Hello, looking for some guidance on best practices for creating a book with InDesign. I have used the book feature in the past, but we ran into quite a few issues so I'm hoping for a smoother process this time around.
The book has many chapters. Chapter 1 is the only file that currently exists, and it's going to be the source file for styles. My current plan is to create all of the individual chapter files first, leave them empty, add them to the book file, synch styles, and then proceed to work on each chapter? Is that the way to go? I honestly don't know how else you could go about but looking for any confirmation that I am setting myself up for a successful workflow..
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It's flexible. Personally, I complete the first chapter and get it signed off by the client. Once they agree to the file specs (paper size, margins/columns, running heads, fonts, tables, graphic handling, etc), I use that file as the template for the future chapters. (Open Chapter 1, remove content, save as a new name.) I use styles for absolutely everything—paragraph, character, object (frames), table and cell styles.
I also set up the TOC pretty early (one or two chapters in) so that I know that it is working as expected.
From there, I just work through the remaining chapters, adding them to the book at the end of each day, and updating the TOC as I go. I'm always on the lookout for issues—and the quicker I find them, the quicker I can address them. I don't want to wait to the end to realize by TOC won't work the way I thought it would, for example.
InDesign is flexible though, so you may come up with a different workflow and be equally successful. And do remember that InDesign books have a syncing function, so if someone suddenly changes the body text font to something besides what was agreed on at the beginning, you can change it in one file and then sync to the others.
Hi Barb, thank you so much for your helpful response. So we currently do have an InDesign template with the agreed upon specs, which every chapter file is created from, but then I was going to use the book panel synch feature to copy the styles to every file (paragraph, character, etc). I think your way makes a lot of sense though. I think the less we mess with the book panel, the less problems we will encounter.
One other thing we've had issues with is opening a chapter file through the book panel vs. opening the chapter file where it's saved locally (through Finder). I read somewhere that it's always best to open the file through the book panel, edit, save & close. Have you found a best practice for that? I like your workflow of only adding chapters at the end of the day when they are complete. But if you need to go back and edit a chapter, how do you normally do it?
In the past, we ran into issues with files in the book becoming damaged, but we could never figure out why (the obvious reason of multiple people trying to open one file/overwriting versions was not the case)...
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InDesign complains (by showing a yellow triangle with an exclamation point in the book window) when I open a file up using any option besides opening it through the book window, so I just cave and use the book window. When I forget—and I do—I just save, close, and reopen through the book window.
No issues editing files after they are in the book window. Just open them in the book window and edit away. You can also drag and drop to change the chapter order after they are in the book window. The book will renumber automatically.
I don't have issues with corrupt files in InDesign in general, but that doesn't mean I won't have one tomorrow. I am proactive and that I save my files to dropbox, which stores version history, so I can recover a pre-corrupt file if necessary. Before I implemented the dropbox workflow, I would simply back up my hard drive every single night. Macs use Time Machine for backups, so I could go back to a particular point in time, when necessary. Another option is to copy the project folder to a network server that is backed up regularly at the end of each day. One for each day, or more often, if necessary.
A popular workflow of using Save as a few times each day to create incremental backups doesn't work so well when your files are in a book, but for standalone files, that's another good option.
Thanks Barb, that was so helpful.
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Great. We are always happy to help.