Learn Adobe InDesign's basic tools and techniques with the Get Started series. Get familiar with the workspace and how to create and save your work.
Learn how to make a new document.
Welcome to the Adobe InDesign getting started series. Adobe InDesign is the industry standard publishing app that lets you design and publish high quality documents across a full spectrum of digital and print media. Now when you start a new project in InDesign there are a lot of ways to begin. You can create a new document from scratch, start from a template, and a lot more. In this video, you'll start a new project by creating a new document. With the latest version of InDesign open, you'll see this start screen which appears when there are no documents open. In the starting screen you can open existing files and create new files. And whether or not the start screen is showing, you can always go to the File menu at the top of the screen to open existing documents or create a new document. To start a new document from scratch, choose File, New, Document... The New Document dialog box appears. Yours may look different from what you see here, and that's okay. First, choose a preset option like Print, Web, or Mobile depending on the type of document you're creating. You'll create a document for a brochure that's meant to be saved as a PDF and printed later on. So, click Print to show a series of preset document sizes for a print document. By choosing the Print preset, you're setting several options including color used and measurement units. After you choose a preset, whether it's Print or another one, there are different preset page sizes to begin with. You can even click View All Presets to see more. Select Tabloid to set the page size. And know that when you choose a preset size, you can always change the size and all the other options later on after the document has been created. There is also a series of templates found in the New Document dialog box available from Adobe Stock. These templates can be a great way to learn how InDesign projects are built. And they can also be used as a way to jump-start a project for a client, for instance. The templates you see will most likely be different since new templates are added all the time. Now on the right side of this dialog box, you'll see a series of options you can set. Most of the time you won't have to set all of these options. But let's look at the options you'll set most. Click to highlight the name. And change it to 'Flyer'. You don't really have to change the name here. But when you save the document later, this name becomes the name of the file. Click Picas and from the menu choose Inches. These are called the document units. Later when you want to measure something or look at a ruler, this is the measurement unit you'll see. Now you can create a custom document size by changing the Width and the Height of the document if you want to. You can also change the Orientation by clicking one of these options. Click Landscape, so the document is in a landscape orientation. Deselect the Facing Pages option here. A facing page document is something like a magazine or a book, where pages can be arranged in spreads. Now this document will be a flyer, so it'll only be a single page which means facing pages does not need to be selected. You can start with the number of pages, but you can also do that after the document is created. There are a lot of other options you can set to fine-tune the document before you get started. You'll become more familiar with these options the more you work in InDesign. For now, click Create to create the new document and open it in InDesign. Once the new document is opened, you can change the documents settings you first set in the Properties panel to the right of the document. To change the size of the initial page, you can choose a preset page size from this menu or enter custom values here. You can change the Orientation and do a lot more. Now to save the document, you can choose File, Save. Choose a place to save the document. And make sure that InDesign 2019 document is selected for the Format. Notice the name of the file is 'Flyer' And click Save. Creating new documents in InDesign is something you'll do often. There are a lot of options to explore when setting up a new document, but at first you can keep it simple. And know that you can edit document settings like the page size later as you become more familiar with them.
What you learned: Make a new document
The Start screen appears when there are no documents open in InDesign. It lists your recent files (if available), presets, and more. You can also access various resources and search Adobe Stock from here.
- Choose File > New > Document. In the New Document dialog box, start by choosing a preset. For example, the Print category shows various sizes and document options you can set for a new document. The New Document dialog box is where you can access free and paid Adobe Stock templates, which are a great starting point for your designs.
Explore the different methods for saving your InDesign documents.
In Adobe InDesign we save and work in a file called an InDesign document that has a .indd extension. But there are a lot of other file types you can save or export your work as depending on your needs. In this video, you'll save a practice file and explore some of the different formats available when you save or export. To follow along, you can either open an InDesign file you have or open this file from the practice files you downloaded for this tutorial by choosing File, Open... To save a file, you can choose File, Save. In this case, you'll save this file with another name essentially making a copy by choosing Save As... Saving a copy of a file is a great way to make a backup for yourself. Or to save the state the document is currently in, so maybe you can go back to that point later, for instance. So, choose File, Save As... In the Save As dialog box, you can choose a location to save the file. Make sure that InDesign 2019 document is the chosen Format. Change the file name, maybe adding something like v2 for Version 2. Then click Save to save the file. When you'll find that in order for someone else to open the InDesign file you just saved. They'll need to have InDesign or Adobe InCopy on their computer. That also means that if they can open the file with InDesign they can probably edit it. At times, you may want to just send a visual of the artwork you're creating in InDesign, so someone who doesn't have InDesign can view it. You can do this by saving your document as a PDF. Anyone with a free PDF reader can then view the PDF file. So, let's save this file as a PDF. Choose File, Export... In the Export dialog box that opens, you can choose Adobe PDF (Print) as the format. You'll see other formats in this menu, like EPUB which is typically used for electronic books or e-books. You'll also see Adobe PDF (Interactive). That's a PDF that has interactive features like buttons, links, video, and more, or maybe HTML for a website. To save as a PDF, make sure Adobe PDF (Print) is chosen. And click Save. In the Export Adobe PDF dialog box, you can change options, depending on what you're using the PDF for. Maybe to post it on a website, or print it, or both. You'll learn more about saving for PDF and the options in the last part of this getting started series called 'Share InDesign projects'. For now, click Export to create the PDF. Now you may see this PDF Comments panel open. If you do see it, come up to the PDF Comments tab at the top. Right click on it and choose Close. You'll learn more about working with panels and different content in the workspace in the next video. You can close the open file in InDesign. by choosing File, Close, without saving if asked. Knowing how to save or export your files in Adobe InDesign also allows you to save copies of your InDesign files. Maybe to create a version of the document you're working on or share your design with others for review as a PDF.
What you learned: Save your projects
- Choose File > Save or File > Save As.
- Save in InDesign (INDD) format to retain layers, type, and other editable InDesign content. It’s best to save your document in InDesign format while you’re working on it.
- Choose File > Save As and choose IDML to save your project as a file that is backwards-compatible with previous versions of Adobe InDesign starting with CS4.
Take a hands-on tour of the workspace in Adobe InDesign.
Let's take a tour of Adobe InDesign, so you can become familiar with the workspace and the tools available. With the latest version of InDesign open, you can open your own document or this document from the practice files for this tutorial. Once a file is open you see the workspace. The workspace is made up of an open document in the document window - this area. The menus at the top of the application, the Application bar below the menus, the Tools panel on the left, and finally panels that are docked on the right, like the Properties panel. As you explore InDesign, you'll find that you can arrange this workspace to have things you use all the time easily accessible or maybe to show more of the document you're working on and less of the tools and panels. In the Tools panel on the left, you see all of the tools you can use to create and edit content in your documents. Some of the tools have a little arrow in the corner which means there are more tools you can choose from. For example, press and hold down on the Rectangle tool to see a menu of tools. Then choose the Ellipse tool from the menu that appears. You can now see the Ellipse tool selected. Come back up to this Selection tool or the Black arrow up here and select it. The Selection tool is a tool you use a lot to do things like select and move content. With it selected, come out to the document, and click to select this image. If you look in the Properties panel to the right of the document, the Properties panel shows options for the content you select. And the options change depending on what's selected. Panels, like the Properties panel, are where you can work with pages, apply formatting like colors, and a whole lot more. Click the Pages panel tab at the top to show the Pages panel. The Pages panel is grouped with the Properties panel and the CC Libraries panel here. To show the Properties panel again, click the Properties panel tab. And it'll hide the Pages panel. If you find that you need more space in the document window to work on your document, you can click the arrow at the top of the docked panels to collapse the panels. If you want to see the panels again, you can click the arrow again. These docked panels and others are found in the Window menu at the top of the screen. Any panel that has a checkmark is open and currently showing. This is also where you'll find the Tools and the Properties panel as well. Let's open another panel. Choose Text Wrap from this Window menu to open the Text Wrap panel. This panel is called free floating because it's not docked with the other panels on the right. You can move free floating panels by dragging the title bar at the top or the panel tab. You can also dock one or more of the panels on the left or right side of the workspace. To dock the Text Wrap panel, drag the panel by the tab, the name up here, to the right onto the panel tabs at the top up here. When a blue highlight appears around the Properties panel group, release. The Text Wrap panel is now added to the group. As you start opening and closing and moving panels, you may find you want to reorganize and clean up the workspace. To do this, you can reset the workspace. Click Essentials in the Application bar above the document. and choose Reset Essentials to put all of the panels back to their default locations. In this menu, if you see something else chosen to start, choose Essentials first, and then choose Reset Essentials. Organizing your workspace can make working in InDesign faster and easier. Now that you have an idea of how to manipulate the workspace, you can begin to customize your InDesign workspace to your individual working style.
What you learned: The InDesign workspace
- Document window (in the middle) displays the file you’re currently working on. Multiple open documents appear as tabs in the Document window.
- Menu bar (at the very top) shows the File, Edit, and other menus that give you access to a variety of commands, adjustments, settings, and panels.
- Toolbox (on the left) contains tools for creating and editing artwork. Similar tools are grouped together. You can access them by clicking and holding a tool in the toolbox.
- Panels (on the right) include Properties, Pages, and CC Libraries that contain a variety of controls for working with documents. You can find a full list of panels under the Window menu.
Explore how to zoom and pan in an InDesign document.
Navigating in your documents by zooming and panning will make it much easier to work in InDesign. In this video, you'll explore how to zoom in a document and also how to pan in the document window. With the latest version of InDesign open, you can open your own document, or this document from the downloadable practice files for this tutorial. Now there are a lot of ways to move around in an InDesign document. We'll start by discussing what are called View commands. When you open an InDesign file, you'll most likely see one or more pages in the document to start. So that you can fit the page or pages into the document window, choose View, Fit Page in Window. Then click back on the View menu. View commands like Fit Page in Window or Actual Size work on the page showing in the document window. You can try experimenting with some of these other commands like Actual Size. But make sure you choose Fit Page in Window before moving on. Another way to focus on the content you're working on is by zooming in and out. When working with content, sometimes you need to enlarge it to see more detail. We can do this using the Zoom tool and other methods. In the Tools panel on the left, click to select the Zoom tool. Come out into the document window and click once to zoom in a set amount. Where you clicked is now in the center of the document window. Try clicking a few more times to zoom in really closely. Now if you want to zoom out in your document or make things smaller so you can see more, with the Zoom tool selected, press the Option key on Mac or Alt key on Windows and you'll see a minus sign in the Zoom tool pointer now. Click several times to zoom out and then release the key. Now suppose you need to move around in the document maybe to a different area. You can do that by panning within the document window. In the Tools panel on the left, select the Hand tool. Then come out into the document window, press and drag to move around. You could think of this as similar to moving a piece of paper on your desk. If you drag up far enough in the document window, you can see that this document has more than one page. In this particular document, there are five pages. You can have a lot of pages in one document and it can also be different sizes. Maybe to design multiple versions of a flyer or a newsletter for instance. It's a great way to be able to share assets and colors and different things you'll use in those different pieces. In a later lesson, you'll learn more about navigating and working with pages. But for now, make sure you drag up until you see this page. To ensure that you see the entire page, choose View, Fit Page in Window. The currently selected page is fit into the document window. Just below the menus at the top of the screen you'll see the View menu. This is where you can see the current zoom level. By clicking the menu, you can zoom to 100%, 4000%, whatever you happen to need. Choose 25% from the menu to zoom out. At this zoom level, you'll probably be able to see some of the other pages in the document. Another really useful method for zooming in InDesign is to use the View commands for zooming. Click the View menu at the top of the screen and you'll see Zoom In and Zoom Out. Choose Zoom In. It's like using the Zoom tool to zoom in; it's zooming in by a set amount. So that you can see the entire page again, Choose View, Fit Page in Window. Being able to navigate your document by panning and zooming will be really important when working InDesign. It will allow you to see more detailed content close up, for instance, or even take a step back to view the entire document.
What you learned: Zoom and pan
- The Zoom tool, located in the toolbox, can be used to show you more detail of a document. To change from Zoom In to Zoom Out, press Alt (Windows) or Option (macOS).
- The Hand tool, also located in the toolbox, allows you to pan across a document.
- The view menu below the document can be used to change the view of a document.