Digital publishing:
Getting Started on Adobe InDesign Software (CS Version) on the Macintosh (NDSU clusters)
(By Ross Collins, Department of Communication, North Dakota State University.)

InDesign is the powerful (and expensive) layout program Adobe hopes will replace QuarkXPress, the dominant program of the newspaper business. Its integration with Illustrator and Photoshop offers designers a suite of the world's favorite publishing software. If you learn InDesign--and the learning curve is admittedly somewhat steep--you'll be able to adapt fairly easily to QuarkXPress, and with only a few more stumbles to PageMaker, Aldus's original "desktop publishing" program that began the revolution in the late 1980s. Adobe also offers that program, but hasn't updated in years, so it's clearly on the way out. But you still might encounter it at some commercial shops.

This is the "could-be-published-as-a-Dummy's-Guide" introduction, which we all probably need, whether we're computer-smug or not. However, it's a bare-bones introduction for the class. If you want to learn more (and you ought to!), buy a guide to InDesign. And yes, the "Dummies guide" isn't bad, although for designers not as thorough as some of the more serious guides.

Designer's note: You can find a complete video tutorial at (for a fee), and some tutorial videos at YouTube (for free).

InDesign is able to manipulate three graphic elements:
• type.
• line.
• shape, usually circles and rectangles.

It it's not set up to draw very well, or manipulate photos--although CS3 does offer some fairly handy tools to do that without having to buy Photoshop or Illustrator. Generally, though, you work in those programs and then import drawings and photos from other applications into your document.

Many commands described below can be found under a pull-down menu at the top of the screen, called the menu bar, but InDesign encourages us to work with its palettes, as described below. After you become used to using common commands, you'll work faster (and look more professional) by memorizing keystrokes to shortcut pull-down menus. Look at the menu item to see its corresponding keystroke command.

Note on the CS3 suite
CS3 has changed the palette structure of InDesign, and made a few other changes. Changes from CS2 will be indicated as necessary. Generally, terminology has changed; we now call palettes panels.They anchor in the dock at the right side of the workspace. The toolbox is still at the left, but is now a single row instead of double (you can change it to double by clicking on the double arrow at top) Click on panel icons to draw them open. Click on horizontal line icon at top right to see more options. Click on double arrows at top right to close, or click on new panel to automatically close other one. This all is pretty intuitive, really.

CS3 integrates all software in the suite. That includes just about everything you're going to want to use for design. The dock/panel system looks similar, whether you're in InDesign, Photoshop or Illustrator, and some of the pulldown menus at top have similar names. The Macinstosh version also includes some options under a pulldown with the name of the software. Preferences are included there.

Left-clicking the mouse on a PC is generally similar to Command-click (the apple key at bottom left) on the Macintosh.

To Begin
Insert your flash drive into an empty USB port. Just a handy first rule to remember, because you MUST save your work to your own disk. If you save it on the student desktop folder on the Hard Drive (the internal disk in the computer), someone is liable to come by later and throw it out. Make it a habit to SAVE OFTEN (memorize the Apple key+s keyboard shortcut); if the system goes down, you won't lose all your hard work. And while you're at it, you could spring for a NEW flash drive from the bookstore. You'd be surprised at what some students try popping into a computer directly from--what?--the cat box? Yuk. Alternative: email your documents to yourself as attachments. Good way to archive your work, unless the file is too large for your email provider. NDSU's max is about 10 megs, and InDesign files tend to get large.

Assuming you've logged into the system (using your e-mail name and password), double-click on the hard drive icon. Open the Applications folder by double-clicking, the printing and graphics folder, then InDesign... you get the idea? Macintosh calls subdirectories folders, a metaphor for what I have too many of in my file cabinets.

Let's get started
The InDesign application iconwill appear on the dock at the bottom of the screen. You can multi-task, that is, move between programs, by single-clicking on them from the dock. You know what program is active by looking at the name on the top left menu bar. You can also change applications by clicking on an open window in back of the one that's active.

Let's repeat that: look to the UPPER LEFT corner to see what program you have active. InDesign doesn't show you any documents until you create or open one, so don't shoot up your hand to say, "duh, I opened InDesign, and nothin' happened!" You can also move windows around to see what's behind them. Drag your cursor on the bars at the top of a window. The toggles at upper left minimizes, maximizes, or closes your document. You can also drag on the lower right corner to change the window's size, or at the top bar to move it around the screen. If you're not used to the way windows work in the Macintosh system, experiment before moving on, or you'll spend pointless time in frustration trying to create something in InDesign when it's not active.

InDesign Preferences.Preferences
You can set some default choices before opening a new document. This is handy, because then you won't have to re-set each time you start something new. Working in InDesign, from the InDesign pull-down menu (Macintosh) at left, choose Preferences, and General or Text. Toggle on "typographer's quotes," if not chosen by default. (A toggled choice goes on and off at each mouse click.) Almost all published documents should be prepared using professional ("curly-cue") quote marks, and not the "rabbit ear" straight marks a typewriter would use. (I know this document uses rabbit ear quotes, but I can't help it: it's web text.) Under Units and Increments, choose Picas for vertical and horizontal rulers. Graphic designers and printers usually work in picas, not inches or centimeters, for obscure historic reasons. Who are we to argue with tradition? (Well, okay, we've dumped most every other tradition in publishing this past decade, but measurement systems change slowly....)

Choose the File pull-down menu, and hold the button down to highlight choices. This is called dragging, doncha' know. To keep the pull-down menu open, click on it instead of dragging. (Choices in grayed-out type are not current options.) Drag the arrow to choose New. (Open opens a document you've previously saved in InDesign.) As a shortcut, skip the menu and use keystroke command Apple+n. Try to memorize the keystroke alternatives that accompany pull-down choices. They save lots of time, and you'll look oh, so professional.

Defaults and Documents
You'll first be asked what page setup you'd like. Normally the default setup is letter size (eight and one-half inches by eleven inches), Tall format, one page. Change elements as you need to, either by typing in the boxes, or scrolling among the arrows. You may also double click to highlight the box, then just type in the new information. To move from box to box, you can shortcut with the Tab key (Shift-Tab to move backwards), or click with the mouse. Any menu command followed by three dots (ellipses) opens to a Dialogue Box like the one described above. This allows you to make choices regarding your document. After opening your new document, open a few dialogue boxes from pull-down menus to see available choices.

Decide which View (pull-down menu) you'll be working in, that is, how big your document shows on the screen. Or try the Zoom Tool at bottom right of toolbox (looks like a lollipop). The + sign zooms in; hold down the Option key and the - sign zooms out. Usually you'll work in Actual Size view so that you can easily read the type. Fit Page in Window gives you the overall view. Entire Pasteboard gives you a view with workspace around it--sort of like a real desktop. From the Layout menu choose Margins and Columns. Margins sets up white space around your page, Columns sets up your grid, and Gutters sets up the amount of space between columns. Choose number of columns, and space between columns. Experiment.Moving from page to page, adding pages: If you're setting up a multi-page document, move from page to page by double-clicking on the Pages palette. Or choose a page number from the bottom menu bar. Or Drag on the right-side scroll bar. Or..., well, InDesign gives you 'way too many ways to do most everything. To add more pages (or delete some), choose the Insert Page option from the flyout menu, available at the right arrow of the Pages palette.

The Undo Command
Oops. In the real world we can't turn back time, much as we'd like to. You'll never erase the stigma of giving a subscription to Sports Illustrated to your mom for Mother's Day. But in the digital world of InDesign, you need only to press Apple-z. Or choose the Undo option from the Edit menu. Keep undoing as far as you want (up to RAM memory capacity). If you always kinda liked amusing yourself running video backwards, press and hold down Apple-z. All your work comes undone. Don't worry. You can choose Redo from the Edit menu to take it all back again.

Your Pasteboard and Toolbox
Maybe I can find a dozen ways to move around a document page in InDesign. Here are some common ones:
1. Use the scroll bars on the sides of the screen to move around the document (place arrow in box and drag, click on top/bottom arrows, or click on the scroll bar itself).

2. Choose the cute li'l hand tool; drag around the document.

3. Use the Navigator Panel (Choose Window pulldown, Object & Layout, and Navigator). A cool InDesign tool, the palette offers you a miniature window of your entire pasteboard. (Let me see this.) Move the outline around to go where you want. You can also drag over and set the enlarge/reduce percentage as an alternative zoom tool, and change the size of the window with the slider bar.

Another zoom tool sits at the bottom left to the pasteboard, or use keyboard shortcuts. Really, InDesign provides an embarrassement of options. Do we really need six ways to move around a document? Do we really need this much choice in life? Well, anyway.

Note you have lots of blank space surrounding your document. This is the pasteboard. Graphic artists used to work on a real pasteboard to ready elements for pasting into a document. In InDesign, use the pasteboard to write headlines, draw boxes, or experiment with elements before dragging them into your document.

And now a word from the toolbox (left side):

• The selection (solid arrow) tool (upper left) chooses objects or frames in a document. When you choose a block of type by clicking on it, the frame "handles" will appear around the type. You can move the entire block, or draw on a handle corner to make the column wider or narrower. Try typing your name with the text tool described below, then experimenting with this feature. The direct selection (hollow arrow) tool selects paths in vector graphics or drawings you make yourself. Paths are lines that make up a shape. It also selects parts of objects you have grouped. We'll be covering this leter.

• The "T," type tool; it changes the arrow to an "I-beam." InDesign requires you to drag a text frame before submitting copy to it, so you just can't click the I-beam anywhere in a new document and start typing--much to the great consternation of all us old PageMaker or word processing software users out there. Drag the I-beam in the document to draw a frame. Doesn't matter what size--you can resize it later with the arrow tool, as noted above. Now type ("keyboard?") something.

To move a block of text, you need to drag the pointer tool in the center of the chosen block; dragging along the handles changes the size of the block. General note: before moving any object, you need to choose it first with the arrow tool. Before changing text attributes, you need to highlight the text with the text tool, or click the text tool anywhere in the text and choose Select All (Apple + a) from the Edit menu. Experiment with the I-beam. Again: before styling text you need to highlight it by dragging across it with the I-beam. Before moving type as a block, however, or moving any other element, you need to choose it with the pointer tool. Better read that again. You can't change anything without choosing it first!

• Other tools draw lines or shapes, and manipulate elements. Experiment. After drawing a shape, choose the arrow tool, and click on the shape. You'll see handles appear, looking like tiny boxes. You can drag in the center to move the shape, or drag on the boxes to change dimensions

Any shape tool object can become a text frame, a shape you can insert text into. The shapes in the toolbox with the X drawn in them are designed to be text frames, but nowadays that's a bit redundant. I just use the regular shape tools.

Guide Lines
InDesign sets up documents on a grid. You normally work with non-printing guide lines to center elements on the page. To explore this feature, choose your arrow tool, and move into the measurement rulers at the top or left of the document. From the rulers, drag guide lines into the document. (Use View, and Show Guides if you don't see 'em.) From the View menu, click on Snap to Guides (if not already chosen by default); elements on the page will automatically snap to a nearby guide for accuracy. These and many other menu choices are toggled. To turn them off, click on them again.

To delete a guide, click on it and Delete.

To set up guidelines for columns, go to the Layout pulldown, and choose Margins & Columns.

Bringing in Stories
You'll often need to bring in a story composed in a word-processing program, such as Microsoft Word, called placing in pagination programs. Choose Place (or Apple+d) from the File pull-down menu. Find the story by rummaging through the folders in the dialogue box: if it's on your disk, click on the Desktop button, find your disk by name, and click to open it. Then choose your document.

The pointer tool will turn into a little page icon; this is called a loaded cursor. Place it where you want the type, and click. The type will flow into the space; a frame is automatically built to house it. Alternatively, draw a frame first by dragging the cursor, or click with the arrow tool to choose an already-drawn frame; the Place command will pour the text into your selection.

Want to place some real text? Download the lorem ipsum practice file from the Principles of Design for Print class resources page. (To save web text or photos on Macintosh, hold down the Control key (lower left) and then hold down mouse button on the document you want to download.)

A tiny inverted red plus sign at the bottom right of the type block (the "out port") shows you have "overset" text--still more of the story to place. You can click on that plus sign to load the cursor again, and place the next column. Or you can drag the frame larger to hold more type. At the top left of your text frame is the in port. A plus sign here shows you have placed above the copy you see.

Drag handlebars to change the size of the frame, or drag the whole frame in the middle to move the text block. For you anal types out there, the cursor arrow keys will "nudge" selected text frame one point. Or 10 points if you hold the Shift key down.

Oops! Decide you don't want to Place after all? Click in the arrow tool again in the toolbox, and the "loaded cursor" will disappear. Or just choose Undo from Edit pulldown(Keyboard shortcut to memorize: Command-z).

Checking spelling: If you're an old PageMaker user like moi, you'll mourn InDesign's decision to no longer include the Edit Story function, a sort of mini-word processor ap. In fact, to type text into InDesign, you have to actually build a frame and type right on the document. The good news is you can still spell-check text: choose Spell Check from the Edit menu.

Printing a copy
You have to print to a PostScript laser printer capable of handling InDesign documents. Fortunately, your tech fee supports some excellent cluster laser printers, and they're free (to a limit). You don't get that at many other schools, so appreciate another of those wonderful services brought to you by your great land-grant university (for a tech and activity fee). Ahem. To print, choose that command from the File menu. We'll cover some of the dialogue box options later. You may have to choose a printer type from that window (PSPrinter), if one is not already chosen. The cluster printer may include special instructions for printing using InDesign; check for signs and notices.

After you're done working, you can leave InDesign by choosing Quit from the InDesign menu, far left on the menu bar. Note that on the Macintosh the red close button at top left will close the window, but leave the program open.
So, to recap:

  1. Open InDesign.
  2. Set Preferences.
  3. Open New Document.
  4. Choose Type Tool (big T).
  5. Draw text frame.
  6. Choose Select Tool (solid arrow)
  7. Select text frame (if necessary); adjust size by pulling on handlebars.
  8. Click in text block with Type Tool. Type in some words.
  9. Practice placing text: Download lorem ipsum file, save to your disk or hard drive. Yes, you can also copy the text and paste it into an InDesign text frame, but it's good practice to get used to the Place command, as your text will usually come to you as a Word file.
  10. Draw another text frame. Place the text in the frame

A note on PDF files
Printers more and more are asking editors and designers to submit PDF (Portable Document Format) files instead of "live" InDesign files, because they include fonts and illustrations. These files are attached to email messages, and are smaller than live files, so easier to mail. To export your file as PDF in InDesign:

  1. From File pull-down menu, choose Export
  2. At bottom of dialogue box, choose Adobe PDF Format (if not default); Save
  3. Leave the rest of the defaults as is, choose Export.

Beginning InDesign: Continuing On
Most of the time you'll want to set up a multi-page document, with certain features common to all pages. These may include a common grid, headers, footers, page numbers, etc. Instead of setting up each page separately, Master Pages offers you the opportunity to set up common elements.

Open a new document of at least two pages. Click on the Pages panel, and double-click "A-Master." Set up columns, by choosing Margins and Columns from the Layout menu. Try two columns, 2 picas between each column (gutter). Double-click to page one. The column guides are transferred, as is any text or other elements.

Don't forget to move out of Master Pages when you place elements on individual pages. Otherwise placements will be repeated throughout the document.

Note you can go from page to page by double clicking on a Page palette icon, clicking the arrows at the bottom, scrolling, or about a half dozen other ways.

More about InDesign Text
Usually you'll be bringing text into InDesign from a word processing program, using the Place command. If you want the text block wider or narrower, you need to drag the edges of handles. Lengthen or shorten the block by dragging on top or bottom window shades. Remember, the red plus sign at bottom right "out port" indicates that you have more text left to place. With the pointer tool, click on it to load your cursor again, and place in the next column, or move to the next page to place. When no more text is left to place, the plus sign disappears. If it is replaced by an arrow sign, that means threaded, but already placed, text continues to another block, column, or page.

Threaded Text
InDesign automatically keeps text together, in order, no matter how you place it. This handy feature keeps your text from turning to word mush (such as those newspaper columns by Cal Thomas, just kidding) as you manipulate it. Again, note that if you wish to shorten, say, the first column of two in threaded text, you drag the window shade shorter, and the text is pushed to the next column, and vice versa. To see how your text is threaded, choose Show Text Threads from the View menu. Unthread a block of text: click on the out port of the original text frame, and the "unthread icon" appears. Click again in the original frame and subsequent frame move back into the overset of the original frame.

For many future exercises, you'll need to repeat blocks of text or shapes. No need to place or draw more than once. For text, highlight, and choose Copy (Edit menu). For elements, click to choose and then Copy. This places the copied material on an invisible Clipboard. You can Paste it from the Clipboard as many times as you need to. The Clipboard holds your material as long as you want--even if you leave InDesign and move to another application, such as Microsoft Word. The Clipboard only has one "page," however: if you copy something else, the material copied previously is deleted. Warning: you can copy photos and illustrations from another application into InDesign, but what you get are low-resolution copies. That's usually undesirable. Better to use the Place command.

Styles in InDesign.Styles, the huge time-saver
I think the easiest way to do this is to Place a block of text, style it as you wish and, with the text highlighted, choose the Paragraph Style panel from the dock (or from the Windows pull-down, Type & Tables, and Paragraph Style). Choose the flyout menu (tiny page icon on right of panel) to choose New Style. (see illustration at right). Name the style as you wish, and okay. The text you highlighted will become that style. To change other attributes, choose options from left window. Now when you Place text, you merely Select All of it, or with the arrow tool select the frame, and choose your prepared style from the Paragraph panel.

You also can set up a style by choosing New Paragraph Style from the Paragraph flyout menu, working through the choices. Note: New Character Style (Character Style palette) will also set up your type, but for indentations and other paragraph changes you still have to bring up the Paragraph palette (so why not just use the Paragraph panel to begin with? I dunno either.) Character styles of imported MS Word documents may override your style choices. If so, Select All again, and while clicking on your prepared style, hold down the Option key.

Reverses, Fills and Wraps
Geezer designers who learned with X-acto knives, and light tables (like me) found Text Wrap to be one of the most exciting features of computerized pagination. In the old days, wrapping text around an illustration or box could be a genuine pain in the arse. InDesign made it as simple as water flowing around a rock in a stream--and metaphorically, that's what the wrap feature does.

Succeeding exercises may ask you to wrap text around a text frame or shape. Here's one way to do it.
To wrap around a text frame:
a. Draw a text frame or shape about the size you need for a pull quote or other text-based object. You can always change the size later. Type or copy and paste, or Place, your text into the frame.
b. Open the Text Wrap palette from Windows pull-down, Type & Tables, and Text Wrap (CS2) or Text Wrap directly from the Windows pull-down (CS3).
c. With the text frame chosen (frame edges showing), select the second (square box) text wrap icon. This wraps around a square shape. For a circle or other curved shape, choose the third rap icon.
d. Choose the stand-off (how close surrounding text is to the box) for all four sides. Try about 3 pts to start.
e. Create a border (box), around the text, if you want: with the text box chosen, select a rule from the Stroke palette.
Note: The stroke is put in under the blue frame line. To see the stroke, choose Hide Frame Edges from the Windows pull-down.

f. From the Text Frame Options dialogue box (under Object pull-down menu), adjust the Inset Spacing so that the type doesn’t touch your border, if necessary.
g. Drag your wrap into your copy. Important note: should you decide to put copy later inside that wrapped shape, you need change the wrap specifications to make it possible. Choose the text you wish to appear in the wrapped shape; choose Text Frame Options as above, and toggle on Ignore Text Wrap. Now drag the text inside the wrapped box.

Reverses and fills
A reverse turns a background black or a dark color, and the type, the color of the paper or a light color. You reverse type out of a filled object, such as a black or darkly-colored square or circle. To do so:

Reverse in InDesign.a. Choose text frame with arrow tool.
b. Choose the fill box at the bottom of your toolbox, or in the Color panel (Windows pull-down, and Color, if not shown on the dock). The fill box is the small box at upper left (hover your cursor over to identify). The fill box should already be chosen (appear in front of the stroke box, at lower right) if you've dragged over your type.
c. Open the Color panel. Choose the eyedropper in the white box, upper left of bottom color ramp. Or, to choose an actual color, open a the flyout menu at right, using CMYK color (for work to be published).

d. Choose black to fill the box.

Alternative: Choose black from the Swatches panel.

e. Any type in the text frame will seem to disappear. That's because it's now the same color as the box, black. You need tp reverse the type in the box. With Type tool, drag over the type in the reversed box. Or simply click the Type tool in the frame, and choose Select All (Apple + a)
f. Choose the Paper from Swatches panel, or white from Color panel
g. Turn off the color by clicking the "apply none" icon (square with red diagonal slash) in panel or bottom of toolbox.

• A word on the little boxes at the bottom of your toolbox or Swatches panel: The upper left box will fill type, boxes, or other items with a color or gradient. The lower right box ("stroke" box) will color lines and, in the case of type, outlines of letters. When you drag over type, the fill box should automatically come forward, allowing you to color the text (choose color options from the flyout menu in the color palette). If you change to the stroke box, it will color outlines.

Note: You may have a problem choosing the element, or the type. This is because InDesign places text and elements as if they were layers on a page. If one element, say a type block, is in front of the object, you will be able only to select the block. To bring other elements up or send them back, from the Object menu select Arrange, and Send to Back or Bring to Front.

Drop caps
Used to be hard to do this; with computerized pagination, it's absurdly easy. A drop or stick-up capital letter offers readers a "point of entry" or staring point to story, and a graphical flourish. Usually they are used at the beginning of a story, that large capital letter hanging into the paragraph (drop cap) or sticking up above (stick-up cap). To do a stick-up cap you need to create the letter in its own little text frame, delete the original first letter, add first-line space (Paragraph palette), and drag the new cap into it.

To create a drop cap, try the automatic drop cap feature, accessible from the Paragraph panel. Place your Text tool cursor anywhere in the paragraph you want the drop cap to appear in. Choose Drop Cap option at lower left, number of lines you want it to drop, and just the right of this option, number of characters affected. Sooooo easy.

If you choose to create the reverse in the pasteboard, you'll find you can't drag elements in as a whole: the type won't move when you drag the object, and vice versa. To group elements as a whole, drag a dotted line (marquee) around them with the pointer tool. Choose Group from the Element menu and drag them together.

A Final Note
Learning to manipulate elements in any computerized pagination program is a skill; anyone can do it with a manual and practice. The skill is only the beginning, however. Just as a photographer begins by learning how to adjust a camera, or a musician by learning the fingerings, a designer learns the software as just another tool to reach his or her creative goals. A very powerful one, true, but still only a tool. Without knowledge of design fundamentals, and without the creative spark that goes beyond classroom learning, what you'll get out of the machine won't communicate very well. It's easy to find evidence of that in a good share of publications produced today by any office with a computer and a laser printer.
What's more, tools change. Especially if they are run by computers. The InDesign software you use today has already gone through one version, and that's likely to continue. Of course, some shops don't use InDesign at all. While it is becoming a software of choice for designers, many publications, especially newspapers, use QuarkXpress. The venerable PageMaker, first computerized pagination software, still is popular. Other shops don't use Macintosh, but Windows. You won't be afraid of change if you know fundamentals. But if you know only "desktop publishing" (a phrase coined by Aldus Corporation), using InDesign 1.5, you may be inclined to resist changes that could make your knowledge obsolete. This is the value of learning history, philosophy and theory. This is the value of university education.

A Beginning Project
Create your own certificate or flyer! Way kewl. The point of this exercise is to help you learn to style text and place simple elements accurately on a page. Download a full-sized certificate for reference (PDF files). Note: pts.=points; p=picas.

Certificate sample.Create a certificate (for regular session students; summer session students can also do this for extra practice)
1. Create a New document (File menu). Choose Orientation: wide (horizontal, second icon). Click off Facing Pages, used for multi-page spreads. Specify six pica (one-inch) margins on all sides, one column.

2. Choose Snap to Guides, (View menu) if not already chosen. You may sometimes wish to turn these off for precise placement between notches on the ruler.

3. Under Preferences (InDesign menu), choose Picas for both vertical and horizontal in the Units and Increments option boxes and, from the Preferences and Text option box, Typographer's Quotes. Leave the other Preferences at their default settings.

4. Choose a Fit in Window (under View) or another view that allows you to see the entire document.

5. Bring in rules to guide your text placement. Bring in horizontal guides at about 15 picas, 20 picas, 27 picas and 38 picas, dragging them from the measuring scale at top. These will guide placement of each line of text.

6. Save your document to the desktop or student folder. If you plan on continuing work later, also save to your own flash drive. Name it "certificate" or another name that will make sense to you later, as the default "Untitled.indd" will not.

Designer Note: the file extension indd means an InDesign file. Macintosh does not require this file extension. PCs do.

7. Create a border. Choose the box tool from your toolbox and drag a box around the document borders. Choose the arrow tool to adjust the size later if you need to.

Designer Note: if the box tool isn't showing, click and hold the ellipse or polygon tool until the flyout menu appears, and drag the pointer to the correct tool. Note that all tools that include tiny arrows at the bottom right have other tools hidden in flyout menus.

Note: Alternatively you can create a border around the text box itself, using the basic guide instructions for text wrap.) The difference between the box tool and the text box is not much; the box tool automatically puts a stroke around the box, but both can contain text.

8. At the bottom of the tool box are the fill and stroke boxes: fill is upper left, stroke (line or rule) is bottom right. Choose stroke box, if not chosen by default. From the Stroke panel choose 10 pt, and type: thick-thin-thick. To better see the effect of your work, temporarily choose Hide Guides from the View menu.

9. Add headline type. Using text tool, drag a frame beginning at the baseline of the first rule (15 pica). Don't worry if it's not exactly the right size; you can adjust it later. With the text tool still chosen, from the Character palette, choose Choose Font: Garamond bold, New Century Schoolbook bold, or Didot, bold. Size (second box on left): 36 pts. Leading (second box on right): 36 pts. (set solid). Case (flyout menu from panel): Small Caps. Kerning (third box on left) Optical. From the Paragraph palatte, choose the align center icon.

Note: Most of these options are also available from the contextual menu at top.

Note about fonts: InDesign offers only styles available for a particular font. That means some display fonts will include only Regular, with no Bold or Italic options. You can't just bf (boldface) or ital (italicize) something, a Word or Dreamweaver feature.

9. Type: Certificate of Merit. (Note: alternatively, you can type first, drag over type to highlight, and choose make changes.)Draw frames on guides and keyboard in the rest of the type, laying each on the guide you already drew. Change Type Specs to 18 pt., no bf, Auto leading, no small caps. Position the text tool I-beam on each of the lines, and type:

The NDSU Department of Communication

Commends [space for your name]


Enrolling in Its Design for Print Course

10. Add a 1 pt. rule (line) for your signature (after Commends). Choose the Stroke tool from your toolbox, and drag a line along the guideline. With the line selected (little boxes or "handlebars" on the ends, choose the size from the Stroke panel (1 pt is default, unless you changed the defaults). 11. To help center the line, bring in vertical guidelines after the second letter in "Certificate" and before the second-to-last letter in "Merit."

12. Create a seal. Choose the ellipse (circle) tool. It may be behind the rectangle tool.

In the pasteboard, hold down the Shift key and drag the crossbar on the ellipse tool to make a circle about 11 picas in diameter. The Shift key constrains the tool to draw a circle instead of an oval. (If it still looks like an oval, choose and drag with pointer tool as necessary to adjust.) In the Stroke palette change Solid to the same thick-thin-thick line you used for the border, and thickness to 10 pt.

13. With the Circle still selected, choose the Swatches panel. Choose Black. Now change that to a 10 percent screen (tint): using the slider.
Drag the circle onto the bottom center of the certificate. Make sure it's perfectly centered; attention to detail is critical in quality publication design. You can zoom out to "eyeball" it for centering, or measure.

14. In the pasteboard, create a small frame using the text tool. Type NDSU. Drag the I-beam over to highlight, and choose about 18 pt.; change font as you think looks formal enough for this document, bf if you like. Align to center. Make sure it's centered! The eye can discern an object even slightly off center.

15. Using the pointer tool, click to select this type frame. Drag the type onto the seal. (Alternatively, write your type into the seal, instead of the pasteboard. But it's helpful to get used to working up objects in the pasteboard, and then dragging them into a document.

16. Review your work: is everything straight? Centered? Correct type style? Spelled correctly?

Check spelling: With type tool in text, Edit pull-down, Spelling, and Check Spelling.

17. Export as PDF file, if you wish. Print. Proofread! Sign your name. Hand in. Congratulations!

Copyright 2007 by Ross F. Collins <>