inDesign Cheat Sheet

Formatting Checklist

  • Photoshop
    • Images should all be sized correctly in Photoshop and then imported to inDesign (not imported and then sized). Resolution of those images should be determined by the printer you will be going to. (normally 100 dpi for screen and 300 dpi for print)
  • MS Word
    • Spell check (including names and work titles) first in
      Double-check spelling of all names.
    • Correct punctuation, Correct grammar
      Use Find+Replace tool, for example:

      • Find “, and” Replace with “and”
      • NO double spaces between sentences (use Find+Replace tool to check)
  • InDesign 

Converting Text from Mac to PC

  1. File>>Place>>
  2. In the Place Dialog box, check Show Import Options and click Open
  3. In the Import Options Dialog click platform and choose the platform that the text file was created on.
  4. Set Language to English, USA

Double click text frame to immediately change to the text tool.

Option double click to open a linked graphic in its original application.

Kern body copy (text) by simply going to the Character Palette and change the setting from metrics to optical. Always manually kern numbers and dashes found within text. Always kern headings or other forms of display type.

Align to Baseline Grid button at bottom of Paragraph palette will change leading of a selected paragraph to correspond to the spacing of the baseline grid.

Control Click (Mac) or right click on a two button mouse to access the Context Sensitive Menu. This means that depending on the tool you have at the time and what you click on you will call up different options for use in that particular context.

Use proper dashes (hyphen vs. en dash vs. em dash)

  • Hyphen (-): used to join words or names (i.e. Mary-Sue, right-click)
  • En dash (–)­: used to indicate a close range of values, dates, times or numbers (i.e. June–July, 1:00–2:00pm, 1999–2003)
    • Key command in InDesign: Option+Hyphen
  • Em dash (—): indicates a parenthetical thought—like this one—or some similar interpolation
    • Key command in InDesign: Option+Shift+Hyphen
  • Double-check formatting, capitalization and spacing (especially with poems!)
  • Apply graphic dingbat or some other visual indication of the end of the story to all stories (not poems) after last line of story
  • Apply diminuindo to the first line of text in the first paragraph of a story (not poems)
    • to indicate the begining
    • to bring the viewer from the strong visual presence of the heading to the less visually dynamic presence of the text in a gradual manner

Hanging Punctuation primarily refers to the correct positioning of opening quotation marks to the left of the left justified alignment of text that follows.

  • Type>>Story and turn on Optical Margin alignment.

To separate or split text into columns, first select the text box, then choose Object>>Text Frame Options. (do not highlight the text, simply select the text box or click in the paragraph).

Assign Drop Caps and Ruled Lines as a part of the Paragraph Styles Options.

Control Widows and Orphans through the Paragraph Styles Options.

A-Master (literary) – default layout to follow when importing literary work

B-Master (artwork) – default layout to follow when importing artwork

  • All pages in the layout template are currently set to A-Master.
  • To apply/switch Master pages: Select the page(s) you want to change and right-click. Select Apply Master to Pages, select the appropriate Master page you want, then click
  • To override ANY Master page elements: Select the page(s) you want to override and right-click. Select Override All Master Page Items. 

When to use Paragraph Styles: Use when formatting paragraphs

  • Drop cap paragraph: Use ONLY on the first paragraph of a story
  • Paragraph with no tabs: Use for poems only
  • Regular paragraph: Use for all stories, long or short. Apply to all paragraphs, excluding the first

When to use Character Styles: Use for formatting text.

  • 11pt Gill Sans Regular: This is the default font and size. You shouldn’t actually need to use this one at all (use Paragraph styles instead!), but it’s here just in case
  • 1st line of 1st paragraph: Use only for the first line of the first paragraph of a story
  • Artist/Author name: Use for the artist or author name
  • Title of Work: Use for the title of the work

To apply Paragraph and Character styles:

  • Select the paragraph(s) you want to format, then double-click the appropriate style you want to apply,
  • then click OK

How to Import a Word Document into the layout:

  • Override Master page elements (see instructions above)
  • Select and delete all the “placeholder text” inside the textboxes
  • With the textbox empty and still selected, go to File>Place, select the Word Document you want to import,
  • and click OK
  • Text should automatically appear into the layout. Format as needed. 

How to insert an image or artwork piece:

  • Use the Rectangle Frame tool (looks like rectangle with an X inside) and create a box that you want your image to go inside. It should be the exact size you want your image to be.
  • File>Place… and browse to find your image file
  • Your image will be placed in your Rectangle Frame. To resize it, use the white arrow tool and shift key to keep the same proportions.

How to create a Table of Contents (TOC) in inDesign