Wednesday afternoon I’ll be delivering a session at Adobe MAX 2009 about using InDesign to layout and design ebooks. The session will cover some ebook basics including readers and then will cover how to use InDesign to effectively layout and style a document for both print output and reflowing design for ebooks. Then I’ll cover how to use the file for a number of hardware and software readers and finally converting for use on the Amazon Kindle.
The overall workflow hinges on a strong use of styles to create structured flow of text through your document. When working with graphics in a layout this means converting them to inline or anchored objects so that they’re part of the flow of your story. This is the important technique when designing for ebook output. Once I get an export to Digital Editions (ePub format) I can convert the file pretty easily into a number of formats including mobi-and this is what works on Kindle.
The “slides” for the session were built using InDesign then exported to epub for use in Digital Editions or on many Sony eReaders; then the epub was converted to mobi for use on Kindle. You’ll find links below for downloading these files for reference or experimentation. There are a number of links inside the files to additional resources from many resources, they’re well worth taking a look at.
I’m told my session will be recorded and the recording will be available for viewing soon.
Hope this is of interest.
As many of you have probably noticed by now, the Contact Sheet Script that automates Bridge and InDesign together is no longer available in CS4. I don’t know the backstory, but I’m sure it’s long and hairy, so let’s just jump to the good news…there’s a replacement!
Last fall, I contributed to an interesting new book called Instant InDesign by Gabriel Powell. I guess I have a soft spot for “niche” books that I believe more people should read (GoLive, InCopy, etc.). Anyway, this book is unique in that it focuses on how to use InDesign to build really awesome templates that take a bit more time up front but will save you a TON of time in the long term.
If you’re interested in saving time and working more efficiently with InDesign you really should check it out. And now there’s even more incentive with Gabriel’s new podcasts at http://www.instantindesign.com/. The book and the podcasts make a great combination!
The new FrameMaker-to-InDesign conversion filter from DTP Tools has been in beta for a while, and the shipping version is finally here! The product details page does a great job enumerating the conversion options, and it’s worth a look to see just how comprehensive this plug-in is.
The filter is even capable of converting text variables, complex tables, and numbered lists. If you also use their Cross-References plug-in for InDesign then cross-references from FrameMaker are also converted.
Just last week I met with a customer who is interested in converting some existing documents from FrameMaker to InDesign and this new plug-in should help a lot if that’s the direction you’re headed. Possibly the most interesting this about this plug-in is the pricing model. Instead of paying a specific license fee, yo only pay for how much you use and only when you’re satisfied with the conversion results. That’s right, you can download and use the plug-in for free and test the conversion results for yourself. When you’re happy with the results you can purchase usage credits and save the new InDesign files!
I’ve had a behind-the-scenes sneak peek on the development of this new plug-in and DTP Tools has done a great job with their Layer Comps plug-in for InDesign. If you’ve ever used the Layer Comps feature introduced back in Photoshop CS then you’ll know exactly how this plug-in works in InDesign.
Lots of folks will get good mileage out of layer comps for InDesign, and I suspect folks doing lots of design variations for ads, circulars and magazines with regional variations will love it the most. A few tidbits from their press release that sum it up better than I can:
- Layer Comps allows to save different settings of layer visibility, lock state, order, printability, guide visibility and lock state.
- Comps can be also exported into all formats supported by InDesign. You can export a single comp into .inx as a snapshot or multiple comps into PDF to show your clients layout alternatives.
- All documents created with the Layer Comps can still be opened and edited without this plug-in. The layer settings will remain the same.
Everybody who enjoys the copious amount of tweaking necessary to make tabular data look beautiful in a page layout application, please raise your hand. If your hand is up, skip to John Nack’s blog.
Everybody else, read on, because I’m about to show you how to make short work of formatting tables in InDesign CS3. In fact, we’ll do it in less than 30 seconds.
They’re popping up everywhere, and the newest one’s in Indianapolis, Indiana. Noha Edell (presenter extraordinaire) from Adobe will be there on April 24, 2007 to shows off CS3, and it’s a great way to network with other designers in the area. The meeting starts at 6:30PM, runs until 9PM and the location is:
Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance
225 South East Street
Indianapolis, In 46202
Get more details and sign up online. Enjoy!
No, that title is NOT a typo. One of the coolest new features of InDesign CS3 is the ability to place InDesign documents (INDD) inside other InDesign documents. I think it will take folks a while to get their heads wrapped around that one, but I can’t wait to see how folks end up using it. Lots of collaboration possibilities come to mind, but let us know what comes to mind for you.
In the meantime, I’ve been doing some testing and conferring with the InDesign team and I’ve dug up a few nuggets that should help you get acclimated to the possibilities:
1. InDesign CS3 can be used to place any version of InDesign document, all the way back to version 1.0.
2. Some folks are freaked out by this possibility and they want to know how to turn it off. Well, for better or worse, the same import filter that enables the placement of InDesign documents also enables the placement of EPS files. I really don’t think you want to be turnin’ that one off.
3. If you want to edit the original InDesign layout, just Option/Alt-double-click to edit the original layout in InDesign. The placed INDD looks great in the layout, but you cannot edit the individual pieces. If you need that functionality then I recommend an old standard: Copy and Paste.
There’s more where this came from, but in the meantime, how do you imagine using this new capability?
I’m getting caught up from the flood of Macworld, and I wanted to highlight a few gems I found at the show. My first discovery of the week was a new PDF to InDesign conversion plug-in from Recosoft. They were demoing the plug-in live on the show floor and I was impressed with the results. The plug-in runs inside InDesign and converts a PDF into an editable InDesign layout. The conversion results will of course be constrained by how the original document was designed and how the PDf was created, but even their beta build showed off quite well.
In a perfect world, you would always have access to all original source files. In lieu of perfection, this new plug-in might save your butt. Recosoft says they’ll ship this plug-in in Q2 2007 for Mac and Windows users.
So I’m curious, have any of you needed a solution like this? Anxious to get your hands on this plug-in?