Tuesday, 18 September 2012

An Introduction to InDesign - Part One

This tutorial will show you how to open a new InDesign document and add and edit pictures and text within the document.


  1. Open up InDesign by clicking InDesign Icon on your tool bar or in your applications folder.
  2. InDesign Icon
  3. Go to File in the top menu bar and select Open from the drop-down menu.
This window should appear:

Select your preferences e.g. number of pages, landscape/portrait etc...
then press OK.

If you are unsure of how many pages etc you need this can be edited at a later stage by going to File and selecting Document Setup from the drop-down menu.

This window will then appear where you can add or delete the number of pages and change the document from landscape to portrait etc....

Once your new document is open I recommend saving it straight away!

 3. Go to File then click Save as from the drop down menu.  Give the document a name and select the destination you want to save it to.

Now whenever you add more text and images to your document you can save regularly by going to File and clicking Save from the drop-down menu or even easier by clicking on the ‘cmd’ (to the left and the right of the spacebar) button and pressing ‘s’ at the same time!  This is called a ‘shortcut’.


The ‘tools panel’ is where you will find everything you need to start creating your document.  Here are the most useful tools to begin with:


There are lots of keyboard shortcuts to use to make things easier similar to the ‘cmd’ and ‘s’ to save instead of going through all the drop down menus.
Here are some of the most useful ones to get started:

All the available shortcuts are listed in the drop down menu beside the command.


You can add text to your page by clicking on the text tool in your tools panel.

1.Select the text tool from the tools panel.
2.A cursor icon will appear.  Use this cursor icon to draw a text box on the page.
3.You can then just start writing and it will appear in the box you have created.

Moving the text box:

You can then move the text box around the page and change the shape and size of it by using black the arrow selection tool.

Hold down shift to keep the text scaled!

Editing the text:

You can edit the text by re-selecting the text tool from the control panel then using the cursor to select the text you want to edit so it becomes highlighted.

Once you have the text selected a new control panel will appear at the top of the screen looking like this:

(click image for larger view)

Change text colour

Select the text again with the text tool cursor.  You can then select a colour from the swatch window OR double click on the large text icon at the bottom of your tools panel and select a colour from the colour picker window that pops up.

Hyphenated text:

Sometimes when you are writing long paragraphs of text, InDesign autimatically hyphenates long words onto the line below which can look scruffy!  To stop this, go to Windows on the top menu panel and select Type & Tables from the drop down menu then click on Paragraph from the slide out menu.

This window will then appear.

Copying the same style text from somewhere 
else on the page:

If you have written some text and you want to match it to the same style text that appears somewhere else in you document - firstly select the text you want to edit with the text tool cursor.  Then select the eyedropper tool from the tools 
panel then use the eye dropper tool to click on the text you want to copy.  Your text should then change to be exactly the same!

This is very useful for titles etc...


Its best to save all image you want on you document to a folder that you are not going to move as all images are linked in InDesign unless you embed them.  This helps to keep the document as small in size as possible making it easier to use.  It also means that if you move that folder or delete images in it your document will loose them too!

Here’s how to place an image into InDesign:

Firstly, make sure you have nothing selected on your document e.g. text boxes etc... or InDesign will place the picture into that instead!

Go to File on the top menu and select Place... from the drop down menu.
(The short cut for this is ‘cmd’ & ‘d’)

A window will then open up and you will need to select the image from where it is located on your computer.  Double click on the image you want to use once you have located it.

A small icon of the image will then appear which you can easily move around.  Use it to click on the page where you want the image to go.

Moving the image:

You can move the image in the same way as text by using the selection tool from the tools panel.

Changing the size of the image

When the image is selected, click Auto-fit on the top control panel.  If not when you try to change the size of the image it will crop it instead!

You can use any of the white squares surrounding the shape to change its size.  REMEMBER: hold down shift to keep the picture to scale!

Cropping an image:
Select the image you want to crop with the selection tool so that the white squares appear around it.

Make sure the Auto-fit box is NOT ticked now.

Move the sides and corners of the outer square until the image is cropped into the size you want.

Embedding an image:

If you want to embed an image so that it is always there regardless to where you saved it you need to locate it in the ‘links window’.  If the links window is not already open you can get it by clicking on Window and selecting Links from the dropdown menu.

This links window looks like this.