April 28, 2008

In, Designing with InDesign

I spent most of yesterday in, doing layout work on C3, the magazine I edit. Not that I go out most other days, but that’s a different story :) And yes, if I edit the mag, what was I doing working with the layout?

Basically, the layout is done by another person who’s supposed to have years of exeprience with InDesign, which is what we use to layout the magazine. Unfortunately, we tend to get into cycles where I’d send a change back, they’d fix it and send it back and I’d find something else has gone wrong. So we’d go back and forth like ten times to get things finally sorted out. We just didn’t have time for that this time.

The magazine should have been out already and I was getting slightly annoyed at the delays. So I asked if I could have the InDesign file myself so that I could do all the necessary changes at my end, fix all the things which annoyed me and so on and get things ready to go.

I got the file and it turned out that the other person likes to do things the hard way :-( InDesign provides a heck of a lot of tools which make repetitive stuff like templates, page numbers a breeze. You simply have to set up a master properly and you can modify the master to propagate your changes across your whole document. But the person doing the layout didn’t seem to understand all the nuances of doing a master such as layers and overriding master elements. So they were doing separate masters for almost every new page and editing/embedding some of the text in the master itself. It was a bit of a mess.

I spent most of the day sorting things out, fixing issue details which would otherwise have gone to print with incorrect information, and even re-arranging some images in the layout so that there wouldn’t be so much unused space.

I do have to wonder, how much of a given application do most "normal" users actually use? Do they know all the features that are there? Or do they simply try to "bruteforce" their way through the task instead of using the tools available to them?

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Tags: Software, Writing
Posted by Fahim at 6:44 am   Comments (0)