I'm learning about InDesign (using versions CS5.5 and CS6 - depending on which computer I use). I am competent at using it at a basic level - creating INDDs, creating joboption files for PDF export, and exporting to PDF.

However, it's creating book files which I am having a problem with. Although the act of creating one isn't hard for me (I can do this the same as creating a new InDesign document), it's how to select pages from existing documents for a book that's the problem.

I have looked up on Google how to do it, and although I understand it at a basic level, I need to try and get better on it. Currently I just create documents all as one file which I'm not sure is the right way to do things.

In QuarkXPress, I could select pages and make a book fairly easily, but in InDesign, I noticed it imports the full document regardless of amount of pages. As it stands, not every machine will have Quark, and I prefer InDesign anyway for the sorts of magazine I'm doing - a small local community magazine for non-profit organization, also available as a PDF on our website too for those who don't physically pick it up.

What would I need to do - create each page separately (in a subfolder where all the pages are stored, including images linked to, such as the following)

  • folder mytest
  • cover.indd
  • page1.indd
  • page2.indd
  • page3to4.indd (2-page)
  • page4to5indd (2-page)
  • etc. etc.
  • image1.jpg
  • image2.jpg

The magazine is about the size of this publication:


but we were considering making it this big:

magazine cover link

(I'm not exactly sure what size)

We may be using glossy paper like in the above magazines, so what size would you recommend for it? (currently we're doing it at 212x294mm, with 5mm bleed, making it 222x304mm when it's a PDF)

(if you've seen these on the newsstands what size would you say they were in mm, are they about A4 size?)

As for master pages, am I right in thinking you can use one document as a source file?

My current project is a small, 32-page magazine, which has some articles, and some adverts in - is creating it as an INDD or as a book file the best way?

Either way, it will be exported to PDF in the end.

Any advice you have is much appreciated; it's not about the magazine content but the actual act of designing the magazine that's the issue, basically - should I do it as one long .indd file, or a book composed of several?

Basically, I'm just looking for advice on how to brush up my skills in some areas of InDesign.

(Just to add, it's a personal project not work one)

  • Honestly it doesn't sound like you're competent enough, or at least researched enough to do this project. You should start with some InDesign online courses or books as well as talking with your printer then if you still have questions come back and ask a specific question. You could also consider subcontracting the work to someone more experienced.
    – Ryan
    Jan 22, 2013 at 17:50

4 Answers 4


Quick point about InDesign. Do not switch between computers and versions!!! You may learn the hard way that InDesign has great difficulty opening newer versions. It will work 5.5->6 but 6->5.5 will provide problems. Start on one and keep it on that one. With Illustrator and Photoshop there are minimal changes that occur, but I have had problems going between legacy versions of InDesign.


Not sure I understand what you're describing in the Quark parallel -- I haven't used Quirk in quite a few years. So I'll just give a rough concept to confirm you're on the right track.

A Book in InD is just a collection of documents that is managed via the Book panel. A book file is saved, although it doesn't contain any of the layout or style info itself. The styles, page numbers, etc can be managed across the group by designating one file as the master. you can break the sections up into any size you deem necessary to answer collaboration and file size needs.

In my experience, InD books perform best when all the docs stay in one place (working over a server). I have also set up collaborative environments where we pull from a server to work locally and then copy back to commit. Keep frequent back-ups (better yet, work in SVN) if you go that route because I've seen far more corruption in that scenario.


Big question, small answer. This video may help you on creating Book files in InDesign CS5 (same or similar would apply in CS5.5 or CS6): Advanced InDesign Book tutorial (Part 13).

This covers How to create a book with Adobe InDesign CS5. Detail of topics:

  • How to divide an existing Document into several Chapters and Synchronise them
  • Headline numbering
  • Cross-references
  • Table of Contents
  • Exporting your book as an PDF for print or online publication
  • 3
    Hi David, I noticed that several of your posts are getting downvoted. On stackexchange sites people tend to be very suspicious of anything that looks like overt self-promotion - mentioning your company's products is (I believe) fine with disclosure where it's related to the question, and please do go nuts promoting yourself and your company on your profile page, but we don't do things like forum-style signatures: the focus is the answers, not the people answering them. Also, where an answer is mostly a link, we prefer a quick summary of the main points in case the link goes down. Thanks :-) Oct 8, 2012 at 10:18
  • 1
    Hi user568458, this post has nothing to do with the company I represent and is a link to a third-party, educational video we or I are totally un-connected to. As you mentioned, when and where I mention a product or solution I represent can help, I make it clear that it comes from us. Maybe I should just leave out the "friendly regards, David of Markzware" bit. Sure, can do that. In this case, the link was self evident and very useful, imho. Oct 9, 2012 at 9:31
  • The bigger issue is mainly providing links as answers. While I agree it answers the question, it's typically frowned upon by the SE communities to only provide links (linkrot is a problem)
    – DA01
    Oct 9, 2012 at 18:28
  • 1
    Voting up because I think the video poses a nice answer. StackExchange really need a secondary class/type of answer, which allows for external links to be posted without explanation. A means to fight linkrot in these answers might be to let users flag linked "answers" as broken and with sufficient votes (or admins verify it) the answer gets removed or updated with correct link. My personal rationale for allowing link-based answers like this, is simply that it solicits more potential answers and this outweighs the risk of lost integrity (especially if there's a way to act on broken links).
    – Henrik
    Oct 9, 2012 at 20:11
  • Re: my comment. Yes, I probably should've expressed this opinion somewhere else (meta.stackexchange.com?). I just had to put it out here while running into an actual example of someone being downvoted for providing a helpful and relevant answer. Sorry :)
    – Henrik
    Oct 9, 2012 at 20:17

Simply find all of your documents in Bridge and select them (using the InDesign Filter)

Cmd > Tab to InDesign with the required book palette open and drag and drop.

Docs can be in sub folders this way too, they don't all have to be at the top level.

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