The Field Guide to Future Craft


Adobe InDesign is the industry standard app for publishing projects ranging from all types of print projects to digital publications that you can view on any device.

As a desktop publishing platform it primarily is used to layout and create works such as posters, flyers, brochures, magazines, newspapers, presentations, books and ebooks. Practically anything requiring text or precision with text handing should go straight into InDesign.

InDesign is also a vector based program much the same as Illustrator, however InDesigns strengths really lie in its ability to handle multiple pages and create master pages, you can easily create book or magazine layouts with automatic page numbering and consistent templates on each page all linked to an editable master page.

Important! InDesign is chiefly a page layout program, COLLATING all your artwork from Illustrator (Vector) and Photoshop (Raster) to create multiple page spreads and layouts.

In this section you will learn:

* Basic File Setup
* Page Settings
* Edit Original
* Layers and Pages
* Preview Modes
* Text Manipulation
* Output and Printing


Upon creating a document via the launch preferences of Indesign, the interface consists of a recognizable format of core tools docked to the left of the platform and core menus and management tools to the right.

Across the top of the software are the drop down menus for expanded parameters on tools and content creation while directly below consists of a range of feedback and input functionality for on-the-fly control.

  • Create Document → Page Size, Type, Settings
  • Edit Document - Document Settings, Single Up

InDesign excels at organization through powerful tools that search and select across a wide range of content that is both natively created within the platform or content that is linked via placement of Raster or Vector content either in a frame or out.

While highly useful in layout of all types and scales, single or multi-page, Indesign allows for ease of page setup and management. Pages are numbered automatically and can easily be re-ordered, duplicated and swapped. Additionally the ability to create master pages and assign them to various pages instantly unified throughout the entire document expands the potential for control when dealing with larger projects - e.g. portfolio or publications.

Content brought into Indesign whether placed into a frame or drag-and-dropped produces a link within the software. This is advantageous because it holds the extension for the location of that asset, meaning assets can remain in various folder locations and Indesign will collate and reference all of your content in dispersed locations. Should a link ever move, a missing notification or red question mark will appear in the links menu. To resolve this, simply re-link the file via browsing for the new location. Additionally, the ability to refresh, or typically by default the software itself will refresh, links allows for artwork or assets to be continually updated independent of the development of the indesign document. In this way, it is a real time collation of the working documents that comprise your indesign file - e.g. raster or vector, illustrator or photoshop content.

  • Edit Original → Update Links

Layers operate in a similar fashion to the core Adobe software, however, the dependence on layer stack and depth of layer management is less vital.

  • Layer Create → Naming, Arranging and REArranging Content

By default, Indesign’s view preference regarding display performance render content at a low resolution in order to reduce the computational power required in managing multiple pieces of content as well as continued operations within the working document. Likewise, the screen mode is by default set at normal which reveals all guides, margins and peripheral space around pages. To get an indicative preview, set display setting to high quality and screen mode to preview or by pass this an simple use presentation screen mode.


The use of guides for stanadizing proportions for layout is an essential tool within Indesign. Coupled with the one-off use of pulling in guides via the rulers located on the top and the left side of the document, allow for a clean and consistent way to layout frames with content.

To create a grid of guides, go to Layout → create guides, gutter space and number of rows and columns


Content or assets, be it Vector or Raster, are placed within frames within Indesign.

Whether a frame is created first as part of a layout or master page, or whether an asset is dragged and dropped onto a page, both methods result in a frame being present and containing the linked asset.

Frames can hold either text, images or other adobe referenced content. The ability to scale and edit frame via its handles allows for the frame bounds to be manipulated and moved in order to conform to various layouts.

  • Place Content → Content Frame, Frame vs. Content
    • Text
    • Diagram
    • Plan
    • Image
    • Page Number and Navigation → Create 3 and Navigate


The relationship between content and frame is relatively independent from one another which broadly is advantageous for scaling, fitting, cropping or other techniques that can be leveraged from these two features.

Typically, the frame is subservient to the layout or composition that is desired while the content that resides within the frame has to be scaled to fit. These preferences for fitting can be accessed via right clicking on an assets and selecting the fitting options. Centering, proportion short, proportional long, fit all, etc. are only a few of the options within the presets.


Fundamentally, indesign was built for text, this means its typeface tools and controls go incredibly deep.

Text is located within text frames, within which or selecting the frame itself, allows for a myriad of justification, placement, spacing, kerning, font styling and many, many more text based preferences.

Additionally, Indesign has powerful tools to scrub your document locating various casing issues, typeface selection and replacement, grammatical checks, etc. To put it simply, this allows for macro management at a fine detail with the capacity for large amounts of text with numerous typefaces and font settings.

Below are a variety of text manipulation strategies
  • Text → Titles, Annotation, Date, Page Number


The aforementioned aspect of linking content via the file address across a myriad of disparate folders proves a daunting challenge when versioning or over a given duration (among a couple of instances) however, indesign has a command called packaging in which it produces a copy and collates all of the referenced content (raster / vector, etc) as well as all typefaces and produces a packaged folder which houses a folder entitled links, fonts and then also has a saved version of the current indesign file. This ensure that everything is ‘packaged’ into one location.

Below is a workflow for exporting your project between computers.
  • Packaging Workflow
    • Preview Mode → Overview Printing
    • Output Settings → High Resolution
    • Export → High Quality PDF
    • File → package
Success! Using Indesigns linking and master page system can help you automated your presentation and book project, saving you time and allowing you to focus on what's most important - the content!