4 Replies Latest reply on Dec 31, 2014 2:01 PM by Test Screen Name

    new to InDesign: things I need to know before starting my 200-page book?

    malch Level 1

      Hi there (second time attempting to post this; sorry if both somehow end up on the discussion page—this version is my most recent)—

      I'd practically completed a 180-page cookbook—lots of photos and recipes, instructions and comments—in Apple Pages ('cause I'm on a Mac and Pages seemed pretty straightforward) when I realized that not being able to see the book in a facing-pages view was completely ridiculous.  So I'm trying InDesign, and already I can see that this is THE app for what I'm doing.  I purchased a hard copy of the InDesign Classroom in a Book 2014 book, which I'm slowly going through... but I'm so incredibly eager and going page by page is so slow.  I will keep going through the book, but in the meantime, would people on this forum mind making sure I'm starting off on the right foot?  (I don’t want to get too far along and then discover that I should have been doing things completely differently).

      Question One:  Many of my pages will be for recipes, of course—name of the dish at the top (white text on a black background), photo below, and below that the list of ingredients and the instructions.  So should I create a Master Page just for recipes?  That would seem to make sense, as all of the recipes will be organized on the page in the same way.  But what about all the other parts of the book (Preface, Table of Contents, various pages of commentary, pages of photos, etc.) that are different from one another?

      Should I create other Master Pages for other parts of the book?

      Question Two:  given that I’m planning to have all the pages printed at a printing house, and then bound into book form… should all my ‘left-hand’ Master Pages leave an extra wide margin on the right (to account for the part of the page that’s bound/glued) and, similarly, should all my right-hand Master Pages leave extra room on the left?  How much extra room do I need for this? 

      Question Three:  I really don't know enough about InDesign to even know what other question to ask, so maybe I'm safest to ask this:  are there settings I should 'build in' now, so I don't find myself trying to do it later, when it's much more difficult?  As I say, I'm going to keep struggling with the book (so many lessons seem to have nothing to do with my particular project, but I know I have to keep plugging away).  I do want to get my cookbook off on the right foot though.

      Thanks so much for any advice,


        • 1. Re: new to InDesign: things I need to know before starting my 200-page book?
          Derek Cross Level 6

          Presumable the book will be divided into sections (chapters) to make it more accessible. (1) front matter – title page, imprint/copyright, TOC etc. these tend not to have pages numbers (2) Individual chapters – e.g. Starters, Main courses, Puddings, Drinks  (3) back matter e.g Index.


          The simplest approach is to have page numbers on your master page with running headers – that is the name of the book at the top of the left hand page and the name of each chapter on the right hand page, and guides for the repeating elements.


          Produce and print out a couple of specimen pages of the recipe pages to see how your design looks and how easy it is read/use and how you will allow in the design for short and long menu headings and recipes etc. Use paragraph, character and object styles in your design. You wouldn't need extra space for perfect binding, look at similar books of the same trimmed pages size to see what kind of margins they have.


          The cover artwork should be produced as a separate document as it will be printed separately on heavier stock.


          Check you have an economical page size for printing (talk to your printer) discuss the paper you might choose and how many pages in a printed section. Also what kind of PDF s/he wants.

          • 2. Re: new to InDesign: things I need to know before starting my 200-page book?
            malch Level 1

            Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply, Derek.  In reading it carefully, it seems to me that I should create Master Pages for everything following the (1) front matter.  I'm creating those Master Pages now, and following the directions in my Classroom in a Book so that all these pages will have page numbers at the bottom.  I'll make sure to add the name of the book to the top of each left-hand Master, and the name of each chapter on the top of the right-hand page.  I'm presuming that if I give the top right of the right-hand Master Page a chapter title, I'll then be able to change the chapter title for other pages (in other chapters), without changing the chapter title for all the pages in the book.

            I'll do some googling to find out what 'perfect binding' is.  And yes, good idea—I'll take some margin measurements from other cookbooks.  I didn't know there are different types of PDFs, so I'll check into that as well.

            Again, thanks very much,


            • 3. Re: new to InDesign: things I need to know before starting my 200-page book?
              Derek Cross Level 6

              You use "Text Variables" for your running heads.

              • 4. Re: new to InDesign: things I need to know before starting my 200-page book?
                Test Screen Name Most Valuable Participant

                My tip would be: never change the font for selected text. Never. Always use styles. There is a learning curve, but this is perhaps the most important error made by people starting out in InDesign.