20 Replies Latest reply on Jul 31, 2011 9:27 AM by peter minneapolis

    How to set up InDesign templates and workflow

    Christian Harder Level 1

      What  would be the smartest approach to deploying a new docuiment style into a  group of unsuspecting technical writers? We have a magazine-style  layout already created with about 10 main layout patterns. The idea is  that each content specialist writes into a template and does all their  own copy-fitting and placement, re-positioningh and resizing of  photo/graphic positions.

       

      Is this a job for inCopy? Or is  there a clever use of limited Workspaces and well-designed Master Pages  that could allow the writers to operate in ID? Or should that be avoided  like the plague?

       

      Or are there other software bridges to allowing our writers work painlessly in the actual layout mode?

       

      Sorry for the open-ended question; hope this is the right forum.

        • 1. Re: How to set up InDesign templates and workflow
          Grant H Level 4
          What  would be the smartest approach to deploying a new docuiment style into a  group of unsuspecting technical writers?

          Oh dear! you asking that they become graphic designers... even if you create a very good template this is a bad idea but:

           

          have they all got access to ID?

           

          G

          • 2. Re: How to set up InDesign templates and workflow
            Stix Hart Level 5

            This is something that InCopy would be best at.  It's a whole new learning curve though, you'd probably be best to post on the InCopy forum for some advice, although when I went there to get that link it doesn't look very active...

            • 3. Re: How to set up InDesign templates and workflow
              Grant H Level 4

              or... ahem... create a template, save it as X many files you need eg: steve.indd, rob.indd... then open a new ID doc and place the steve, rob etc.indd files in it. When they change "their" files then well you know...

               

              G

              • 4. Re: How to set up InDesign templates and workflow
                Joel Cherney Adobe Community Professional & MVP
                a  group of unsuspecting technical writers?

                 

                I think that the phrase "technical writer" covers a lot of ground. Some tech writers I've known have been intermediate users of MS Word with no tech skills whatsoever. Others have been FrameMaker experts with serious XML/XSLT chops. Others have been, ah, technically writers.

                 

                Or are there other software bridges to allowing our writers work painlessly in the actual layout mode?

                 

                Painlessly? If you need this, expect to pay two additional salaries for each tech writer - one for the software developer maintaining & extending the content management system, and another desktop support tech/trainer/handholder. That is, unless your tech writers are the Frame-era XML-savvy tech writers I mentioned above.

                • 5. Re: How to set up InDesign templates and workflow
                  Christian Harder Level 1

                  So I can say that some are definitely the hands-on Framemaker types from another era. Since we are a software company, many of these people are clever at learning new software.

                   

                  I'll look more closely at inCopy. Last I checked you could only edit the contents of a Story; no other manipulation or even swapping out graphic objects was possible.

                  • 6. Re: How to set up InDesign templates and workflow
                    Grant H Level 4

                    why not contemplate my rough and ready solution. (or does my explanation suck maybe)

                     

                    G

                    1 person found this helpful
                    • 7. Re: How to set up InDesign templates and workflow
                      Joel Cherney Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      Well, in that case, you might be able to use either one of Grant's suggestions - although I like his second one better, if there's at least one designer with a good eye to ride herd on the tech writters.

                       

                      I'm not an InCopy user, but I think that your hunch is correct - you can only edit text, I think.

                      • 8. Re: How to set up InDesign templates and workflow
                        Christian Harder Level 1

                        Grant H wrote:

                         

                        or... ahem... create a template, save it as X many files you need eg: steve.indd, rob.indd... then open a new ID doc and place the steve, rob etc.indd files in it. When they change "their" files then well you know...

                         

                        G

                        When upu say open a new ID doc, do you mean open a new ID book (.indb file) and then load all the indd files into that? I can see where that might work, yes, thanks.

                         

                        If I was going to do this, I guess if could be useful to set up a stripped down workspace to prevent idle tinkering.

                        • 9. Re: How to set up InDesign templates and workflow
                          Grant H Level 4
                          When upu say open a new ID doc, do you mean open a new ID book (.indb file) and then load all the indd files into that?

                          No: create a mother.indd file

                           

                          then create templateTech.indd and design it.  then save that templateTech.indd as robWriter.indd, and another copy named cliveTech.indd... place robWriter.indd in mother.indd and then the same for cliveTech.indd... let rob work on his and clive his, make sure they dont save as or save in different folder. when they save them mother.indd will be updated...

                           

                          G

                          • 10. Re: How to set up InDesign templates and workflow
                            Christian Harder Level 1

                            That would work, thanks.

                            • 11. Re: How to set up InDesign templates and workflow
                              Stix Hart Level 5

                              Or... do what Grant is suggesting but combine them by way of a book file.  This has the advantage that you can sync styles, master pages and a whole lot more besides.

                              • 12. Re: How to set up InDesign templates and workflow
                                John Hawkinson Level 5

                                Stix Hart wrote:

                                This is something that InCopy would be best at.  It's a whole new learning curve though, you'd probably be best to post on the InCopy forum for some advice, although when I went there to get that link it doesn't look very active...

                                Looks like you guys already figured it out, but InCopy doesn't work for this. InCopy won't let you reposition elements.

                                 

                                I feel like I don't undertand the problem. What's wrong with regular templates?

                                1 person found this helpful
                                • 13. Re: How to set up InDesign templates and workflow
                                  Christian Harder Level 1

                                  Part of the original question had to with with seeing if there was a way to limit the inDesign UI to reduce potential for mischief that people could do. I just want them to be able to drop in screenshots or diagrams and then take a first cut at copyfitting their own pages. A skilled designer will continue to review and tweak all the pages before they go live.

                                   

                                  But thanks for pointing out the obvious, John. Saving and using actual Template files gives me a consistent starting point that I can always revert back to if needed.

                                   

                                  As usual, I appreciate the thoughtful replies I always get here. Great resource.

                                  • 14. Re: How to set up InDesign templates and workflow
                                    John Hawkinson Level 5
                                    Part of the original question had to with with seeing if there was a way to limit the inDesign UI to reduce potential for mischief that people could do. I just want them to be able to drop in screenshots or diagrams and then take a first cut at copyfitting their own pages. A skilled designer will continue to review and tweak all the pages before they go live.

                                    Well, there's no supported way, and it's probably not practical.

                                     

                                    You can set up custom menus that hide functionality you expect people not to use. Also workspaces that hide panels you expect people not to use. Also keyboard shortcuts. An experienced user can bring them back, but might help.

                                     

                                    If you want to go crazy, the vast majority of InDesign's functionality is accomplished by some two-hundred-odd loadable modules (plugins). You can remove various of these plugins and pieces of the InDesign UI will also disappear. Of course, this is unsuppored and you might break it horribly, or it might seem to work great and then mysteriously corrupt your critical document minutes before you go to press. But you could explore it...

                                    • 15. Re: How to set up InDesign templates and workflow
                                      BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                                      John Hawkinson wrote:

                                       

                                      Looks like you guys already figured it out, but InCopy doesn't work for this. InCopy won't let you reposition elements.    

                                      Not 100% true but it's a very valid point. The InCopy users can reposition graphics within their frames, but the real point I'd like to make here is that untrained people shouldn't be messing with layouts. Even a one day class should be enough to give them enough knowledge to make basic changes to documents.

                                       

                                      Sorry to be standing on a soapbox here but just because you spend the money on the software doesn't make you a graphic designer or a even a production artist. That takes time and knowledge.

                                       

                                      I could go to Home Depot and buy $50,000 worth of tools but that wouldn't make me a carpenter.

                                       

                                      Bob

                                      • 16. Re: How to set up InDesign templates and workflow
                                        Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                        I can teach you to build a house with a lot less than $50K in tools.

                                         

                                        But the point is completely valid.

                                        • 17. Re: How to set up InDesign templates and workflow
                                          John Hawkinson Level 5

                                          Well, except InDesign doesn't generally put you at risk to life and limb.

                                          Play and take rissks with InDesign, not with the table saw or the lathe.

                                          • 18. Re: How to set up InDesign templates and workflow
                                            Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                            True enough. I've been pretty lucky -- stuck my left thumb in the table saw three times over the years without actaully cutting it off, and been hit in the head once or twice by stuff flying out of lathes (or dropping from above), which probably explains many things about me -- which teaches you a little respect for your work and the environment in which you do it.

                                            • 19. Re: How to set up InDesign templates and workflow
                                              BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                                              Indeed, John which brings up the other point I often like to use.

                                               

                                              If some of the InDesign users out there were trying to be carpenters natural order would eliminate them very quickly.

                                               

                                              It just amazes me that there are people who just expect to know how to use such a complex application out of the box.

                                               

                                              Bob

                                              • 20. Re: How to set up InDesign templates and workflow
                                                peter minneapolis Level 4

                                                P Spier wrote:

                                                 

                                                True enough. I've been pretty lucky -- stuck my left thumb in the table saw three times over the years without actaully cutting it off, and been hit in the head once or twice by stuff flying out of lathes (or dropping from above), which probably explains many things about me -- which teaches you a little respect for your work and the environment in which you do it.

                                                 

                                                Losing a thumb in a power tool is the ultimate unrecoverable digital data loss. Me, personally, I'd keep a few backup fingers and thumbs handy.

                                                Regards,
                                                Peter
                                                _______________________
                                                Peter Gold
                                                KnowHow ProServices