I have assigned the creation of the index for my book to someone in a different household. We are trying to collaborate over DropBox. Is there any way we can work on the file at the same time? Can anyone advise me on how best to collaborate on an InDesign file? Is there something more suitable than DropBox?
You can certainly share a file on Dropbox. But there is no way to share an InDesign file in a multi-user mode. It's not designed for that. You'll just have to take turns opening and closing the file stored on Dropbox.
There are workflow that allow sharing stories for editing (using InCopy with InDesign) but not to keep the same file open at the same time.
you could make each chapter a different indesign document and bring it all together from the book panel. This would allow multiple people to work on different chapters/documents at the same time. However, one indesign document can't be open by two people at the same time to work on it.
Thank you, Steve and Jonathan! This is most helpful.
Due to a failure in communication, my colleague started creating the index based on an older version of the book. So now her most recent work on the index is in one file and my most recent work (designing additional pages) is in another file. Do you know how we might resolve this?
How are you generating your index? Digitally with InDesign? Or manually and then formatting text files to refelct your hand-generated index?
There are different answers, depending on how you're generating the index. If you could share a little more information about how you're building your index, it'd help us advise you of your options for generating/fixing/revising your index.
Hope this helps,
Thank you, Randy! My colleague is building the index digitally with InDesign (over 300 species of flora, fauna, and fungi with common, scientific, and Cree names). She has it set up so that if the page number for that entry changes, the index will update.
Okay. That helps a lot. At least on my end.
On yours, it's going to be a bit challenging. But not insurmountable.
The hardest part will be swallowing hard and having your colleague eliminate all the entries in your current index. And restarting from scratch — but not until the book is completely done. It stinks, but it's the only way to be sure. The issue stems from the fact that index entries are effectively inscrutable once they're done. The indexing process seems to go around in circles, but there's no closed loop.
When your colleague enters an index entry into an InDesign layout, it's invisible. There's an invisible character placed in the layout — place an index entry at the start of a word you've indexed, then hit your back cursor and you'll see you have to hit the key twice to get to the end of the previous word. It's there, but the index entry is entirely invisible in your layout.
You can see the entry, though, if you go to InDesign's Story Editor. You can see there's an index entry there. It shows up as a horizontal rectangle with a pattern in the middle. But you can't read what that entry is from there. The more complex the index, the more this is an issue; if you've indexed both Chrysanthemum and Flowers, Chrysanthemum you'll see two index entry boxes there, but you won't be able to tell which one is which.
To see what an index entry is, you'll have to open the Index panel and navigate your way to where it is in the topics, open it, and see what page it's on. But it doesn't highlight the entry in the Story Editor, and it'll still be invisible on the layout. Double-clicking the page reference to the topic opens the Page Reference Options dialog box, which lets you edit what text will appear for the entry when you generate the index, but doesn't let you see where it's located within the page or move it.
So as I said, it seems like everything's running in the right circles. But there's no continuous loop. Creating index entries will let you create a new index reference, but it can't let you see see which one is which. You can see the entries with InDesign's Story Editor, but you can't see what each entry actually is. Searching and re-entering the topics list will fix where there weren't entries before, but put double-entries where they already are.
If your copy of the files have no index entries, have your colleague work with your version of the files. It's got the current copy and is the latest version of the book. Your colleague will have only lost the time spent generating the index with an incomplete version of the book. If your copy of the files does have index entries already, you should both still work with your copy. But you should delete all the existing entries and start over from scratch when the book is completed. It's a tedious process, but indexing is best done when everything else for the book is completed.
It's a painful lesson, but having to do it over again to get things right is negative reinforcement that'll convince you all that you only want to do this once in the future.
Sorry. Wish I had better news. But I'd rather tell you the truth than lie to you,
The only way to be sure you're getting correct results is to delete the existing index
Thank you, Randy, for taking all this time to explain this to me. This is my first book project. It's quite a learning curve. I had read that it's best to wait until the book is done before starting on the index, but my colleague wanted to get started on it to figure it out. We'll chalk this up to learning the indexing feature. Your truthfulness has saved us a lot of grief! 🙂
My pleasure. For what it's worth, this is one of those lessons I learned from bad experience.
Fortunately, it was helping someone else with their issue, so I at least got compensated for it. But if I can help save anyone else the aggravation, I'm happy to help.
The good news, though, is your colleague got experience working with this already. So it'll go faster and better the second time than it did the first time. That's something ...
Good luck with your book. Be sure to enjoy the satisfaction of the job when it's finally done. There's little more satisfying than holding the finished product in your own hands.
Thanks, Randy! It sounds like you have experience in holding your own finished book in your hands. If so, Bravo! Mine is called "Mother Earth - Boreal Beauty of the Peace Country - with flora, fauna, and fungi ID". 'Tis a joyful collaboration with over 20 other photographers. I'm grateful for Adobe InDesign and for help along the way so we can share the wonder. 🙂