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.

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.

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/

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. 

Create SVG Images in Illustrator – [Video Tutorial]

Today we are going to go over how to create SVG images in Adobe Illustrator. SVG images are unique because they are composed of code and can be scaled without a loss of quality because they aren’t made up of pixels. SVG images are great for responsive web design especially with the rise of retina screens and mobile. In this tutorial you will learn what SVG images are, how to optimize your image, and how to best export to create SVG images.

Transcript:

Hello there, so today we are going to cover making .svg (scalable vector graphics) in illustrator. This is especially useful for creating icons or other graphic elements that will be on web, especially responsive sites.

What makes them different from other image formats is that unlike .jpgs or .pngs they stay vectors so they can be scaled while maintaining their form.

So the first thing that we are going to do is make the image that we are going to use. I have an icon here that is made up of a lot of lines and shapes. You can only make an .svg out of vectors. You can’t place an image in and make that an .svg. Now, when making an .svg this image is going to turn into code, so it’s a good idea to simplify your image in order to get cleaner code and a smaller file.

So we are going to turn these lines into shapes by selecting only the lines, not the shapes, and then object > path > outline strokes. Now that we have shapes we are going to combine them with the pathfinder tool. If it isn’t open already you can go to window > pathfinder. So with everything selected press the unite button.

Now you have a simplified image and you can make the image into the .svg. Make sure there is nothing behind it like a background or other shapes, and make sure it is on an artboard.

Click file > export > export as. Change your file name and in the drop down select .svg all at the bottom. Click Use Artboards so that you make only your image into the .svg in case you have other elements on the page. Now you can press export. Set styling to internal CSS and font to Convert to Outlines. If you don’t convert the font to outlines in my experience it can get distorted. Set Images to Preserve, Object IDs to Layer Names, Decimal leave alone, and make sure Minify and Responsive are checked. After that you are done and you have your file.

Creating Technical Drawings in Illustrator – [Video Tutorial]

Creating Technical Illustrations

Hello folks, today we have another tutorial for you on creating technical illustrations in Illustrator. Creating technical illustrations is a great way to show product components, steps to assembly, and the breakdown of parts in kits. As always, the transcript for creating technical illustrations can be found below. If you haven’t checked out our other videos feel free to head over to our Youtube channel.

Creating Technical Illustrations Transcript:

Hello there. So today I am going to go over how to create technical drawings in Illustrator. These are great for manuals, spec sheets, catalogs, and even your website. They are great for simplifying an image and showing components.

So the first thing you want to do is find your image. I’m going to use this image of a bike brake. Bigger images work better because they will be easier to see details when you zoom in.

Once you place it in illustrator it’s a great idea to dim the layer or change the opacity so that you can see your drawing better. Next lock the layer. You can do that by clicking command 2. This makes the layer not selectable so that you don’t have to worry about accidentally moving it when you are trying to move a line. You can always undo this by clicking command alt 2.

For this tutorial you are going to be almost exclusively using the pen tool. If you already know how to use the pen tool you can skip past this part of the video where I explain how it works.

So the pen tool can be tricky at first, but gets easier the more you use it. Start by creating a new layer. Then access the pen tool by pressing P or selecting it in the tool bar. The pen tool will automatically not have a stroke unless you just had a line selected so you can change that by selecting an outline color. You can make a straight line by clicking and then moving the mouse and clicking again. By the way, I press V or any other key in between making different lines so that they aren’t all connected. Make a curved line by clicking and then holding on the second click and moving the mouse to create the curve. If you want to adjust the curve press A and you will get the direct select tool, and you can move the handles around. Once you have made one curve illustrator assumes you are going to keep making curved lines, so to make a straight after a curve click the last anchor point that you made. If you decide that you need to make a straight line a curve you can press shift c and then drag on the anchor to convert it to a curve.

Ok, so this style of drawing is usually done in just two line thicknesses. 1pt and 2pt. 2pt is for all outlines, and 1pt is for detail lines. You can set up graphic styles for this, or you can just switch line thickness as you work or after). One great thing to do is to round the corners and caps in the stroke panel. Now you can start on your image. You want to create as little anchor points as possible so that the image looks smooth, but don’t limit yourself and make the drawing more difficult than it needs to be. Also, don’t worry because if necessary you can and and delete more later.

So basically I am just going to go around the whole image. Sometimes I do the outlines first and then switch to the detail lines, sometimes I do all the lines in one thickness and change them later. As you work you can figure out what feels best for you.

Now I won’t make you watch me do this whole image, so I’m going to do a few sections and then show you what it looks like when it’s done.

If you want to highlight one specific area of the drawing you can use the pen tool to create a shape to fill in certain sections. This is great if for example you want to highlight the break pads or any other part of the drawing.

The last thing I do is clean up any lines, change all the lines to black if I had been using another color, and then hide the background layer. So there you go! Now you can export it or keep working to get whatever desired result you want.

How to Add a Drop Shadow to Your Product Images – [Video Tutorial]

Happy Friday! Today we have another tutorial for you. In this video you will learn how to create a simple but realistic drop shadow to enhance your product photography. This is especially useful when creating a catalog or enhancing product shots. All the steps are listed below.

 

Steps:

Open a new document and place your image (file > place) on it. You’re going to want to make sure the image has a transparent background.

Next, make a white background layer by clicking file > new layer and then make it white with the paint bucket tool.

Create the drop shadow by making a very short but wide sphere (about the width of the image) with the circle tool. Change the color to dark grey and remove the stroke around the circle.

Make sure this layer is below the product image layer.

Apply a blur filter > gaussian blur

Rotate the shadow and place it under the image. You can change the size to perfect it to look natural in this step.

Change the opacity of the shadow in the layer panel (around 70% should be appropriate).