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InDesign Tutorials for Beginners

You’re new to InDesign and you want to learn as quickly as you can. You’ve come to the right place. InDesignSecrets is the biggest InDesign site on the Web, with hundreds of tips, tricks, and techniques. For the new user, check out our Beginners Corner category and be sure to listen to this episode (or read the transcript), as well as the show notes on that page. You can find many of the most important posts here on this FAQ page.

However, we can’t cover everything, so here’s a list of a few other sites that you should check out when you’re first learning InDesign:

We have an even bigger list of links to sites that we recommend on this page.

Take a look around! Enjoy! And Happy InDesigning!

David Blatner

David Blatner

David Blatner is the co-founder of the Creative Publishing Network, InDesign Magazine, and the author or co-author of 15 books, including Real World InDesign. His InDesign videos at are among the most watched InDesign training in the world. You can find more about David at
David Blatner

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  • - November 30, -0001
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13 Comments on “InDesign Tutorials for Beginners

  1. Maybe, it’d be a good idea to link to an active, established, free-to-join community (if you did, I didn’t realize based on the descriptions of the links). One that isn’t Adobe-run, as I find their forums to have too many folks thinking they’re better than the rest and beginners (or “simple questions”) aren’t exactly made to feel welcome there.

    I used to be a NAPP member and the forums for their photoshop magazine were great, but with hardly any of their ‘member savings’ applying to international members, and the publication going digital (for international readers) I didn’t renew my subscription as I don’t believe in paying for forum access, while forums can be the biggest and best source of help, if there’s an active community using them.

    Edit: when editing the recent comments box overlaps the edit box… I can’t read what I’m typing :(

  2. Roland, NAPP have reinstated their magazine shipping to international readers, as of about a year and a half ago. I used to be a NAPP member then I got digital versions, a few people (including myself) go in a hump over it as I’d built up a nice collection of magazines and it had stopped with the digital editions. After all the fuss that was kicked up they started shipping to the international readers again, but a slightl increase in fee to account for shipping fees and other overheads, which was fair enough.

  3. I don’t want to turn this into a NAPP conversation, but considering half the stuff in the magazine wasn’t of interest to me (same in Layers magazine, which I hardly read anymore) and almost none of the so-called benefits applied to international users, the forums ended up the only thing I’d be paying for.

    Now, I’m not against paying for access to a community assuming it’s worth it, but what NAPP charges is too much considering it had turned into a “the photoshop guys” fanclub where I felt like I was doing nothing but watching them promote their own books, training sites and DVDs.

  4. @Roland, well, I think the best “active, established, free-to-join community” is right here at indesignsecrets! ;) However, if you’re talking about forums, it’s probably the Adobe forums, which I forgot to add to that list. Yes, it’s run by Adobe, but it tends to be pretty independent of Adobe.

    Or are you talking about a different kind of community? We have considered launching forums here, if there is enough interest.

  5. I do mean forums, but the Adobe ones I don’t like. For one their setup isn’t standard, but more importantly, a lot of people there have a severe superiority complex, making it very daunting for newbies to post if they ever find out how to even do that.

    While writing my original post I did have you guys starting a forum as a suggestion, but I removed it because:
    – only covering InDesign means people still have to visit multiple sites to get help: a site for Photoshop, one for Illustrator, one for InDesign, yet another site for Dreamweaver, etc. Either do it big and cover everything (merge/co-operate with other blogs), or don’t bother.
    – covering more than just InDesign (the entire Creative Suite + other vendors’ programs) doesn’t fit with the blog’s name.
    – (experienced) moderators are a must, but not everyone knowledgeable makes a good moderator

    Just the way I see it. Don’t agree? I’ll blame it on my glasses ;)

  6. @roland, have forums that cover everything

    Most peopel are very helpful there. But welcome to the internet, no matter what forum, site, club, community etc that you’re in, there will always be one or two people that have superioty complexes, and there will always be the ones that go on with their friends and single out and pick on people.

    Sometimes the superioty complex isn’t that at all, it’s just frustration as they may have tackled that issue on several occasions in the past month and would rather people used the search function first.

    But that’s the way forums and communities are.

  7. Eugene, thanks for the link. I was sure that that site, being a Scott Kelby/NAPP site, would be the same as the one for their Photoshop magazine (read: paid access). I’ll check those forums out and maybe even join up.

  8. I was stuck to learn how to create an outline for the fonts. since this is my first time using graphic software.

    luckily i reach here, now I know how to do it, it is simple, higlight the font, click type and create outline.

    Thanks indesign secrets.

  9. Whoa! David!! Thank you so much for mentioning my InDesign articles! I’ve been keeping up with InDesign Secrets for a while now (I think I’ve commented once or twice) and I always recommend this site to InDesign users, beginner or otherwise. I’m currently going through all of the InDesign CS3 tutorials on (specifically, I’m watching your Essential Training right now). Even though I would consider myself fairly experienced with ID, there are little tips and tricks I’m picking up in every video that help make me more efficient. Thank you!

    I have quite a few InDesign articles, including project walk-throughs and such that are most easily accessed through the InDesign tag on my site.

    Thank you again for the mention!

  10. My boss wants to know: “I can export my (massive) InDesign into DreamWeaver. What is the magic button that will make it immediately perfect, make it look exactly like it does in InDesign [really the version of the file that has been exported into Acrobat], make it so that I can post in to my web site right now?”

    Please note: This is not MY question. This is what my boss wants to know. Because, of course, the tutorials and the reference guides are all wrong. Either that or we have “been sold a bill of goods.” (“The magic button” is a direct quote.)

    Once you stop laughing, can you give me an answer that my boss might accept? He clearly thinks that I am a stupid moron.

    Thank you. You have no idea how frustrated I am, but he’s my boss so I can’t kill him.


  11. @Lynn, your email made me LOL. Sigh. But the answer, sadly, is “nope. can’t do it.” Adobe made the decision some time ago that people should design HTML Web pages in DW and print and RID (rich internet documents, such as pdf and some SWF) in InDesign.

    ID can export content (text, and to some degree graphics) as HTML (using the XHTML export feature in the File menu). But it completely ignores page design (“geometry,” where things are on the page).

    I hope that helps.

  12. Lynn-

    Ditto on the LOL.

    Just for fun, export the document as a JPEG, and say, “There you go. Looks exactly like the print page, and it’s ready for the website.”

    In theory, you could use the same XML in DW and ID, but in my experience, it’s too fragile to be a practical solution if people need to actually edit the content and revise the ID pages. Those pesky humans always get in the way! ; )

    Check out Jim Maivald’s excellent book, A Designer’s Guide to Adobe InDesign and XML if you haven’t already. It’ll set the expectation level, and has some very clever tricks.

    Also, tell your boss he can buy a magic button (aka a cross-media publishing system), but it’s probably gonna cost a big bag of $. Depends how much magic he wants in the button. A copy of DW and a little patience is a lot cheaper.

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