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Super-Long Document Techniques with InDesign

InDesign Magazine Issue 65: Long DocumentsThis article appeared in Issue 65 of InDesign Magazine.

What’s the longest document you’ve created in InDesign? Of course, I’m using the term “long document” to refer to the number of pages, not necessarily page dimension. Yes, a document 10 cm tall by 18 feet wide is pretty dang long, but it’s not the focus of this article! When I pose that “longest document” question to audiences, I often hear “24 pages”…“200 pages”…maybe more! I usually like to define “large document” as, say, 500 pages or more, but the truth is that when you’re on a deadline and the client asks for document-wide changes, even a 24-page booklet could be considered (and certainly feel like!) a large document when it’s not built properly. So the tips in this article are really relevant for multi-page documents of any length.

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Russell has been doing this a long time. This year he celebrates 41 years as a professional in, and around, the publishing world. He also celebrates 25 years as a public speaker and trainer.

"When I started as a reporter/photographer we had typesetters and darkrooms," Russell laments. "I don't miss either."

Russell started in the "desktop publishing" world with PageMaker in 1987 and has used all of the industry tools extensively since.

In addition to training, he is hired to work on projects that allow him to push the limits of the software so he gets to practice what he preaches. "I don't show anything to an audience that I haven't used on a real project," Russell said. "It allows me to know the nuances of a feature...the things you don't know until you really push it."

You can catch Russell's live stream, which he does with Julia Zieger, regularly on Behance.

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  • Mary says:

    Excellent article–thank you! I learned there are more things I need to learn in InDesign.
    I noticed there isn’t a link to this statement: “(You can read the pros and cons of using the default Basic Paragraph Style that ships with InDesign in this blog post.)” Can you provide?

  • Wow. Superb article Russell! So many tips and workarounds applicable to many projects. And I love the “Stop it!” commands. too funny! Just like you teach and present. Excellent.

  • Sam Rascoe says:

    Hasn’t there been a few improvements since 2015?

    • Mike Rankin says:

      Regarding long docs, the only notable changes since the coming of Creative Cloud have been the addition of endnotes and some new footnote capabilities (spanning columns, tables). And they changed the name “master pages” to “parent pages.” That’s about it.

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