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Getting Started with InDesign

In this module, we’ll introduce you to InDesign — starting with the basics. If you’re completely new to InDesign, this video is for you!

Topics Covered

  • Document presets & creating new files
  • InDesign interface
  • Creating & formatting text boxes
  • Character & paragraph panels
  • Overset text
  • Pre-flight panel
  • Story editor
  • Placing images
  • Linked files & file organization
  • Adding images
  • Fixing broken links
  • Adding guides
  • Adding new colours


Additional Information

Differences between Print & Web Documents

Colour Modes

Print uses CMYK color mode. CMYK stands for (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key/Black), which are the fours colours that printers to create the full color spectrum. Web uses RGB, which stands for Red, Green, and Blue — these are the three colors that digital screens use to render images.


Print documents need to be high resolution (typically 300 DPI) while digital documents are typically around 72 to 96 DPI.

Units of Measurement

Web documents typically use pixels and print documents will use picas (a typographic unit of measurement), inches or centimetres.

Facing Pages

When creating documents in InDesign, print documents will be set up as facing pages, which means that the pages are arranged in a two-page spread, with the first page on its own. It’s meant to replicate the page view of a printed book. This setting is particularly important for print layouts where visual elements or text span across two pages. You can turn facing pages on or off by going to File > Document Setup and checking/unchecking the box next to “Facing Pages”

File Naming & Organization Tips

Developing good file naming and file organization skills will help to streamline your workflow and save you time in the long run! Create a folder for your project and save your InDesign file in that main parent folder. Then, create 4 sub folders:

  1. Old — For old drafts of your InDesign file.
  2. Content — For the text document with your content or any other source data
  3. Graphics — For Illustrator files of any graphics, illustrations or data visuals
  4. Links — For linked images

When you make changes to your report, save a new draft of your file so that you can revisit previous versions. Name your file with the version # and the date to keep track of the versions. For example: final-report_V1_JAN-31-24. You can move your old files into the “Old” folder and keep the latest version in the main project folder

When placing images in your InDesign document, make sure you move them to the Links folder that’s within your project folder BEFORE to add it to your document — this will prevent broken image links!

Keyboard Shortcuts

Below are some very useful keyboard shortcuts that will make your life so much easier!

  • Zoom In — ⌘ + = (mac) / Ctrl + = (PC)
  • Zoom Out — ⌘ + – (mac) / Ctrl + – (PC)
  • Undo —  ⌘ + Z (mac) / Ctrl + Z (PC)
  • Save — ⌘ + S (mac) / Ctrl + S (PC)
  • Hand Tool — Space bar
  • Selection Tool — V