I have indesign CS5.5 and I am having trouble loading characters, styles and swatches (all pantone). I work on a network plc and I don't know if the plug ins are installed.
To load character styles, open the Character Style panel, then from the panel flyout menu choose Load Character styles... and in the dialog that opens choose the .indd file that you want to take the styles from.
To load a Pantone Swatch, open the Swatches panel and from the flyout menu choose New Color Swatch... In the Color Type dropdown choose Process or Spot, and in the Color Mode dropdown choose your pantone library of choice. You can also Load Swatches from that menu in a similar fashion to loading styles, either from another ID file, or froma a saved .ase file.
No. Do you understand the concepts behind paragraph and character styles? These are things you define yourself for each project, or load from another document to be consistent. The only pre-loaded style is [Basic Paragraph] (which I highly recommend you don't use for anything, and never use as the basis for other styles, if you need to collaborate with other users) which contains the default font information. The problem with using [Basic Paragraph] is that it can be redefined and be different for every document, and when moving text between documents you get surprises when the receiving file has styles with the same name, but different definitions.
No. I went on a course for the basics and everything we used was already there so I presumed that it would be when my company purchased it. I will ask a colleague if she has any indd files for me to import what we have as corporate.
It sounds like your company is just switching over to ID, is that correct? If so, it may well be that the task of defining these styles and saving them in templates is going to fall on your shoulders.
Did your course cover styles? It sounds like it didn't, and that's a crime. You might want to get a copy of Sandee Cohen's Visual QuickStart Guide to InDesign, or if you feel you need something more advanced try Real World Indesign, or if you prefer video training, Lynda.com.