How to Design Efficiently in Adobe InDesign

Books, magazines and other collateral with a large amounts of text would probably take years to design if it we didn’t have Adobe InDesign. 😳  Okay, maybe not years…but it would definitely be time consuming and a lot more challenging to keep things consistent. Fortunately, the program has a variety of tools to help make our job a little bit easier. Read on to learn how you can design efficiently in Adobe InDesign.


Be one with the Master
Repetitive elements like page numbers and headlines, can applied to an entire document quickly and easily in Adobe InDesign. The program has master pages, which are basically pages that act as a model for all the other pages you want to assign to it. For example, if you have a page number in the upper right corner of your A-Master, any page marked “A” will have a page number in the exact same place. If you decide you want all the page numbers to be letters located in the bottom left corner instead, simply adjust your A-Master and all the other pages will change automatically. Needless to say, using Adobe InDesign’s master pages can drastically speed up your workflow.


Get your grids together
The program has two grid options – a baseline grid (similar to notebook paper) and a document grid (similar to graph paper). There are also options for customizing the margins and columns, aligning grids to the margins or page, and dragging and dropping ruler guides. The layout possibilities are infinite and establishing grids before starting a project can help you design efficiently in Adobe InDesign.


Toggle your view
Sometimes it can be helpful to see your work with a new perspective. In Adobe InDesign there are five modes to choose from: normal, preview, bleed, slug and presentation. Normal is the mode you’ll want to use when creating your design. It allows you to see grids, guides and other non-printing objects while you work. Preview shows a more refined version of your work, without all the non-printing elements. A similar view is displayed for bleed and slug mode, but they both show their specified printing element (bleed or slug area). Lastly, presentation mode presents your designs as if it were a presentation. The menus and tool bars disappear and the display takes up the entire screen. This is a great mode to use when showing work to client so they can see exactly what the finish product will look like.


Take advantage of the alignment tool
Just like in Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Indesign has an alignment tool that saves you the trouble of straightening elements manually. You can align, distribute and center objects in relation to the page, margins, spread and/or other surrounding elements at the click of a button. Using the alignment tool is not only super cool (see what I did there?😎 ) but it also helps your design look neat and clean.


The 🔑 to designing more efficiently in Adobe InDesign. Click To Tweet


Flow your text
Adobe InDesign can be a real lifesaver when designing with large bodies of text. Not only does the program alert you when you have overset text, (that’s when that tiny, little red box appears at the bottom corner of your text box) but it also allows you to flow text across multiple text boxes. With everything connected, any changes you make to one text box will automatically update the rest. Adobe InDesign’s text flow feature allows you to make text edits much more efficiently and spares you the trouble of manually adjusting text to reflect your changes.


Set your styles
Formatting text using text styles is another way to design efficiently in Adobe InDesign because you can update all your text at one time. Character styles are a set of formatting attributes that can be applied to a selected group of text. They basically work like master pages and make it easier to keep things consistent. When you update attributes like font size and color using character styles, any text with that style will update automatically – regardless of where it’s placed at in your document. Paragraph styles function the same way, except these styles can be applied to entire text boxes and offer a few more customizing options than character styles.


Keep your links connected
Placing in your files as oppose to copying and pasting will help you work faster in Adobe InDesign.  When files are placed in a document, they become “linked” and the program keeps track of its file path. This way, whenever you make changes to your outsourced files, your Indesign file will automatically update.


Now download the shortcuts infographic and let me know how you design efficiently in Adobe InDesign!



Ariana Nicole
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