33 Replies Latest reply on Jan 6, 2012 1:09 AM by John Hawkinson

    Question, Is InDesign the "correct" software to use to prepare a document for type setting?

    Buffmin1

      Pardon my ignorance, but I am just trying to help my sister. She is getting a book published and the publisher requests that she prepare her manuscript for "type setting". Her work was all done in "Microsoft Word" but I do not think that 'Word' has the capability to do this(whatever it is she needs to do). I really do not understand all of this, but I told her that I believed that she might be able to accomplish this with Design. Could anyone please tell me if I am right, or am I way off base? If I am right, could you just please give me a tip or two to steer us in a direction? Thank you much. Buffmin

        • 1. Re: Question, Is InDesign the "correct" software to use to prepare a document for type setting?
          John Hawkinson Level 5

          "Preparing for typesetting" is not the same as actually doing the typesetting. All the difference in the world.

          Generally publishers want you to submit your manuscript in Word, not in software like InDesign.

          Talk to the publisher and get clear direction.

          It is very unlikely that InDesign is what you or she wants to use.

          • 2. Re: Question, Is InDesign the "correct" software to use to prepare a document for type setting?
            Buffmin1 Level 1

            Thank you John. I understand. I will have her read your reply. I just ddidn't want to point her in the wrong direction. Thank you again! Craig

            • 3. Re: Question, Is InDesign the "correct" software to use to prepare a document for type setting?
              Eugene Tyson Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              Would have been much more beneficial to get clarification from the publishers.

              • 4. Re: Question, Is InDesign the "correct" software to use to prepare a document for type setting?
                Buffmin1 Level 1

                Thanks  Eugene. I will have her read this and do just that. Thank you for your input.Buffmin

                • 5. Re: Question, Is InDesign the "correct" software to use to prepare a document for type setting?
                  Grant H Level 4

                  Buff: if your sister is having her manuscript handled by a publisher (versus self published) they must have it edited, set, and layed out etc.

                   

                  G

                  • 6. Re: Question, Is InDesign the "correct" software to use to prepare a document for type setting?
                    Buffmin1 Level 1

                    THank you for your prompt and helpful response.  This is Buffmin's sister.  The publisher in question does furnish an online author's guide re formatting, but it's very basic, and when some of the material needs special formatting - say, a particular liturgy from a prayer book - it just doesn't cover that.  I have written the publisher - no answer yet - and I have a copy of the Chicago Manual of Style, which they use, and which is about the worst style manual I have worked with. I will have to keep bugging the publisher.  All this business of typesetter's tags and so on is new to me.  I appreciate your help.

                    • 7. Re: Question, Is InDesign the "correct" software to use to prepare a document for type setting?
                      Grant H Level 4

                      um: just to be clear... this is to be a printed book..?

                       

                      G

                      • 9. Re: Question, Is InDesign the "correct" software to use to prepare a document for type setting?
                        Eugene Tyson Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                        What exactly is your role here? Are you the author of the book? Or are you designing the book from supplied files? Or are you doing both?

                        • 10. Re: Question, Is InDesign the "correct" software to use to prepare a document for type setting?
                          Grant H Level 4

                          if the publisher is willing to print your book, and take a huge chunk in profits, and they are worth there salt then sent them the word file that is easily legible and reasonably well presented. Print out a copy with any anotations/ comments. They must then edit and design.

                           

                          G

                          • 11. Re: Question, Is InDesign the "correct" software to use to prepare a document for type setting?
                            Buffmin1 Level 1

                            I am the author of the book.  I have been assigned an editor, but I have to prepare the book for typesetting according to the publisher's (Wipf and Stock) guidelines: remove formatting, all text flush left, insert tyesetting tags (insert table, numbered list follows, etc)., footnotes and bibliography in CMOS style, and so on.  Apparently all publishers have similar guidelines on how to prepare manuscripts for publication.

                            • 12. Re: Question, Is InDesign the "correct" software to use to prepare a document for type setting?
                              Eugene Tyson Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                              Seems like you need to talk to the publisher about what is required exactly, what file format files are normally sent in and what program most people use to do it.

                              • 13. Re: Question, Is InDesign the "correct" software to use to prepare a document for type setting?
                                TᴀW Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                Based on the question in the title of this thread, and your last post (I

                                haven't read all the intervening posts in detail), the answer is no.

                                InDesign is completely unnecessary. The publishers just want you to

                                prepare the typescript in Word for submission, doing the things you

                                said. They can't possibly expect all authors to purchase and learn how

                                to use InDesign just for the sake of submitting a typescript. Most

                                authors don't even know how to use Word properly.

                                 

                                Ariel

                                • 15. Re: Question, Is InDesign the "correct" software to use to prepare a document for type setting?
                                  John Hawkinson Level 5

                                  Just a few more notes:

                                   

                                  The publisher in question does furnish an online author's guide re formatting, but it's very basic, and when some of the material needs special formatting - say, a particular liturgy from a prayer book - it just doesn't cover that. 

                                  As you've noted, historically publishers have wanted completely unformatted text ("remove formatting, all text flush left") that often feel counterintuitive. It is usually for two reasons, first that they bring your text into an in-house typesetting system where the formatting does not carry over, so they don't want you to say things like "But I made the text CENTERED!" because all that information gets lost in the conversion. Secondly, because their book designers may differ with you on how the book should look, either in technical implementatino or simply process to get there.

                                   

                                  To some extent this is a historical anachronism. Publishing systems that have no way to bring in external formattting are less common than they used to be, though the on-paper requirements may still be around.

                                   

                                  So if there really is a substantial incidence of special formatting, then you probably want to talk to your publisher's prepress department about it, because there's probably some middle ground that doesn't involve them re-doing all of your work laboriously. Ideally your editor should be able to handle all of this kind of communication for you, or at least putting you in touch with the right people. It sounds like that relationship is not working out. Not sure what to say, though if you have an agent, talk to your agent about it.

                                   

                                  Though you also say:

                                  I have a copy of the Chicago Manual of Style, which they use, and which is about the worst style manual I have worked with

                                  What do you have against CMOS? I love CMOS! It's comprehensive, clear, logical, and even fun to read. It's delightfully pragmatic. I do especially love "From our very first edition in 1906 we have stated very clearly that 'rules and regulations such as these, in the nature of the case, cannot be endowed with the fixity of rock-ribbed law. They are meant for the average case, and must be applied with a certain degree of elasticity.'"

                                  • 16. Re: Question, Is InDesign the "correct" software to use to prepare a document for type setting?
                                    Buffmin1 Level 1

                                    This is very helpful.  As I said, this is all new ground for me.  I will contact my editor and ask him.  Wish I had an agent, but getting an agent is about as difficult as getting a manuscript accepted.  I tried.

                                     

                                    As for my frustration with the CMOS - I thnk it may be because I am so used to using Turabian, which has more charts and examples and is more accomdating for for visually oriented people like me! 

                                     

                                    I was able to find a CMOS Crib Sheet website, which is helpful, and also CMOS online.  As well, I found a site called BibMe, which formats bibliographies - very helpful. 

                                     

                                    I get overwhelmed at times at trying to figure out which is subheading A, B and so on.

                                    • 17. Re: Question, Is InDesign the "correct" software to use to prepare a document for type setting?
                                      John Hawkinson Level 5

                                      This is very helpful.  As I said, this is all new ground for me.  I will contact my editor and ask him.  Wish I had an agent, but getting an agent is about as difficult as getting a manuscript accepted.  I tried.

                                      This is emphatically not my area, but as I understand it, the magic words to getting an agent are, "I've just had a manuscript accepted by Major Publisher, would you be interested in representing me?" It's not clear from your language above whether you've tried that. If so, well, sorry for the redundant advice.

                                       

                                      Ideally, that cuts through the whole querying process. But again, I'm not an expert on this, and not a commercially published long-form writer (nor an aspiring one).

                                      • 18. Re: Question, Is InDesign the "correct" software to use to prepare a document for type setting?
                                        Michael Gianino Level 4

                                        For what it's worth, I used to work for a publisher, and in my exerience, lots of authors did things that they though were lightening the load for us (the publisher), but usually involved us undoing many of their helpful steps. Here are a few things that might make them like you a bit more (some may sound kinda dumb, but I've seen them all):

                                         

                                        1. End a paragraph with a paragraph return. That sounds pretty logical, but I've seen people use a whole string of tabs or spaces in order to get the cursor down to the next line.
                                        2. If you're old like me (which I'm sure you're not…looking all fine the way you do), you learned to type on a typewriter, where they taught us to use two spaces after a period. That was a quirk of the typewriter, and modern typesetting doesn't require it (in fact, it's discouraged).
                                        3. If you want to set up a table-like set of columns, set tab stops and use one tab for each, rather than hitting the tab key until it jumps over to the correct column.
                                        4. If you want an indent on your paragraphs, set it with a paragraph attribute, or just indicate it somewhere that you want it that way. Hitting five spaces or a tab before each paragraph is kind of a pain to deal with.
                                        5. Likewise, if you want space between paragraphs, use a space-after paragraph attribute (or just tell the publisher) instead of two paragraph returns.
                                        6. If you want things to start at the top of a page, include some text like PAGE BREAK HERE instead of a bunch of returns. When the text gets imported into the page layout program (probably InDesign), it  won't flow exactly like it does in Word.
                                        7. Don't jump through a bunch of hoops trying to get it to look a particular way on the screen for the same reason as #6. If there is something you want, just put it in a note, or deal with it in the proofing process.

                                         

                                        There are probably lots more things that I can't think of right now, but it's time to go home now, so I'll leave it there. Good luck.

                                        • 19. Re: Question, Is InDesign the "correct" software to use to prepare a document for type setting?
                                          Eugene Tyson Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                          Another quick one, if you are tabbing out something like something for accounts. Don't use two tabs. Setup correct tab stops where you want them, and only use another tab if you have to.

                                           

                                          I get a lot of book publishing jobs from authors and here's a quick checklist I do before starting.

                                           

                                          Run script to apply character styles to bold, italic, bold italic, superscript, subscript etc. (massive time saver)

                                          Find and replace all double paragraph returns

                                          Find and replace all double or more spaces

                                          Find and replace all double or more tabs

                                          Find and replace all instances where a en or em dash should be used

                                          Run Spell Check

                                          • 20. Re: Question, Is InDesign the "correct" software to use to prepare a document for type setting?
                                            Buffmin1 Level 1

                                            Many thanks.  This is very helpful.  I appreciate your taking the time to reply.

                                            • 21. Re: Question, Is InDesign the "correct" software to use to prepare a document for type setting?
                                              Buffmin1 Level 1

                                              Thank you.  This is extremely helpful.  Are you aware of any books on the subject that might be helpful for a novice such as myself?

                                              • 22. Re: Question, Is InDesign the "correct" software to use to prepare a document for type setting?
                                                BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                                                There is no need to reply to everyone with the same thing. All email replies go right to the web.

                                                 

                                                Here are my top two recommendations for InDesign newbies:

                                                 

                                                1. Sandee Cohen's Visual Quick Start Guide: http://amzn.to/zKrlYd

                                                2. Lynda.com. This link will get you a free one week trial: http://bit.ly/fcGpiI

                                                 

                                                Hope that helps,

                                                 

                                                Bob

                                                • 23. Re: Question, Is InDesign the "correct" software to use to prepare a document for type setting?
                                                  John Hawkinson Level 5

                                                  Bob:

                                                  Here are my top two recommendations for InDesign newbies

                                                  Err, that's not Buffmin1's sister's question.

                                                  We've established that she should not be using InDesign -- her question is really, "What should I do and not do in Word to make things easier for my Publisher."

                                                   

                                                  Buffmin*:I can't recommend any books on this, but I would be pretty wary of any specific advice. This stuff can vary hugely from publisher to publisher.

                                                  For instance, while Michael's recommendation of not using spaces to end paragraphs is universal, his suggestion of using the space-after attribute for paragraphs is not. If your file is processed in a way that formatting carries through, then fine. But if that formatting is stripped, the right people in the process may never see it.

                                                   

                                                  Don't go out and find a book that tells you something. It will surely tell you things that are wrong, or be silent on other things that matter. Find out from the source. Because the answers are not the same everywhere.

                                                  • 24. Re: Question, Is InDesign the "correct" software to use to prepare a document for type setting?
                                                    BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                                                    Ah…the problem with email. I suppose I should pop back into the forums once in a while.

                                                     

                                                     

                                                     

                                                    Bob

                                                    • 26. Re: Question, Is InDesign the "correct" software to use to prepare a document for type setting?
                                                      Michael Gianino Level 4

                                                      John Hawkinson wrote:

                                                      …using the space-after attribute for paragraphs is not.

                                                      You sure you want to stick by that statement? If the publisher wants space between paragraphs, that's exactly how they're going to do it. Why make them take out double paragraph returns? If they don't want space after, they would have to take out the double returns anyway, and if they do want it, how is having two paragraphs separated by a single paragraph return going to cause any trouble at all?

                                                      John Hawkinson wrote:

                                                       

                                                      But if that formatting is stripped, the right people in the process may never see it.

                                                      In almost nine years working for a publisher, I never saw a book go straight from the author to the presses without the author seeing at least one proof, and usually several. If the typesetter misses something because formatting was stripped away, the author and probably the editor will also be able to catch a mistake. And I always got something to look at for reference while I was typesetting a book. Many times it was a printout from the author, but sometimes it was a PDF, but either way, I could see the author's intention.

                                                      • 27. Re: Question, Is InDesign the "correct" software to use to prepare a document for type setting?
                                                        John Hawkinson Level 5

                                                        I think we're past the point of redeeming utility here, Michael, but:

                                                        …using the space-after attribute for paragraphs is not.

                                                        You sure you want to stick by that statement? If the publisher wants space between paragraphs, that's exactly how they're going to do it. Why make them take out double paragraph returns? If they don't want space after, they would have to take out the double returns anyway, and if they do want it, how is having two paragraphs separated by a single paragraph return going to cause any trouble at all?

                                                        I stick with it but only because of the following sentence which you quoted seperately later; using space-after is not universal "if that formatting is stripped."

                                                        There are all manner of workflows, many of them bad, where paragraph styling attributes get stripped out. So, if, for instance, all space-after is reset to 1 ex-height, anything the submitter applies in that attribute is lost.

                                                        When the submission guidelines say "remove formatting," that doesn't mean "remove formatting, but it's OK to use space-after." There are surely workflows where that's true, but plenty where it isn't. We're not in a sufficient position to know, so we had best not make such chancy recommendations.

                                                         

                                                        Remember, too, that this issue of how to format is not solely technical. It is to some extent political and about retaining control of the look of the book.

                                                         

                                                        You go on to note:

                                                        In almost nine years working for a publisher, I never saw a book go straight from the author to the presses without the author seeing at least one proof, and usually several. If the typesetter misses something because formatting was stripped away, the author and probably the editor will also be able to catch a mistake.

                                                        Apparently I was unclear. When I said the right people may never see the formatting, I meant they may never see it from examination of the digital file. Any other way they learn about it is obviously irrelevant to the questions presented in this thread.

                                                         

                                                        While I'm sure you haven't seen a book go to press without the author seeing galleys (I've heard of it happening though), I bet you can count a decidedly non-zero number of instances where the author wants many more changes than the publisher is willing to accomodate. Either because there is insufficient time, because the author is giving an allotted number of changes and they are over that, because the nature of the changes is too difficult or extensive, or there is bad communication. Of course, I suppose a lot of changes like that might be nixed by the editor or someone else and never communicated to the typesetter ("The author wanted a lot more changes, but since we're not going to let you do them, I'm not going to tell you about them.").

                                                        • 28. Re: Question, Is InDesign the "correct" software to use to prepare a document for type setting?
                                                          Michael Gianino Level 4

                                                          The decision to have space between paragraphs in the final printed book will be made by the publisher, with some degree of input from the author (anywhere from "what ever the author wants" to "we're the publisher, and we know best" or some compromise in between). Whether or not the author ends each paragraph with two returns, the typesetter will use only one, and either have space after or not. I can't see an advantage to making the typesetter strip out extra returns.

                                                           

                                                          A comparison could be made to an author wanting an indent on each paragraph, and communicating that to the publisher by starting each one with a tab or five spaces. If the publisher wants an indent, they will use a paragraph attribute, and those tabs and spaces will need to be removed.

                                                          • 29. Re: Question, Is InDesign the "correct" software to use to prepare a document for type setting?
                                                            John Hawkinson Level 5

                                                            Michael, I'm not quite sure what you're trying to say.

                                                            My claim is that an author can't depend on "space after" formatting being preserved in the book, nor in the typesetter actually seeing that formatting, depending on the way the Word file is processed. I think you said you disagreed with that claim, but I don't see how or why. If you have special knowledge about what Buffmin1's sister's publisher does and how they handle this, of course that is different.

                                                             

                                                            We're not talking about the method the typesetter will use to accomplish these formatting appearances, so I don't see how your comparison is germane.

                                                            • 30. Re: Question, Is InDesign the "correct" software to use to prepare a document for type setting?
                                                              Michael Gianino Level 4

                                                              John Hawkinson wrote:

                                                               

                                                              Michael, I'm not quite sure what you're trying to say.

                                                              Two returns is a typewriter trick. It has no useful purpose in modern typesetting, and only causes extra work for the typesetter.

                                                              John Hawkinson wrote:

                                                               

                                                              My claim is that an author can't depend on "space after" formatting being preserved in the book…

                                                              I totally agree. It's also true that the author can't depend on a paragraph attribute in Word to indent new paragraphs will be preserved in the book if the Word doc is changed to plain text. If you think two returns are a good idea, then you should also believe that five spaces at the beginning of each paragraph should also be used.

                                                               

                                                              And what about headlines or subheads that need to be centered? Should the author space to the center of the page and hit the backspace key once for each two characters in the line?

                                                               

                                                              And what about hanging indents for bullet points or numbered lists? Should the author hit the return key at the end of each line with a tab at the start of the next until the hanging indent paragraph is complete?

                                                               

                                                              I could go on, but all of these things can be determined by the editor, typesetter, author, or some combination of the three in advance or while the book is being typeset, and all of these extra keystrokes that were necessary on the typewriter will need to be stripped away in the end. That's as clearly as I can say it. Agree or disagree if you like, but if you don't understand what I'm saying, you don't need to tell me again.

                                                              • 31. Re: Question, Is InDesign the "correct" software to use to prepare a document for type setting?
                                                                John Hawkinson Level 5

                                                                Michael:

                                                                Two returns is a typewriter trick. It has no useful purpose in modern typesetting, and only causes extra work for the typesetter.

                                                                Ah, I see the confusion. I am not advocating "two returns," but I am also not advocating use of "space after" without clear guidance that it is acceptable.

                                                                Unfortunately, if there are cases where space is required, then with the guidelines we have been given, viz. "remove formatting" and "insert typesetting tags," then the only recourse is to insert inline notes, "*INSERT 2 EM VERTICAL SPACE HERE*" and suchlike. No other way to achieve space after is compliant with the guidelines we have been given. (Yes, full compliance with such guidelines is a little bit ridiculous.)

                                                                And what about headlines or subheads that need to be centered? Should the author space to the center of the page and hit the backspace key once for each two characters in the line?

                                                                 

                                                                And what about hanging indents for bullet points or numbered lists? Should the author hit the return key at the end of each line with a tab at the start of the next until the hanging indent paragraph is complete?

                                                                You don't offer what you think the correct solution is. I'm left to intuit you think centering should be accomplished with the Word's Center feature and hanging indents with left indent and negative first-line indent.

                                                                 

                                                                I would say, again, that given the strict guidelines of "remove formatting," that those features, which are how the typesetter would accomplish it and how an experienced Word user would accomplish it are not acceptable to these guidelines. Instead,

                                                                the headings should be centered either with:

                                                                 

                                                                *CENTER:*

                                                                Heading One

                                                                 

                                                                or with a stylesheet prepended to the document that indicates how all headings should be formatted. Analagous solution for Hanging Indent.

                                                                 

                                                                Thanks for taking the time to clarify what you meant. I think that if I didn't understand you (which I did not!) on the first go 'round, there were likely many other readers in this thread who did not as well.

                                                                • 32. Re: Question, Is InDesign the "correct" software to use to prepare a document for type setting?
                                                                  Michael Gianino Level 4

                                                                  It has always been my opinion that people have their own expertise. If I were typesetting a law book, I wouldn't dream of telling the author that the Oklahoma vs. XYZ precident doesn't apply to product liability, because that's the author's specialty. And I would hope that the author would understand that a typesetter and editor who have made a career of publishing would know better about the particulars of typesetting than an author who may have just gotten Word the week they started writing the book. That said, if there is a house style, or if the book will be part of a series that includes other authors, there will be some formatting decisions made that the publisher will want to conform to.

                                                                   

                                                                  It is conceivable that the editor or typesetter will have chosen some basic styles that would be expected in a book (body, head, subhead, quote, caption, footnote/endnote, bullet/number, etc.) and that variations upon those styles may be necessary. Whether the author set space between to p9 or p16 doesn't really matter, because the typesetter will apply the body style and only change it if the decision is made to do so. I'm not sure how you misunderstood that I was advocating against double returns (see #5 of my first reply), but now that you do, we don't need to go on about it anymore. And whether it's better to indicate the author's preference in formatting by typing instructions into the body of the text document that will be placed in InDesign or to send a printout/PDF isn't that important either (as it will vary from one publisher to the next).

                                                                   

                                                                  So, as it turns out, we are more in agreement than not, but the words were getting in the way (maybe we can blame Gloria Estefan).

                                                                  • 33. Re: Question, Is InDesign the "correct" software to use to prepare a document for type setting?
                                                                    John Hawkinson Level 5

                                                                    Wow, this is an immensely frustrating conversation, but clearly waaaaaaaay off topic.

                                                                    Replied via private message.