17 Replies Latest reply on Mar 12, 2013 5:37 PM by Vik_R

    Would This Page Look Better in InDesign?

    Vik_R Level 1

      I'm self-publishing a novel through CreateSpace. I've currently got my book laid  out using a professional book design and MS Word. Here's a scan of a typical page:

      http://www.market-research-services.com/starpowermedia/for_distribution/CONQUEST-chapter-2 -page-1.jpg

      Would this look any better if it was done with InDesign? For example, would the spaces between letters and words be somehow different and better?

      I used Baskerville font for the body text. In case anyone reading this has InDesign and wants to do a comparison, here’s the text:

      =====
      IT WAS A DAY THAT CHANGED THE REST OF MY life for the better. It showed I was right in waiting, believing, praying, hoping for that to happen. Dis-covering that I could do these things—that I could find what I needed in the world that was missing in my-self—put awe into me. Of course, that night, it was still only my belief, my hope, my faith, that that was what had happened. Nothing was proven yet.
      Leon did not get chosen. It hurt his feelings. I felt as though my friend had been dropped into a deep, deep well. I didn’t know how to get him out. And who did get picked? Clay Hicks. Clay outperformed Leon, no question. But how could I tell Barry, that I felt Clay was a danger to every single person around him? The only evidence I had was one crazy car ride. Barry didn’t know Clay. He didn’t know Leon. None of us knew each other—yet.
      =====

      Thanks very much in advance to all for any info!

        • 1. Re: Would This Page Look Better in InDesign?
          Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

          You could download the trial and test for yourself.

           

          I think only you are able to decide what looks better, but InDesign uses ligatures by default, which Word does not, so I suspect your fi, ff, and fl combinations would look somewhat nicer. You probably will have more control over spacing as well, but since the text is justified there will always be cases where you might think the text is too tight or too loose.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Would This Page Look Better in InDesign?
            Ellis home Level 4

            Besides what Peter says, having it done in Indesign will allow you to export directly to Kindle format (mobi file) with the Kindle Plugin for Adobe Indesign. That is if you're thinking having it as an ebook.

            • 3. Re: Would This Page Look Better in InDesign?
              Vik_R Level 1

              Thanks Peter. I never thought of downloading the trial.

               

              So it sounds like the Word version is pretty close to professional standards for book publishing. Would that be a reasonable assessment?

              • 4. Re: Would This Page Look Better in InDesign?
                Vik_R Level 1

                Thanks for this tip, Ellis.

                • 5. Re: Would This Page Look Better in InDesign?
                  Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                  Vik_R wrote:

                   

                   

                  So it sounds like the Word version is pretty close to professional standards for book publishing.

                  That's not really the question you asked before. If you were working with a traditional publisher, they'd probably want your manuscript in Word, and they'd have a book designer or professional typesetter do the layout. For self-publishing the format that matters is what the printer can work with or asks for -- most palces that's PDF, and if you can produce a PDF to their standards in Word, that would be fine, as long as you cna live with what it looks like.

                   

                  Personally, I prefer ID, but that's me. here is a WHOLE lot more typographic and object positioning control in ID than there is in Word, but there's also a learning curve to be able to use the tools effectively.

                  • 6. Re: Would This Page Look Better in InDesign?
                    Vik_R Level 1

                    The book design is provided by professional book designer Joel Friendlander via bookdesigntemplates.com. What I'm trying to determine is, given this book design, would the book look a lot better in InDesign?

                     

                    Your original comment seemed to indicate that other than in the case of ligatures, the current version is close to what one would obtain using Indesign. If the current book design were used in both versions, would the InDesign version look substantially closer to professional standards for book publishing, as compared to the current MS Word version?

                     

                    I know nothing about InDesign or typographic control, so I look forward to learning from your reply.

                    • 7. Re: Would This Page Look Better in InDesign?
                      Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                      I've done a few books, but it isn't my primary work, so I'm going to ask others to weigh in. I see nothing heinous about the word layout, with the possible exception of the ligatures (which are controversial, by the way, but I think they look better), but Word is a word processor with some layout capabilities intended primarily for manuscripts and office-type publications, while InDesign is a professional layout tool with some word proceesing capabiliies intended for professional publication projects.

                       

                      It may not be so much the appearance, as what different things you can do that are difficult or impossible to achieve in Word, though Word itself has some features like end notes that are lacking in InDesign off the shelf.

                       

                      If we're lucky, perhaps Ariel will pop in and talk about why he switched to ID. Seems to me we had some rather heated discussions a couple of years ago about the relative virtues of Word and ID.

                      • 8. Re: Would This Page Look Better in InDesign?
                        VectorIsBetter09

                        "the Word version is pretty close to professional standards for book publishing"

                         

                        Word? professional? Standards? - Hardly

                         

                        Sorry I cant be of more help. I can say that InDesign has rich paragraph composition and typographical tools compared to MSWord.

                        I never would have used word for any kind of project of this nature. I would have used Quark before going anywhere near Word.

                         

                        If you're speaking of the final word based product, It looks like a book. An orphan and a widow here and there, but you'll get that with both MSW and ID.

                        The controls in InDesign are much easier to use compared to word, though the overall work environment takes a little getting used to. I still have trouble with word because of the over simplification, and dozens of diferent layouts with every version released. Kudos for putting up with everything that Word throws at you.

                        • 9. Re: Would This Page Look Better in InDesign?
                          VectorIsBetter09 Level 1

                          Peter Spier wrote:

                           

                          It may not be so much the appearance, as what different things you can do that are difficult or impossible to achieve in Word, though Word itself has some features like end notes that are lacking in InDesign off the shelf.

                           

                          This....

                          • 10. Re: Would This Page Look Better in InDesign?
                            Joel Cherney Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                            There are two issues you're talking about here, Vic - one is your book template (which looks quite nice), and another is typographic control. They are completely separate. 

                             

                            That is a very nice template you're using, but to me it looks like it obviously came from Word. That has nothing to do with the template, and everything to do with the way that Word gets information from font files to do some math to decide how far apart letters should be from one another, and how it uses similar math to decide how far apart words should be from one another. Word's algorithms here are okay, but frankly it's obvious to a pro that Word was used. This is enirely separate from ligatures or advanced typographical features. I'm only talking about text compostion here. InDesign's default settings are, to my eyes, infinitely superior to Word's defaults. Type-setting pros, broadly speaking, agree on this matter. (We fight over whether Quark is better than ID here. Sometimes somebody mentions LaTeX. Suggestions that Word or Publisher are in the running at all are exceedingly rare.)

                             

                            Furthermore, InDesign gives me insane amounts of control, both on the level of the entire document, all the way down to how much space I want between an open parenthesis and the first letter of the first word inside the parenthesis. So as soneone who has very strong feelings about how far away the open parenthesis should be from the first letter, I don't even bother to consider the typographical book-setting abilities of Word.

                             

                            So: putting aside the question of good typography: I am consistently surprised at how much beauty people manage to wring out of Word. Your book-sample looks really good to me; someone picked a really good font, made a nice template, added some nice features (like the drop-cap) and managed to make a Word doc look really good.

                             

                            But that doesn't change the fact that the way that the paragraphs are composed looks amateurish and, well, MS-Word-y to me. This is mostly because I am in the middle of typesetting a hundred-page book, that is basically purely text with no images, in sixteen languages. I have to make the text look nice and clean and balanced in nine different writing systems, each with its own rules for typography. And InDesign is superior here both in that a) when I pour the text in from Word, it looks better right off the bat, and b) I can tweak the text density on the page easily on a global level, and c) I can elect to make tiny little anal changes all the way across the book with a few clicks.

                             

                            So, some of the pros in your thread have said that the output from Word doesn't look much different to them when compared with InDesign's output. Some of us are (cough) politely disagreeing with this stance. But everyone agrees that, if you want to change anything about the way that your text is composed, that ID is a superior tool.

                            1 person found this helpful
                            • 11. Re: Would This Page Look Better in InDesign?
                              Joel Cherney Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                              TL;DR:

                               

                              Would this look any better if it was done with InDesign? For example, would the spaces between letters and words be somehow different and better?

                               

                              I'd say "absolutely, yes." Opinions differ.

                              • 12. Re: Would This Page Look Better in InDesign?
                                Ellis home Level 4

                                This is an advice I heard somewhere else that might be worth repeating here. If you are just testing the waters regarding self-publishing to see how it goes, you might do well using word. As Joel says, the template you're using looks decent and it'll give you a book that on the eyes of the public might look good. On the other hand, if your plan is to keep publishing books and you want to have more control on the way it looks (not from a template) and have the time to learn a professional layout program as Indesign, then it's worth considering it. Your goal of trying to get the best product is laudable tough.

                                • 13. Re: Would This Page Look Better in InDesign?
                                  [Jongware] Most Valuable Participant

                                  Download the trial and set the same page with it. Then compare.

                                  ID has a Drop Cap function, but in addition you don't have to type that first line in ALL CAPS; ID is able to figure out by itself how much text will fit on the first line if you tell it to be All Caps. That's one bonus pount already :-)

                                   

                                  I can always tell a text comes out of Word. ID's spacing algorithm -- both letter and word -- is *vastly* superior to Word's, even with ID's default settings straight out-of-the-box. Ligatures are enabled by default (when present in the font).

                                   

                                  Oh wait, it's just after midnite this part of the world but let me fire up CS6 and see what your text looks like. Gimme a minute or so.

                                  • 14. Re: Would This Page Look Better in InDesign?
                                    Vik_R Level 1

                                    Thanks to all on this thread for this advice. I've learned a great deal. It has been beyond helpful.

                                    • 15. Re: Would This Page Look Better in InDesign?
                                      [Jongware] Most Valuable Participant

                                      There you go. No tweaks or tricks applied, default word and letter spacing; OS X Baskerville at 19 pts with a leading of 27 pts, in a 410 pt wide frame.

                                       

                                      leah.png

                                       

                                      One, admittedly weird, thing about using Mac OSX's Baskerville is that Apple's "enhancements" to the font hinting seem to defeat ID's own Best Screen Drawing. Of all fonts, exactly this one appears jagged and irregular on-screen inside ID. However, it's an InDesign thing only -- the PDF exported file displays way better, and so I did just that and then re-saved it as PNG.

                                       

                                      To be totally fair, you should ask this same question on a Word-only forum No doubt these people have their own set of reasons to stick to Word.

                                      1 person found this helpful
                                      • 16. Re: Would This Page Look Better in InDesign?
                                        Vik_R Level 1

                                        Brilliant. Thank you very much!

                                        • 17. Re: Would This Page Look Better in InDesign?
                                          Vik_R Level 1

                                          P.S. I really do see a substantial difference.