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Getting Started with InDesign

Instructions for the basic tools of Adobe InDesign, which you might use to create a flier, brochure or newsletter.

Setting Up Your Document

InDesign defaults to picas as the unit of measurement. You can change that to inches by going to the Edit menu, then Preferences, and then choose Units & Increments (on the Mac go to the InDesign menu, choose Preferences, and then Units & Increments to change to another unit).  In the Ruler Units section, change the Horizontal and Vertical pulldown menus to your preference.

If you are using InDesign for a poster, be sure to put in the desired print dimensions.

To start a new document, go to the File menu, choose New, and then select Document… In the New Document dialog box,

  1. Select a standard page size from the Page Size: pulldown menu – the dimensions will appear automatically in the dimensions boxes - or choose your own by typing in the Width: and Height: boxes. If you are making a poster, be sure to type in the desired dimensions, rather than planning to try to print a letter sized document on a large scale printer.
  2. Set the Orientation: to Tall (Portrait) or Wide (Landscape).
  3. Set Number of Pages: by entering the desired outcome (you can always add pages later).
  4. If the Facing Pages box is checked, the labels are changed in the Margins: section.  The inside margin is on the right side of even numbered pages and on the left side of odd numbered pages.  The Outside margins are correspondingly reversed.  When Facing Pages is deselected, InDesign changes Inside and Outside to Left and Right margins, respectively.
  5. Choose the number of columns you want for your document in the Columns: box (like everything else here, you can change this later).
  6. Click OK when you’ve finished setting up your document.













Changing Settings after Initial Document Setup

Sometimes you need to adjust the document’s settings, after you've created it.

Select/deselect Facing Pages: go to the File menu and select Document Setup…

Adjust the margins and columns: go to the Layout menu and select Margins and Columns…. When adjusting the margins, pay attention to whether the linked icon is selected. If it is linked, making a change for one of the margins will make the others change as well; if it is not linked, each margin will remain independent of each other.

New in CS6: Liquid Layout

View this Tutorial on this new CS6 layout feature: