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Super-Long Document Techniques with InDesign

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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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More Resources To Long Documents

The InDesign + Long Documents Summit is the essential HOW-TO event for designers and everyone who need to build long documents such as books, proposals, and manuals — for print or digital distribution.

Adobe InDesign is the world’s best tool for creating these kinds of documents, but like any professional-grade tool, it can be complicated to use well. Join some of the world’s most knowledgeable InDesign experts as they share their wisdom, tips, and techniques for building long documents.

Whether you’re a longtime InDesign user or you only know the basics, this event will take your skills to the next level and help you create a wide range of long documents quickly and easily.

Not only do you get access to great instruction (including live online Q&A with the presenters and a full-year of session recordings) but we’re providing four exclusive and professional-quality InDesign templates, plus a special package of InDesign automation tools to help you build your documents faster and easier.


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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. [addbr][addbr] "When I started as a reporter/photographer we had typesetters and darkrooms," Russell laments. "I don't miss either." [addbr][addbr] Russell started in the "desktop publishing" world with PageMaker in 1987 and has used all of the industry tools extensively since. [addbr][addbr] 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." [addbr][addbr] You can catch Russell's live stream, which he does with Julia Zieger, regularly on Behance. [addbr][addbr] Website [addbr] LinkedIn [addbr] Instagram [addbr] X (Formerly Twitter) [addbr] Facebook
  • 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?
    Thanks!

  • 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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