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Adobe InDesign Interface and Tools

Getting Started With InDesign Basics


Aimed primarily at new users, these tutorials introduce the work area and focus on the basics of identifying common tools, palettes, and fly-outs and how to use them. You'll also find other basic tutorials such as InDesign text effects and vector drawing basics. The videos and illustrated tutorials come from several sources including this site, vector tuts+, and Layers Magazine. Topics covered in this collection of InDesign tutorials include selection tools, frame tools, transform tools, zoom, and the gap tool. Unless otherwise specified, these tools are common to most versions of Adobe InDesign from CS2 to present although their appearance and placement may be different depending on the version you are using.

Also see these InDesign collections:
Best Tutorial Sources | Design Projects Start-to-Finish | Templates

1. Overview of InDesign Work Area, Menus, Palettes

InDesign Work area
Become familiar with the palettes & menus and how you can rearrange your InDesign work space.

2. Identifying and Using the InDesign Tools

Despite all its bells & whistles there are basic tools that you'll use over and over again.
Despite its bells & whistles there are basic tools that you'll use over and over again in InDesign.

3. Bevel and Emboss, Shadow & Glow Text Effects

Screenshot from Adobe InDesign CS4

From About.com. Very similar to the tools in Photoshop and Illustrator, you don't have to leave your page  layout program to dress up your headlines if you use the Bevel and Emboss effects or Drop Shadow, Inner Shadow, Outer Glow, or Inner Glow effects alone or in combination. This tutorial shows you how these effects work and some of the looks  you can achieve. 

4. Polygons and Stars in InDesign

Start with a polygon then let InDesign turn those basic shapes into all kinds of stars.

From About.com. Similar but less fancy than the shapes in Photoshop or Illustrator, you can still create some nice polygon shapes with Adobe InDesign. And once you understand the settings, it's easy to turn those polygons into all kinds of useful star shapes. This tutorial covers basic polygon frames and shapes, how to make stars, and how to do some simple manipulation of your stars to make them more interesting and useful. 

5. Drawing With Shapes in InDesign

Get groovy with simple shapes.

From About.com. No need to crank up Illustrator when you can do quite a bit of vector drawing right in Adobe InDesign. Create the illustration for a 60s-inspired ad layout using the shape tools and some simple editing. This tutorial shows you how to turn stars, rectangles, ellipses, and polygons into a lava lamp, flowers, and a simple map. 

6. Corner Effects in InDesign

Use the Corner Options dialog, an automated script, or the CS5/6 Live Effects to create all kinds of interesting shapes.

From About.com. Dress up the corners of your rectangles and polygons and create all kinds of interesting new shapes using the Corner Effects found in most versions of InDesign. This tutorial covers CS4 with notes on some of the changes that came along in CS5. 

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