Is it possible in InDesign to have master documents that can be pulled into different InDesign books

Community Beginner ,
Apr 28, 2021 Apr 28, 2021

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Long story short, a few years ago I converted a large number of books from Word to InDesign. I was new to InDesign at the time, and to the books I was converting, so I just happily created each document in each book as its own separate file. That worked fine as any edits were done on a book by book basis. I recently had to make a bunch of changes to one of the books that acts as the basis for all of the other books. I realized that I could save a lot of time (and the client's money) if I could use the chapters in the "basic" book in the other books thus having to do the updates only once. I used FrameMaker a lot in the past and was able to do that but can't find anything online about the procedure in InDesign.

 

Any help will be greatly appreciated! 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 28, 2021 Apr 28, 2021

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This is a good application of the Book feature. You can connect multiple documents together to make a book, using different InDesign documents for each chapter or section.

 

You can have pages renumbered in later sections as pages are added or removed from earlier sections. Personally I don't recommend this. InDesign files can get messed up if the left and right side master pages are different and a page switched from left to right unexpectedly. I prefer to manage page numbering manually so I’m not surprised by this.

 

You can also sync master pages (including margins and master page items like page numbers), styles, and swatches.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 28, 2021 Apr 28, 2021

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Hi @TurqAdillo:

 

I'm guessing you used condition tags in FrameMaker? We have the same feature in InDesign (Window > Type & Tables > Conditional Text). To make it function like it does in FrameMaker, be sure to work with Smart Text Reflow enabled, and use Primary Frames on the master pages. You also want to take a FrameMaker approach to designing the paragraph styles—build the page breaks into the paragraph styles for example, and don't use manual breaks so that when you show/hide the tags, the text reflows properly. 

 

If you have further questions feel free to ask me. I use both on a daily basis. I would to note that I find the process works a bit more smoothly in Fm than in InDesign, but it can be done.

 

~Barb

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 28, 2021 Apr 28, 2021

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Hi Scott and Barb, 

 

Thanks for the answer.  Barb, you are correct about the conditional text. (I loved using Frame!) The problem with my current client's books is that the basic content is the same across all the books, but there is book-specific stuff that ends up in the middle of all that (and never in the same place in the different books), which makes it difficult. I could take the Author-It approach and break every chapter into separate sections that could be imported into a document in any order. 

 

The client has 24 books plus the Basic book (kind of a generic version). The Basic book has 14 chapters and 4 appendices. The other books use those, with custom content inserted into each chapter willy-nilly, plus additional chapters and appendices that are specific to each book. It's a lot of stuff to try and optimize, so I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed at the prospect of it all. LOL

 

This whole thing came up because my client just let me know that their contract is up with their current printing company so they are moving to a new 3rd party publisher for our business & law books who will be taking over the editing. One of the protential publishers asked the question about the 'edit once, use many times' issue. That's when I started trying to find information and ended up here. 

 

Sorry for going on and on... I am going to experiment with your suggestions to see how it works and will let my client know how practical it would be to make the changes. 

 

Thanks!

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 28, 2021 Apr 28, 2021

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I forgot to add that I do use InDesign books for each separate book. I really love that feature.  

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