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Adobe InDesign Basics Class

Free lessons for learning Adobe InDesign

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InDesign CS is Adobe page layout program. It was to be a re-write of PageMaker, Adobe's layout program which is now discontinued, but it then became a different layout program on its own. Adobe InDesign is now one of the most powerful layout programs for professional desktop publishers and graphic designers.
Although written for CS2/3, many of these basic tools will work much the same in newer editions of InDesign

Beginners or Basics Course
This is a free Adobe InDesign class for beginners, i.e., people who do not have much experience with InDesign and want to learn how to use this program. This InDesign class will give you the basics on which you can then develop further skills and become proficient at using this powerful layout program. Further articles will be written to develop some subjects that might need to be taken more in-depth.

Meet the Teacher
The bulk of the individual InDesign tutorials in this course are written by Elisabetta Bruno. Some lessons also refer to primary or supporting material written by Desktop Publishing Guide Jacci Howard Bear.

Two Different Worlds
One thing you may notice is that Elisabetta, uses British spellings such as colours and centre, while Jacci uses the American version of colors and center. Although she does a good job at it, Elisabetta is also not a native English speaker so you may find a few interesting turns of a phrase in her writing. Then again, Jacci speaks "Texan" which can be a bit non-standard as well.

Elisabetta uses metric measurements such as mm (milimeters) but the lessons also include comparable (if not exactly equal) measurements in inches and picas & points for those who are more comfortable using those measurement systems.

Learn the Terminology
In studying this course make sure you don't pass any word you do not fully understand. If there is a word you don't know or you are unsure of, make sure you fully clear it up.

Have you ever read through a whole page and then at the end of it you are totally blank about what you just read? That is because you have encountered a word that you did not fully understand and you didn't clear it up. If you were interested in a subject and all of a sudden your interest on that subject dropped, you most likely passed a word you did not fully understand.

To help you in studying this course there is a glossary to which you can refer anytime you like. If the term giving you trouble is not found in the glossary, please post an inquiry in the DTP Classroom. Not asking will only make completing the course more difficult.

How to Do Desktop Publishing
Many of the lessons of this course are based on Jacci's "How a Desktop Publishing Document is Created" class. While you study the principles of Desktop Publishing you will learn how to put them into practice with InDesign CS. This is a better way to learn the program because, instead of just learning how to "make something look cool" with InDesign, you will also learn why you need to use the certain tools and when. It is a good idea to read that supplemental material before you get into the "how to" of InDesign.

InDesign CS for Mac and Windows
Even though the illustrations you will see here show the Mac version of InDesign CS, these lessons will hold also for Windows users. Some icons might look slightly different, but you will be able to recognize them in either platform. Open InDesign when you study this course and actually go through the steps described so you don't get lost while you are studying. This course is written for Adobe InDesign CS. If you are using an earlier version of InDesign some menus will appear or act somewhat differently and some CS features may be unavailable in InDesign 1, 1.5, or 2.

Adobe InDesign Basics Course Outline
The following outline is subject to change. Only lessons currently online are linked. Bookmark this page and check back regularly as new lessons are added. The pages linked in this outline describe each individual lesson (which may consist of one or more tutorials) and how to navigate the lesson and may include an assignment to be completed and posted in the DTP Classroom for discussion.

  1. The Work Area, Tools, and Palettes
  2. How to Set Up a Document
  3. Working With Colour
  4. The Tools, Part 1
  5. The Tools, Part 2

This course will not be continued beyond Lesson 5 at this time. Watch the blog or sign up for the About.com Desktop Publishing newsletter for news on when all new tutorials are added.

Pick Your Path to Desktop Publishing
Get Started:Basic Guidelines and Requirements for Desktop Publishing
Choose Software:Desktop Publishing and Design Software
Make Something: Things to Make Using Desktop Publishing
Tips & Tutorials:How to Do Desktop Publishing
Training, Education, Jobs:Careers in Desktop Publishing
In the Classroom: Back to School With Desktop Publishing
Use Templates: Templates for Print and Web Publishing

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