Learning a couple of tricks with InDesign

As i chug through the initial layout of CoC 7th edition, there’s a couple handy tricks i’ve taught myself (remember, InDesign experts- i’m a self-taught guy who’s still figuring things out as i go sometimes):

1) Grouping. Since i’m handling a LOT of boxed text elements in some of the chapters, i’ve quickly learned how valuable grouping is when it comes to handling those elements. Select ’em all, do a Command+G, and bam! Easy to select and drag and drop. And editing them is so much easier, without worrying about screwing up the formatting.

2) Saving boxed text elements in Master Pages. This trick comes with a possible pit trap if you’re not careful. Basically what i did was create a master page set, and dump copies of commonly used elements like boxed texts and the like there. What it does help with is ensuring that you’re using common formatting and fitting; you can copy something from these master pages and not have to worry about fiddling with them individually so much (of course, you still have to take care of putting the right text, resizing the box appropriately, etc.

But one thing i discovered with this method (the pit trap i mentioned) is that if you make a format change, because the element is on a Master Page, it will change all of the elements that you’re using throughout the book. This has fucked me up more than once, and i’ve had to go back and fix a bunch of headers because i made one little change somewhere else. Ooops.

Also: tables suck. Importing tables suck more.

6 Responses to “Learning a couple of tricks with InDesign”

  1. Those are great ideas. Making groups is always a good idea. (Except that you can’t group objects that are on different layers, which is frustrating.)

    Instead of putting commonly used objects on a master page, you might consider making a library file to keep them in.

    Happy InDesigning!
    –david, indesignsecrets.com

    • Badger says:

      Hi David! Thanks for the tip! I’ve never actually experimented with library files before…perhaps now is the time. 🙂

      Nice to see you here in my little corner of the internet. However did you find me?



  2. Laraqua says:

    I still have no idea how to import tables or pictures without it becoming blurry as hell. Something that has gone on the “Things to Figure Out” list many a time.

    • Badger says:

      Hi Laraqua! Whilst i can’t help you (yet) with importing tables (though i’ll post here once i figure the damn thing out), i can tell you that images appearing blurry or pixelated is actually to be expected in InDesign. ID will render low res versions of the images so that the program isn’t spending valuable processing time and memory chunks rendering the images in super high quality, and thus making ID perform slower than it should.

      I know there’s a setting, although i can’t remember where it is off the top of my head, that allows you to tell InDesign to render images in various qualities. You might be able to right click on an image and select an option there, and i’m pretty sure there’s a more global setting as well.

      One way to check and make sure that everything will ultimately look the way you want it to is to export a PDF of the pages, and make sure you have the export set to Press Quality or something similar. Open up that PDF once it’s done, and your images should look okay.

      Hope that helps!



      • Laraqua says:

        Hey there! Wasn’t expecting a response, just a shared grumble. I had no idea … I just thought that Adobe InDesign was uniquely terrible at importing pictures.

        • Badger says:

          Heh- well, i appreciate any comments i get here on this site, so i’m always happy to respond. 🙂 And nope, not a problem with InDesign; i’ll admit that when i first started using it, seeing the images displayed like that threw me off too.