Creating Tables in InDesign in Under 2 Minutes – [Video Tutorial]

Creating Tables in InDesign

If you work in marketing and with a large amount of products, chances are that tables will or are a major part of your design practice. There are a million (ok maybe not that many) ways of creating tables in InDesign, but only one that is the best practice of designers everywhere. Creating tables the proper way will save you loads of time when it’s time to make edits or changes later. Learn how in under 2 minutes.

As in all of our tutorial videos, the script from the video is below if you prefer to follow along in that way.

 

Tables

5A – Body Columns & Rows

To create a new table click Table > Create Table. From here you can add how many of each body and header rows and columns you want. Header rows and columns contain categorizing text like size and weight. Just like in Excel, rows are stacked vertically and columns are categories from left to right.

Once you have configured your table, InDesign loads your cursor with the table. Click and drag to your desired size. Tables exist in frames in the same way that text and images do. To resize, double click the table and drag the lines in your desired direction.

4B –  Editing A Table

To add or subtract rows or columns after creation, double click into a cell, and click Table > Table Options > Table Setup. To merge cells, select them by dragging the cursor across cells, and click Table > Merge Cells.

Edit a table’s stroke and colors with the stroke panel or in Table > Cell Options.

To set up Alternate Shading put the insertion point in a cell, choose Table > Table Options > Alternating Row Fill or Alternating Column Fill. Select the type of alternate pattern and from here you can make further customizations.

4C –  Table Styles

Creating Table Styles allows you to create default tables with fill and stroke colors along with other settings for ease of use later. Table Styles can be set up in the Create Table window or after if you want to experiment with color and stroke first.

To create a new Table Style go to Window > Styles > Table Styles and click the Create New Style button.

creating tables in indesign

Automating Table Creation

While this method makes creating tables in InDesign simple, the process can still be daunting when creating catalogs that are hundreds of pages long. However, table creation can be automated so that information flows directly into the tables when product information, images, and specs are housed in Catsy. Your entire team can access your centralized product data and designers can use Catsy’s powerful automation to automatically populate tables both online and in InDesign. For more information check out http://catsy.com/.

InDesign Text Frames – [Video Tutorial] + Paragraph & Character Styles

InDesign Text Frames

Lean how to add text to a document with InDesign text frames. In this video we will also be going over some best practices of type including how to create paragraph and character styles, and the importance of nested styles.

Text Frames

Adding new text to a document is easy with text frames. Select the type tool in the toolbar or press T. Click and drag on an empty part of the document or background to create a frame for the text.

Text styling options such as weight, color, and alignment can be found in the top toolbar.

To get back to the selection tool simply press Escape.

To make changes to the text in a frame simply double click it.

Paragraph Styles

In the same way that it is best practice to set up styles for objects, the same can be done with text in paragraph styles. Every field such as product, description, and price should have its own paragraph style regardless of whether it seems necessary at the time or not. Setting up your document in this way makes it very simple to change anything post spray.

First open the Paragraph Styles panel in Type > Paragraph Styles. In this example we are going to style the text before assigning the style so that InDesign captures every stylistic detail.

Select one section, such as the product name and click New Paragraph Style. You can only have one paragraph style per line, so if you want price and say product number on the same line with different styles that is what Character Styles are for.

Character Styles

Open the character style panel in Type > Character Styles and create new in the same way, by clicking New Character Style.

Nested Styles

It is also possible to create multiple character styles in the form of nested styles like in this example.

To create this styled number from this un-styled text, set up character styles for each of the effects shown using the Create New Style button. The number sign and cents have a simple superscript applied, the number is formatted to be bold, and the period has been made invisible.

5 Benefits of Selling Your Products on Online Third-Party Marketplaces

Amazon, Jet, Walmart and other online third-party marketplaces are excellent partners for growing your business. While they may seem like competitors at first, in reality, they’ll quickly end up being your best friends.

1. Increase Your Revenue

You have more opportunities to get your products in front of new customers. When you hit a wall in the number of people buying from you directly, expanding into online marketplaces can put you back on a growth path.

2. Reach Consumers at Preferred Channels

Many people would rather keep their online shopping simple and purchase through a centralized online marketplace. They don’t have to worry about keeping track of individual e-commerce websites, remembering the shipping costs and policies, and putting in their payment information. Instead, they go to a site like Amazon and pick up all of their items at the same place. Let your customers control their experience for higher satisfaction ratings.

3. Diversify Your Revenue Streams

The old saying “don’t put your eggs in one basket” holds true in the e-commerce and retail world. A Google algorithm change or a hike in paid social advertising costs could cut off your website from the traffic required for a reliable income stream. When you generate product sales through multiple channels, you make your business more resilient to unexpected changes.

4. Use Innovative Tools

The big guys have plenty of resources that let them create cutting edge e-commerce tools. You might not have that kind of budget, but when you publish on their websites, you often get an opportunity to use these features to your advantage.

5. Leverage Their Traffic and Marketing Efforts

Unlike your own website, you don’t have to worry about getting traffic to third-party online marketplaces. They handle marketing and advertising efforts directly, and you get to reap the rewards. As they onboard new consumers and put campaigns into place to encourage repeat purchases, your reach continually expands without significant resource investments.

It’s time to look beyond your own website walls. Put your products out there on third-party marketplaces and enjoy all of the benefits that this strategic move brings to your business. You’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.

Sources:

http://www.practicalecommerce.com/articles/60575-Differentiating-Marketplaces

Part 2: InDesign Image Formatting in Under 2 Minutes – [Video Tutorial]

InDesign Image Formatting

As we went over in the last video in the Images mini-series, images are a major part of publication design and publishing. Once you know how to correctly bring them into InDesign the next step, which we will go over in this short video, is formatting. We will discuss how to resize as needed, apply effects, and understand frame fittings. Stay tuned for more short tutorial videos. The full text from this InDesign Image Formatting video is below if you prefer to follow along that way.

 

Frame Fitting

There are a few different ways to define how images fit in their frames. To set up Frame Fitting select the object frame and choose Object > Fitting. From here you can select any of the following options:

  1. Fill Frame Proportionally which resizes content to fill the entire even if it causes cropping
  2. Fit Content Proportionally which will resize to fit the frame with no cropping
  3. Fit Frame to Content which shrinks the frame down to the size of the object
  4. Fit Content to Frame which resizes the content to fit the frame even if unproportional
  5. Center Content which centers the image within the frame without adjusting image size

Object Styles

Now you have set up the fitting and styling for one image, but you don’t have to do this manually for all future images. You can define Object Styles in Window > Styles > Object Styles to store image styles so you can apply them to all images in just a click.

To create an object style select the styled image that you want to base the style off of and click Create New Style. Double click on the style you just made to see all extended options. Now it is simple to add this same style to all of your images.

If I go in and change the stroke color, all of the images with the defined Object Style are changed. It is best practice to set up an Object Style for all images whether there is anything even applied or not (like a drop shadow or a stroke). The point is having the style in the template gives you full flexibility to change anything after the catalog is created. For example, you can turn on a drop shadow for all 3000 image frames in your catalog at once if you decide to later.

A Lost People in Our Digital Future – Sales Perspective

Our Digital Future

It was during a phone call when someone was describing the different uses for their marketing copy that it struck me what kind of nuances we take for granted in the world. Some populations of people don’t access to the internet by choice, and that’s a personal decision that provides them with a level of enrichment they find very important to their way of life, but also alienating in many ways in our digital future.

The same population of people was known for riding bikes and this particular call was about how the latest and greatest in mechanical transportation had changed. Yet this great print source of information had been compromised by the growing competition for online retail. The cost of producing the print information was sidelined by the effort it would take to go through a manual process to create that catalog. The interests of these people were not lucrative enough alone to justify the continuation of this storied format. The catalog and the people were cast aside in our digital future.

It’s cases like this in my career that make me see the work that’s done in business as more than the effect the world can have on our bottom line when we put our efforts forward. It makes me think about how the world is kept afloat through the collective profiteering of everyone, and how we serve human interests in our own everyday lives.

The thought comes to most everyone I know all the time about what would happen if the internet were to come to a grinding halt, spiraling us quickly back to what we see today as the virtual stone age. In some way or another, many of us find it foreign to imagine coordinating a meeting in a square on the fly with someone for coffee when there’s a bajillion Starbucks and only texting to get us to the right one.

It is not simply about having resources, but being resourceful, that is the best way to put a foot forward. Being able to resort to the common language of need and satisfaction through innovation. Doing more with less has been the name of the game for as long as there’s been competition. In the end, we’ve been able to serve populations through technology, and we should see it as such. Not that technology has served us. The difference, though, is to be read between the lines.

InDesign Image Basics in under 2 Minutes – [Video Tutorial]

InDesign Image Basics

Images are a major part of publication design and publishing. It is essential to learn how to correctly bring them into InDesign, resize as needed, apply effects, and more. In this short tutorial video we go over InDesign image basics: placing and resizing images. Stay tuned for part two in the images mini-series where we will discuss styling and more. The full text from the video is below if you prefer to follow along that way.

 

Lesson 3.1: Images – Basics

Placing Images

To bring images into InDesign click File > Place and select the files you want. Similarly, you can also drag the files from wherever they are stored on your computer into the program. Both of these methods create dynamic links to the image files which we will go over more in a later video.

After selecting the images you want, InDesign will load your cursor with all of the files. To add them to the page, simply click anywhere.

If you want to insert images into a shape simply create the shape and then click on whichever shape you would like when placing the image.

Resizing Images

Images are contained in frames in InDesign. Frames can be useful for cropping and because you can add styles to them later.

To resize an image frame simply click and drag the blue outline and hold shift if you want to retain the proportions. To resize the actual image, double click and you will see an orange outline. This is the actual image outline contained inside the frame. To resize the image and the frame simply hold down Command + Shift (on Mac) while scaling.

Link Product Photography to Product Descriptions

Catsy makes it easy for you to link all product photography, diagrams, graphs, and technical drawings to individual products and product families. With Dropbox and Box integrations, storing and updating product photos is centralized and role-based so access can be given to all teams. Learn more at http://catsy.com/

4 Digital Catalog Platform Features You Can’t Compromise On

Digital Catalog Platform

Are you getting the most out of your digital catalog platform? If you’re only putting up an online catalog of your products, you’re missing out on features that you need in your workflow.

1. Centralized Product Feed

When you input your product information into the digital catalog platform, you end up with a centralized feed that synchronizes all your data. Your partners won’t have out-of-date descriptions and prices that could lead to customer confusion, and you can quickly distribute new items as soon as they go into your system.

2. Customized Price Books

Personalized marketing is a widespread trend, and you can apply it to your price books. Rather than offering a generic book that every one of your potential clients receives, you can quickly tailor it to their specific needs. If they’re a bulk purchaser with a pre-existing relationship, you can give them the best pricing tiers available. For someone completely new to you, choose the product selection and pricing mix most likely to convert them into a long-term customer.

3. Third-Party Software Integration

Many businesses rely on a complex application and technology infrastructure that controls everything from inventory management to web content publishing. You don’t want to re-enter information that you already have on your backend systems. Third-party integration with your enterprise resource planning platform reduces the hands-on time necessary to pull everything together for your product feeds, catalogs, data sheets and other sales collateral.

4. Streamlined Catalog Workflow

Putting together a print or digital catalog by hand requires a lot of work. You have to bring in designers to lay everything out, manually enter your product descriptions and images, create the files for printing and distribution and handle countless small details.

A digital catalog platform allows you to use templates and your existing product feed so you can put everything together in a few clicks. You have to spend some time with the initial configuration, but once you’re set up, you have a lightning fast workflow.

Your digital catalog system can do a lot more than you think. Many of the features included in your platform support your operations and improve productivity. Your business growth rate should never be held back due to inefficient processes. Go through each feature to learn how it can save you time and result in increased revenue. It’s time to make your technology infrastructure work for you.

InDesign Master Pages Explained – [Video Tutorial]

InDesign Tutorial – How to Set Up and Use Master Pages

Setting up master pages is one of the first things you will need to do when creating a catalog, price book, or any sort of multi-page publication design. This step by step tutorial explains how to set them up and why using them is best practice with InDesign Tutorial.

Directions

Overview

Master pages are like backgrounds that you can apply to pages. Like backgrounds, elements on master pages show up behind other elements you add to the page. You can create multiple different master pages for a document.

The Pages Panel

Open the pages panel and you will see the default A-Master. Right now it is blank. To add elements to it all you have to do is double click one of the pages. As you can see there is a master spread comprised of a left and right page.

Good things to include on the master page are the header and footer and other elements that you want to be persistent and don’t change from page to page.

To exit the master pages view double click on a page in the pages panel.

Creating a New Master

To create another master page click the more options button in the top right of the pages panel. From here you can duplicate the existing master or create a new one.

To apply a master to pages, select one or more page using shift, right click, and click Apply Master to Pages.  

Margins with Catsy

Page margins are important because Catsy templates are sprayed within them, and headers and footers exist outside of them. This prevents overlap when automation is brought into play.

For example if you design a longer header then it will be necessary to go into Layout > Margins & Columns and extend the margin so that data won’t be sprayed on top of them.

Automating Catalog Creation

Pages can automatically be populated with product images, description, tables, and prices using Catsy. Catsy is a product information management and publishing platform that centralizes product data management and publishing. In addition to Catsy’s InDesign tool discussed in this video, non-designers can create automatic price books from within Catsy.