There are lots of ways to use InDesign. Some will say always do it this way. Others say never do it this way. Many times, it's a matter of choice. Your choices will lead you to places, and if you don't want to be in those places, you just have to make different choices.
If you want to be able to adjust the text on many pages of your document in one go, without having to touch every text frame (by the way, ID calls them text frames and image frames—what Quark calls text boxes and picture boxes), your best bet is to create paragraph and character styles, apply those styles to your text, and avoid making little tweaks to the text in addition to the styles (ID calls that Local Overrides—Quark calls it Local Formatting). Both programs will show a + next to the style's name when locally changed, but ID doesn't show paragraph styles as modified locally when the only change is that a character style has been applied (whereas Quark does). If you find text that doesn't look right, even though you're using a pure style, seeing that there isn't a character style applied is the first thing to check.
As a Quark user since 1994, I was used to drawing boxes before adding content, but ID will create a container when you place text or images. Quark has been doing it like that for a few versions, but if you're used to the old way, it's something to consider. Also, placing text across multiple pages in Quark required master-page text boxes, but not ID. If you want margin-to-margin automatic text frames when placing (and automatic insertion of new pages), just click in the top left margin when placing and hold shift for auto-flow. There aren't many uses for master-page text frames, unless you want them to be a specific size or placement, but any thing about the text frame that you change on the document page won't respond when you make a similar change on the master page. For example, change the size of the frame on the document page and then on the master page, and the document page frame won't change. Any frames that aren't changed will still respond. Some people (myself included) usually place items on the master page that aren't intended to be changed on the document page, and since they are locked until released, you don't have to worry about nudging them by mistake.
If you still want to use master text frames, you don't have to override everything on the master page to place content in one frame on document a page if you are placing text from a text file. When placing, click on the master item on the document page and it will release automatically. You can also release the same item on consecutive pages by auto-flowing text when placing with the shift key. If you want to key in text on a master frame on a document page, you can release just the things you want by Command-Shift clicking on each item to release them individually. That way you won't have to release things like your page numbers that you wouldn't need to change on the document pages.
That's a few things that might help you. Other forum participants will likely offer more suggestions. If you have specific questions, come on back.
I think it takes some time to grasp the philosophical differences between master page objects in Quark and ID.
In general, unless there is a specific need to have a particular pattern of linked frames or frames that don't fill margin guides (think parallel columns, for example, in different languages, or a magazine layout with a standard template that positions images in certain sizes and positions) there is little reason, in my opinion, to use a master frame in InDesign for any content which does not repeat on multiple pages, especially if you find you need to override the frame manually. The use of a Primary Text Frame in a file destined to become an ePub might be another exception, but I don't yet do ePub, so I can't say from experience if they are really helpful.
As far as overriding all master page items, if you find yourself doing that even once I think you need to do some real thinking about why any objects are on the master page. Individual objects can be manually overridden by pressing Cmd (Mac) or Ctrl (Windows) plus the Shift key while you click on them with the mouse, but most times you needn't bother (and it's better not to in the case of text frames) if you are placing images or existing text from an external file. Simply move the loaded "Place Gun" cursor over any empty frame, even a master frame, and you'll see the cursor change to be surrounded by parentheses, indicating that the content will be placed into that frame. If this happens to be a master frame, it will automatically be overridden at the same time.
Michael said "If you want margin-to-margin automatic text frames when placing (and automatic insertion of new pages), just click in the top left margin when placing and hold shift for auto-flow." I think that wording is a little confusing, and it might also get you into trouble (as I learned from watching my students). I haven't checked the help files lately, but the behavior of text frames didn't used to be terribly well documented. You can always click and drag a text frame as you place text to get an exact size and position, but click and release behavior is a little unexpected for most users.
When you click and release a loaded text cursor anywhere inside a pair of column guides (or the margin guides for a single columns layout), but NOT inside an existing empty frame, ID draws a text frame that fills the width of those guides and extends from the point at which you click to the bottom margin guide. If you click and release outside the guides, as on the pasteboard or in a margin or gutter, ID will create a frame that matches the column width for the page, with the upper left corner at the point where you clicked, and the height will be either the distance from there to the bottom margin guide, or the distance between the top and bottom margin guides if you click a spot above the top margin, or from the point you click down to the bottom edge of the pasteboard (up to the distance between the top and bottom margins) if you click below the bottom margin. Holding the Shift key while you do this will cause ID to draw additional frames, and add pages if necessary, to hold all of the text to be placed, and all of the additional frames will be sized to fit the column guides from top to bottom margins and will be snapped to them.
Clicking inside an empty frame should cause ID to use that frame, but only if you don't click on any sort of guide. If you happen to click a ruler guide or column or margin guide instead of empty space inside an existing frame, ID is going to ignore the empty frame and draw a new one according to the rules outlined above. This means that you can click the top left intersection of the margin guides, or anywhere along the top margin guide, to get a frame that fills the margins, but IT WILL NOT BE THREADED to your master text frames, which will remain behind the new frames in the layout. Likewise, if you manually override a master text frame before placing text you will lose the connection to the master thread and any auto-flowed text will follow the general rules rather than any pattern you might have set on the master page, and your master frames will again be ignored for any subsequent frames in the thread.
Thanks so much Peter, that does help, and explains a few things I didn't know.
I'm dealing with a sort of special case here, I think. And if you have some more time to take a look, I'd love to hear what you have to say. I've included a screenshot of a couple of the layouts i'm dealing with.
The short of it is: I'm creating a knot book. 35 knots, each with a step-by-step instruction. Each knot has a starter page with a finished shot at the top left, a short paragraph of text at the top right, and then instruction steps below consisting of an image and a sentence of text.
I created the Master pages (one set for each chapter) and locked all items on the Master pages so that I wouldn't accidentally shift their location. I overrode all Master items on each new spread I created, because I couldn't put images or text into them without doing that.
And now I need to change the justification style/width settings on all the text frames - the main paragraph next to the finished shot and all steps.
If I make that change to the Master page, that change does not reflect on any of the created pages.
With so many text boxes to deal with, it's really frustrating to go through and change each one. That's how I know there has to be another way, I just didn't realize it during setup...maybe...I hope...
The spread in view --> normal
The spread in view --> preview:
The Master page:
The Master pages list. I built the Master pages for Chapter 1, then based all subsequent chapters on Chapter 1.
Thank you, Michael. Good to know I'm not way off. I'm dealing with a specific case here. I've detailed it in another response on this thread. If you have time to take a look, that would be great. If not - no problem.
I really appreciate the time you took to get back to me on this. Lots of good info (and naming convention help!) in your response.
OK, a number of things I see here...
First, there's no reason I can see to manually override any of the image frames, but there's no harm in doing so, and if you are typing text into the text frames rather than placing from external files it probably makes more sense to override en mass than one at a time, but I would still avoid using the blanket override of all master objects. Instead, hold down Ctrl or Cmd and Shift and marquee select just the image and text frames, leaving the headers and footers (if you add any) on the master page. This is clearly a case where master frames make sense, by the way, and I won't suggest that they are a waste of your time or a hindrance.
As long as you do not move or change the shapes of any of those frames after they are overridden they should maintain their link to those attributes in the master frames, and altering positions and sizes on the master should be reflected on all document pages. Changes to text formatting probably should be handled in style definitions, but I'm not sure waht you mean by changing the justification settings. If you mean the text frame options, then that can be handled by defining and applying object styles.
You have a lot of master pages, and I think you have that many becuse youare changing the text in the headers. That's OK, but not necessarily required. You can probably accomplish this with a single set of master pages and a Running Header Variable (you can read about variables in the Help files). This would require adding the text you want to appear in the headers someplace on the page, but it can be set to non-printing so it doesn't output (we can do a new thread on using variables if you have more questions after reading about them), and you would also need to override the header if you want the Table Of Contents (TOC) to include it, but if the TOC only needs to include the page where your text is located that the header is picking up, then an override would not be required (the TOC can also pick up non-printing text).
Oh so much to learn! Thanks!
OK, I'm going to be making at least one more of these books, so, I'll look into cutting down on the number of master pages by reading up on Running Header Variables.
Regarding the text changes that i was talking about: I clicked on the top right menu button of the Paragraph popup window, and shifted the Justification settings there. I'm guessing that this is something that can be ealt with by defining and applying object styles, and will look into that as well.
Again, really appreciate the help. Off to finish the images in photoshop, then finalize the InDesign file and output to pdf, then print the book!
Paragraph justification settings are properly part of a Paragraph Style. You should be defining styles for each type of text included in your book -- it will save you an amazing amount of time in the long run. Edit the style and all the text inthe whole book to which that style is applied will update automatically.