Book Layout using Adobe InDesign
Adobe InDesign for book layout design — a beginners guide. Self-publishers and graphic designers are usually not new to the concept of book design, or using the primary design tools.
However, all too often self-publishers contract with a graphic designer who works in InDesign, but does not understand how to design a book using Adobe InDesign.
It is not as simple as creating a document. But, maybe that is all you need to do if you are creating a black and white novel. You can easily use Microsoft Word to do that too. Just know that sometimes text shifts in Word, so double check your PDF proofs or physical proofs carefully. Don’t depend on the layout being exactly the same as you see on the monitor.
Adobe InDesign is absolutely the best software to use. Years ago, it was PageMaker (now Adobe InDesign), or Corel, or Quark. Some newbie authors even use Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator for book layout design. They each have their purposes, but when designing a book professionally, probably 98 percent of all files or PDFs sent to us for book printing are in this software.
We do not give Adobe InDesign lessons, but here are the basics in book layout design to setup a book. Our many tutorials are helpful too. Hire us to design, or even redesign your book.
Adobe InDesign makes it easier than ever — but with so many more enhancements — the learning curve proves to be steeper than ever before. So, let’s simplify it. By the way, if you want professional book design, we provide at service too, as well as book printing.
Create a Folder
You first need to create a folder to hold all your files and images for the book. Save it as the name of the book or author. Let’s call it ‘Author New Book’ for now. Open the Author New Book folder and add to it any files and images that you are already working with.
Note: All files will go into this folder. Depending on the design and construction of the book, they may be the Cover, Cover Wrap, Dust Jacket, Endpapers, Foil Stamp, Blind Stamp, Emboss, Tip-in image, Vellum Sheet, Slip Case.
Create a Book
Open InDesign. Navigate to the Author New Book folder. Create a ‘Book” by going to the top menu and choosing File > New > select ‘Book’. You will see the book window open. Save the book in the Author New Book folder as Author NB.
Choose any name you wish, but keep it short. I add something to personalize the name, like Author NB instead of just Author. We work with so many books, that it comes in handy to make this a practice. It helps us in prepress too.
Important: From now on, only work with these files from the Book, not outside the book as you might have done previously.
Note: None of files, such a Cover, Dust Jacket, etc, go into the ‘Book’, only the folder that contains all files pertaining to the book.
Create or Add Documents
Go to the 4 tiny horizontal lines in the upper right corner or the new Book, and select ‘Add Document’. Navigate to the InDesign file(s) that you want to add.
If you did not already write the book, create an InDesign file for ANB Front Matter, then each ANB Chapter or large sections of the book, and if applicable, ANB Back Matter. The command is File > New > select ‘Document’.
When creating Documents, you will see a window of presets. Name each Document as we did above. Important ... check ‘Facing Pages’. If the pages will have images that print over the edge of the paper, you will need a ‘bleed’ as part of your layout.
At the bottom of the Presets Details, is Bleed and Slug. Add a 0.125″ (1/8″) in all 4 boxes of the Bleed. If you prefer, you can use 3 mm instead. You can also change these settings in File > Document Setup. Changes to margins or columns can be made later in — you guessed it — Layout > Margins and Columns.
Getting down to business
This is where is gets a bit tricky for beginners working in Adobe InDesign and book layout design …
Create and apply Master pages
Under Pages, you can create a ‘New Master’ and apply them to your documents. I always have at least a blank master, usually Master A, as some pages are not supposed to have numbers that show, like the title page, the copyright page, or the first page of each chapter.
Page numbers placed on throughout the book are vital. This can is an automated process that changes numbers as you add or remove pages. Create a New Master. It will be B-Master. I add an indicator to the name, so in this case I would call it ‘B-Master Page #’. Create a text area this master. Put the cursor in that text area. Go to the main menu at the top, then to Type > Insert Special Charters > Markers > select Current Page Number (which is Ctrl + Alt + Shift + N). Also see headers and footers.
Apply ‘A-Master’ and ‘B-Master Page #’ to pages by dragging and dropping, or in the Pages in the upper right, click the 4 tiny horizontal lines and then ‘Apply Masters to Pages’. Select the pages and apply each master. This works well when and entire chapter needs a new Master.
How book page numbering works in Adobe InDesign
All books begin on a right hand page. Right hand pages are numbered with Odd numbers: 1, 3, 5, etc. Left hand pages are numbered with Even numbers: 2, 4, 6, etc. Period.
Go to the Front Matter file in the Book. Select the first page. On the main menu for to Layout > Numbering & Selection Options. A window will open. Make sure that Automatic Page Numbering is selected. Then go down to Style, and choose the lower case Roman numerals: i, ii, iii, iv.
Next, select the next Document in the Book. On the main menu for to Layout > Numbering & Selection Options. A window will open. Start Page Numbering at: 1. Then go down to Style, and choose the Arabic numbers: 1, 2, 3, 4.
About page count
The Front Matter will have several pages as part of the book layout design. Make sure the last page in Front matter is a left hand page an even numbered page. This is because after front matter, you want to start the contents of your book on page 1, always and right hand page.
The page count needs to be the same as the printing quote. Let’s say the printing quote is for a 64 page book. If the Front Matter is for example 6 pages, then since the first page after Front Matter is number 1, the rest of the book cannot exceed 58 pages. This means you have 6 pages of Front Matter, and the 58 pages of the book’s contents to equal the 64 page book to match the quote.
Summarizing book layout
There is an incredible amount to know about book layout design. It cannot all be taught here. But, we covered some of the basics for beginners. If you need more information, you can use Help. We do not give Adobe InDesign lessons, but some of our many tutorials are helpful. Plan your book carefully. We can also be hired to design, or even redesign your book if you are still unsure of book layout design.