates used for consistent layout
Word processing software is better suited for:
- medium to long documents
- documents that include endnotes or footnotes
- text documents that require few or no graphics, such as reports, dissertations, theses, or letters
- documents that require very light layout of text and graphics together, such as basic flyers