Adobe InDesign

What Adobe InDesign is and how to work in it

What is this? Adobe InDesign is a program in which you can design pages, business cards, booklets, stickers, and more. It’s much simpler than Photoshop, but much faster than Adobe Illustrator. All of this software is a product of Adobe Systems.

Who can do it? InDesign is in demand at printing companies and advertising agencies. It is used by graphic designers and architects. The program is quite expensive, so it is designed for professionals engaged in page layout. It is not difficult to learn how to work with it.

What is Adobe InDesign

Adobe Systems is a respected software developer that released software in 1999 to create layouts for printed publications. In the years since its release, InDesign has become one of the most in-demand programs, with the help of which pages are typeset not only in paper, but also in digital media.

InDesign was originally intended for specialists working in the publishing industry. Today, the user capabilities of the program allow it to be used for designing websites as well as applications for tablets and smartphones.

Adobe InDesign is used to design layouts that are used as the basis for printing and publishing on the Internet:

  • newspapers and magazines;
  • advertising booklets and brochures;
  • posters and banners;
  • business cards;
  • postcards;
  • stickers and stickers;
  • resumes;
  • textbooks and fiction editions;
  • PDF books
  • online magazines.

Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator are closest to InDesign in terms of functionality, but they are used to design single-page files. When it comes to designing layouts for publications consisting of several pages, InDesign is required.

Adobe InDesign

Who the program is suitable for

The advantages of the described software are well known by those for whom it was created. These are:

  • book publishers;
  • printing houses that print business cards and booklets;
  • designers working for advertising agencies;
  • companies providing graphic design services.

Thanks to realized in Adobe InDesign special option over one file at the same time can work different specialists, which greatly accelerates and simplifies the realization of their tasks.

Besides creative teams InDesign is actively used in the work of freelancers:

  • layout designers;
  • graphic designers;
  • Architects (for portfolio and theses).

With InDesign, site owners and bloggers can embed hyperlinks, audio and video clips into text documents, as well as design web pages in a single style that makes them visually more appealing to users. The created file is immediately ready for publication, no additional applications for its placement on the Web is not required.

Pros and cons of Adobe InDesign

The advantages of the program under consideration compared to analogs are obvious:

  • The developers have taken care of user comfort, providing the most intuitive interface, customizable to your needs. Problems with the design of a one-page document does not arise, even if you work with InDesign for the first time. Those who are familiar with other Adobe products will find mastering the program even easier.
  • If you want to insert a table into a document, you can not only transfer it from another file but also create it using the program’s tools.
  • InDesign supports practically all existing formats, and the finished document is saved in PDF.
  • Dozens of plug-ins, both free and for a fee, are available for automating your workflow.
  • The program is compatible with other Adobe products, and the tools implemented in InDesign are sufficient for most tasks.
  • The developer regularly releases updates and additions that make working with the software even more comfortable.

The disadvantages of InDesign are the high cost of annual subscription. Paying for the opportunity to use the program monthly is not profitable, in this case, the price will be even higher. Such costs are justified if you intend to perform professional services on the basis of this software. For personal purposes it is better to choose other options.

To get acquainted with the capabilities of the software, you can download a free trial version on Adobe’s website.

Another disadvantage of the program is that earlier versions of Adobe InDesign are incompatible with those released later. If you created a document in a recent version, you can only view it there. Files for which previous versions were used will open in the latest version without any problems.

Basic Features of Adobe InDesign

Before you begin, we suggest getting acquainted with the basic features of InDesign. Many things will be familiar to those who have dealt with Adobe products before.


Unlike Adobe Illustrator, where you work on a layout in an editing area, and Adobe Photoshop, which has a “canvas” for this purpose, InDesign uses pages. Creating a new document starts with adjusting their number and size.

The preset templates are in the Preset tab. When choosing a suitable option, you are guided by the end goal: what the design is intended for – for printing, online publishing or mobile interface. It is possible to create and save your own template to use it later.

To navigate through the pages of a document, use the Pages panel under Window – Pages.

Master Pages

This function is used to add items that are repeated many times. If a graphic or piece of text has to be displayed on every page, you don’t need to duplicate them manually. It’s enough to apply such elements to the Master Pages. Double-click in the Pages panel to open A-Master Page, and the desired sign, figure or text will appear on all individual pages of the document.

Fill shapes with images

InDesign has a feature for creating shapes and then filling them with images, which enhances the possibilities for the designer working on page layout. Forms are a mask inside which any picture is placed and takes shape within specified boundaries. The scale, configuration, and orientation of the embedded image change as you wish.

Paragraph styles and character styles

To ensure consistency throughout your document, you can define text and paragraph styles so that you can use them over and over again in the future.

In practical terms, it’s most convenient to define header and body text styles and apply them to all the content you place in your document. Changing colors or fonts is a one-click process on all pages at once. You can set options for large portions of text by creating your own paragraph styles. This lets you quickly create indents, margins, alignment, bulleted lists, etc. that are the same for text blocks.

To save the created style for further use: Window > Styles > Character Style. The adjusted text is selected, you choose Create New Style in the Character Style panel and give your style a name.

InDesign allows you to create an unlimited number of unique styles so that you can format text fragments with one click by simply applying the appropriate variant of the previously developed styles to them.

When saving paragraph styles, the procedure is similar: adjust the settings, go to the Window menu, then Styles and then Paragraph Styles. Press the Create New Style button, then think of a style name.

For the text to look perfect, it is recommended to disable automatic hyphenation. To do this, just uncheck Hyphenate in the Paragraph Panel (Window > Paragraph). If you do not do that, the program will carry to the next line the part of the word that does not fit within the specified text field. There is nothing wrong with this, but paragraphs look much better without hyphenation.

References, Layers, and Samples

InDesign’s functionality has a lot in common with other Adobe products. For example, those who have worked with their software are familiar with such options as Links, Layers, and Swatches.

The Layers panel (Window > Layers) helps you organize the sequence of page design elements relative to each other. You can superimpose text over images or perform other similar actions.

To save frequently used colors, use the Swatches feature (Window > Swatches), which quickly applies the most popular hues to layout elements.

InDesign gives you instant access to all the components you use to create your document. You can open the library by clicking on the Links panel (Window > Links).

To work correctly with images, you should understand that InDesign embeds in the document links to their full versions stored in computer memory. This reduces file size and increases program performance. If images don’t appear when you start the project, tell InDesign the path leading to the images you want, or replace them with other images.

Problems may arise when you move the original images to another folder or when editing them on your hard drive. To ensure that the created layout runs properly, make sure that the files are in the same place where they were when you worked on the project.

Another option to avoid problems with images is to embed links to them in your program document. By doing so, you will attach the original image to the project file, and its location on your computer will not matter. To do it, add an image to the page, then go to the Links panel (Window > Links), right-click on the image and select Embed Link.

This way is good if your document does not have too many images, otherwise it will be difficult to work with the document, because its size will increase because of the addition of image files.

Margins and guides

The ability to quickly and easily set up guides is exactly the feature that makes InDesign considered the best program for digital design. You can insert the number of columns and rows you want and edit them, thereby creating any structure on the page.

The Layout > Create Guides option is for setting up new guides. You can add new shapes and paragraphs using simple columns. The W button is used to turn the guides on and off while you are working on the page layout.

In a document intended for printing, special attention is paid to adjusting the margins on the page edges: Layout > Margins and Columns. In this window, you can select the Adjust Layout option, and then the layout elements will not extend beyond the margins even if you resize them.

Object Effects

This feature is familiar to users of Adobe Photoshop, it allows you to achieve the effects of glow and cast shadows. In InDesign, to add these settings, you select the desired item, then choose the desired effect in Object > Effects. The degree of transparency of the object is also defined here.

Display performance

With this option you can simplify the work on heavy documents. The performance is improved by reducing the quality of the images used in the layout.

To do this, the image to be optimized is highlighted, then in Object > Display Performance select Typical or Fast. In the first case, the image resolution will be lowered, and in the second, instead of it will appear a gray background.

Improve the display performance by reducing the quality of images only after they have taken their place in the layout of the page. Don’t be disconcerted by the resulting look, the final version of the project will use the original Full HD images.

Text Frame options

The function is intended for operative setting of the number of columns in which the text content is placed. The Text Frame Options pane, through which these settings are edited, will appear when you press CMD+B on a Mac or CTRL+B on Windows.

You now have an idea of how Adobe InDesign works. Like other products of this developer, it can be mastered by the user thanks to an intuitive interface, but for professional use it is better to take a course on Adobe InDesign beforehand. Experienced teachers will tell you about the important nuances of working on page design and help you avoid common mistakes.