2 Important Adobe InDesign Tips for a New Yearbook Adviser (and 12 Others to Get You Started)

yearbook stuffLet me guess: you’re a new yearbook adviser, and nowhere in the box of “yearbook stuff” do you see the “Adobe InDesign Tips for a New Yearbook Adviser” manual. On the top of the pile is a CD that says “Adobe InDesign CS(insert number here).” The previous adviser is no where to be found. (In fact, he runs away whenever you go anywhere near him now.) And they didn’t exactly teach you graphic design skills in your Teaching Credential program, right?

So, what do you do?

First, does your school have an award-winning yearbook program or desire to have one? If not, toss the box aside and call your yearbook rep (her/his number is probably somewhere in that box). Your publisher probably has an online design program that would fit your needs even better. For example, Herff Jones’ eDesign is free and has all the features you need to create a great looking yearbook, without the hassle of having to learn a program created for professionals.

Okay, so your school has an award-winning program or for some other reason, insists on using InDesign. Now what?

Second, contact your rep and see if there are any upcoming InDesign workshops in your area.

Third, learn these 2 Most Important Tips about Adobe InDesign:

  1. The black arrow vs. the white arrow – You MUST know the difference between the two. The black arrow controls the frame of the image and the white arrow controls it’s contents. As our wonderful Herff Jones Tech Trainer Jon Erickson puts it, “It’s like an Oreo cookie. Black for the outside, white for the inside.” What does that mean exactly? Let’s say you want to “crop” a photo. There is no need to open up the photo in Photoshop (or another editing program) and actually crop it. You simply have to resize either the frame or the content to adjust the photo. Click on the black arrow and move a corner. The photo appears to be getting cropped. The difference? You can always get the “cropped” parts back by moving the content around with your white arrow.
  2. All images are linked – Even though it looks like that picture is on your page, it’s not. You are actually seeing a low-res preview of that picture. The actual photo still resides whereever it is that you saved the file. “Huh?” Let’s say a student saves a photo onto a desktop. Then he inserts that photo onto a yearbook page on InDesign. He hasn’t actually inserted it. The InDesign file is simply linked to the photo on the Desktop. This means that if he needs to move the InDesign file so he can work on another computer, he needs to save BOTH files. If he has a lot of photos, he can click “File -> Package” and InDesign will create a folder with the InDesign file AND all of the images (and fonts) that are linked to the file.        

Want more tips?

Here is a link to a great article from SmashingMagazine.com entitled “Adobe InDesign Tips I Wish I’d Known When Starting Out”

And make sure you subscribe to this blog, because I will be posting more tips as the year goes on!

Happy Yearbooking! ~Angela


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