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I am new to InDesign. We are about 6 people working on an yearbook about 200 pages. The plan is to combine each article (separate InDesign document) to an InDesign book file.

Is it practical in InDesign to separately work on different computers? Is there something to be taken care of? Since, there seems to be a lot of problem regarding referencing when working on various computers. Also, some of us have a Mac and others Windows.

If it is not practical, how is it generally done? I'm assuming a person singly can't do the work. What's the solution to this? Do we merge PDF files for each article?

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Merge the PDFs is ok. All team members can have local data. Another possiblity is that the team members prepare an InD package that holds all their data. Those can be Placed into the final InD document. The third possiblity is that one person holds the layout and others produce the content only (text files, images, tables). That needs continuous management and communication and can cause problems between the ears for those who want to have more power.

Already in other comments and answers there was a proposition of a cloud for all data. That can work, too.

BEWARE: One writes something to a file and saves it. Then another saves his own version of the same file. This is the basis of total chaos. This can be accidental, too. A password protection against this is a possible precaution. Separate workspaces in the file system prevent this naturally, but the co-operation needs also some common workspace.

There must be an agreement of some rules.

  • physical page dimension settings for printing
  • color space
  • master pages to be used
  • spread wide layouts possible or not possible?
  • consistent fonts and typographical styles
  • idea of the page numbering (section based numbers are possible; A1, A2, A3... and B1, B2, B3...)
  • index entry principles
  • available space per a member
  • how to refer to other's part - is it needed at all?
  • how to communicate error-freely about common things

Page numbering is possible when combining the PDFs, but that can create a mess because one can have some page numbering reference in his part.

An early discussion with the printhouse is a good assurance against a major rework and blank pages. If they do earn your money they must be patient and give some good data to the beginners.

ADDENDUM: All linked files and fonts walk along the *.indd layout file if you prepare a package (File > Package) It's a folder that holds all of it. If you want a single file, make a ZIP. I have not found how to embedd all (not only the coarse previews) into the *.indd file. The package gives a possiblity to edit something lately - you might find a too dark photo, for example. The space requirements wouldn't be smaller with all-embedded objects.

If you move the package, the links get broken. Relinking one file fixes them all. InD is that clever. Don't miss the embedding!

  • Thanks! Is there an option to save the InDesign file in such a way that it saves the picture too and not just a link of it so that it can be moved around without any issue? – Polisetty Feb 18 '17 at 8:07
  • @Polisetty added new data – user287001 Feb 18 '17 at 9:17
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One way, the way I use the most, would be to centralize all the possible assets. Meaning, for instance, put all the assets that you need in a team Dropbox folder, which is referenced using the same path on every machine you have. You can also make this a network server, which is mounted at the same path on every User's computer.

I am not sure though how this approach would work if you have multiple OSes, but if you stay within one family, say macOS or Windows, you should be fine.

  • Absolute paths will be a nightmare to work out across OSes. The solution is to keep not only the assets in the Dropbox folder, but also the InDesign files themselves. That way, all links to assets can be relative, which works across the Mac–Windows divide. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 18 '17 at 11:10
  • Depends on how the dropbox is installed, as the path/to/the/file does become absolute as well. Assuming default installs, the only thing that should change is the actual user that uses it, so I guess every user should have the same username as well? – dfelix Feb 18 '17 at 16:39
  • Plus remember, installing Dropbox (keeping is as our example) to a removable drive on Mac will load it from /Volumes/Volume_Name/Dropbox, so assuming /Volume_Name is equal InDesign should not have a problem with loading assets from that resource AFAICT – dfelix Feb 18 '17 at 16:44

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