first time posting here so bear with me.

I'm a fairly new user to InDesign and have a project to do which involves typsetting numerous volumes of pure text, it could end up coming to about 30 odd volumes of about 400 pages each, pure text, no images whatsoever which should make it easier.

I'll have to start this project in about two months time, my question to you experts on here is could you please tell me a list of absolute fundamentals in good long document organsiation that I need to follow ands which I can then go away and research as to how to do. Obviously I'm not expecinting explanations of how to do everything, just a list of things that would make organising this project easier would be great.

For example, should I organise each chapter as a seperate section or just leave the whole volume as one single section?

Once each volume is finished I would also want to get it ready as an eBook, what steps should I take before starting out to ensure that that process would be smooth?

I'm hoping this is not too vague or wide a question.

Thank you.

  • 1
    Hello Yajee, welcome to GDSE and thanks for your question. If you want to know more about the site, please see the help center or ping one of us in chat once your reputation is sufficient (20). Keep contributing and enjoy the site! Apr 11, 2015 at 20:03
  • Will you need a Table of Contents that can be auto-generated? If yes, then read up on how InDesign's ToC works. If you do need a ToC, then yes, you'll want to have chapters and pre-defined heading styles . As for eBooks, the simpler the book is, the better the results. Avoid tables, if possible, for eBooks.
    – bemdesign
    Apr 11, 2015 at 22:00
  • This sounds like it may be better handled by Adobe Framemaker depending upon the nature of the content.
    – Scott
    Apr 12, 2015 at 8:53

1 Answer 1


When setting up a long document in inDesign, there are a few best principles to follow that will make your experience much smoother and enjoyable.

A) Use master templates. This is crucial, create a master template for every page type that you will be using in your book. A classic standard is a blank template without page numbers for end pages, chapter titles, etc; and a page template with the "page number" special character being used (and also possibly the name of the document as is often the case with books). Many other additional templates can be added if you have a way of setting up specific areas in the book, but it sounds like those 2 will be sufficient for you.

B) Set up paragraph and character styles. Probably the most essential part of your entire project will be having master paragraph and character styles to apply to your text. Determine your base font size, base line height, etc. and set it as your master paragraph style. From there, create children paragraph styles for headings, block quotes, etc. that fit your needs specifically. Whenever you want to modify the paragraph style, it will be changed throughout the entire document, which saves incredible amounts of time. Character styles can be used to style individual words within paragraphs, like pull quotes, drop caps, and other such items.

C) Section appropriately. Each document produced will have different sectioning needs. Some can simply be paged from 1-xx while others benefit from chapters and/or sections. inDesign has features available for each of these pagination types, I would recommend determining what would be most suitable for your specific projects and then researching how to achieve that function in inDesign. Beyond that, it's tough to provide you with specific feedback. The most simple example is to start your page numbering at the 4th or 5th page (or whatever page the content truly begins). This can be achieved through the pages view in the dropdown menu, explained very well at this resource: inDesign Pagination

D) Explore inDesign's built-in features. inDesign is a very powerful program and before Creative Cloud, it was reserved mostly for those in the industry. It has tools that can automatically generate indexes, table of contents, and many other literary tools. I won't go into depth for those here, but I encourage you to check out the resources available here and online. These features are not mandatory, and your project can be achieved without them, but they can speed up the process a lot.

E) Render for Print. Understanding how to properly render a PDF for print is a whole other topic, and rightly so. Some pointers would be to export it using the High Quality Setting and make sure that you specify your bleed if you have any pictures that you'd like to crop to the edge of your document. If you use the most recent high quality Adobe preset, your settings should be at a good enough mix to print well at a printshop.

F) Render for Web. While inDesign does not have this feature built-in, there are oodles of plugins from different companies that allow you to convert documents quickly and easily into eBooks. Here are a couple examples:

Blurb eBook Plugin for inDesign

Kindle eBook Plugin for inDesign

Best of luck in your inDesign journey!

  • Thank you all for your comments and thank you KoldBane for this answer, it's very helpful and has given me a good idea about the kind of things I should be doing as best practice.
    – Yajee
    Apr 13, 2015 at 21:36

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