Skip to content

How to use InDesign

Rate this post

How to use InDesign: You need to paginate a document and would like to use it for this purpose InDesign? You couldn’t have made a better choice, since this is one of the best professional software for the production of editorial content, if not the best of all. From what I understand, however, you are not very familiar with the use of this application and would like a hand to understand how to use it, right?

If that’s actually the case, know that you’ve come to the right place at the right time! In the next paragraphs, in fact, I will have the opportunity to explain you how to use InDesign to be able to correctly layout your works. Obviously do not expect to become a “magician” with InDesign after reading a single tutorial: it would be impossible to fully analyze such a complex program in a single article but, don’t worry, following my “tips” you will be able to understand how to use the main features of InDesign and you will have the bases to deepen its functioning correctly.

So, are you ready to start? Yup? Well: make yourself comfortable, take all the time you need to concentrate on reading the next paragraphs and, more importantly, try to put into practice the indications I’m about to give you. I am sure that, at the end of the reading, you will be able to take your first steps in InDesign without the slightest problem. Happy reading and good work!

Preliminary information

InDesign logo

Before actually seeing how to use InDesign, I really want to give you some preliminary information that you need to know to be able to continue without problems with the rest of the article. First of all, since it is a professional program, InDesign is not free: you can test its functionality for free for 7 days, but to continue using it you must then sign up for the subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud, which starts from 24.39 euros / month. More info here.

In order to install the program on your computer, moreover, you must necessarily have the following minimum requirements.


  • Intel Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon 64 processor.
  • Windows 7 with Service Pack 1, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 (not supported on Windows 10 version 1507).
  • 2 GB of RAM (preferably 8 GB).
  • 2.6 GB of available disk space, for installing the program.
  • Display with at least 1024 x 768 resolution (1280 x 800 recommended) and 32-bit video card.
  • To export files in SWF format, it is necessary Adobe Flash Player 10.


  • Intel multicore processor.
  • macOS version 10.13 (High Sierra), macOS version 10.12 (Sierra) or Mac OS X version 10.11 (El Capitan).
  • 2 GB of RAM (preferably 8 GB).
  • 2.5 GB of available disk space, for installing the program.
  • Display with at least 1024 x 768 resolution (recommended: 1280 x 800) and 32-bit video card.
  • For the export of SWF files, it is necessary Adobe Flash Player 10.

For more information regarding the minimum requirements needed to install and use InDesign, I refer you to This Page set up on the Adobe website.

How to download InDesign

InDesign download

For download InDesign in trial version, connected to Adobe website, click the button Activate your free trial version which is located in the center of the page and wait for the download of the software installation package.

When the download is complete, open the installation file you have obtained and follow the instructions that appear on the screen to complete the setup. If you use Windows, therefore start the file.exe InDesign and click the button Yup. If you use a Macinstead open the .dmg file that you downloaded and then start the executable InDesign Installer which is located inside.

In the window that opens, log in to your Adobe account. In case you don’t have one yet, click the button Sign in and create your Adobe account by providing the various information requested in the appropriate text fields (e.g. first name, surname, date of birth, email address, password, etc.).

Then click on the button Signing up, put a check mark on the item I have read and accept the Terms of Use and the Privacy Policy (UPDATED) and click on the button Go on. Finally, answer the questionnaire that is proposed to you, click on the buttons Go on is Start installing and wait for the program to be installed (the operation may take several minutes, depending on the speed of your connection).

In case other applications of the Adobe Creative Cloud suite are already installed on your computer, to start the trial version of InDesign, open the application Adobe Creative Cloud, locate theInDesign icon, which should be placed in the section Trial app, and click the button Try / Start Test placed at the same. In this way, the download of InDesign will start and you can start using the trial version of the program by clicking on the button Start free trial version.

How to use InDesign to paginate

InDesign pagination documents

Now let’s get to the heart of the matter and see how to use InDesign to paginate and perform other basic operations. The program interface is divided into specific sections, which make up your own work area.

One of the most important parts of the interface is the application panel which groups all the elements of the work area in a single window. By moving or resizing the application panel or one of its elements, all the other elements that are inside it are adjusted accordingly, in order to avoid overlapping.

Another element of the InDesign interface consists of the application bar, located on the upper side of the interface: contains controls for modifying the work area, menus (in the version of InDesign for Windows) and other controls for the application. In the Mac version of InDesign, the application bar is only available when the application panel is deactivated from the menu Window> Application Pane.

The Tools panel located on the left, however, it contains all the tools that allow you to create and edit images, page elements, drawings and so on. To use one of the tools present in it, just call it from the panel Instruments, adjust its settings and use it on the InDesign workspace.

InDesign interface "width =" 610 "height =" 306

After seeing how the InDesign interface is structured, I would say that we can start to see how to use it for the jobs you need to do. To begin with, hit the button Create new … located in the main program window, click on the tab Print, at the top of the new panel displayed, and select the format of the document you need to paginate (e.g. A4, A5, etc.).

Now, using the panel located on the right, write the name of the document, put a check mark on the box Facing pages, set the margins lower, internal, external is higher using the values ​​you prefer and click on the blue button Create, located at the bottom right.

Adobe InDesign main window

After doing this, you need to create a page Master, or a part of the document which, as the name suggests, acts as a “guide” to all the other pages. How can you do it? It’s simple: first, right-click on the panel Pages and select the item New Master … from the menu that opens.

Now you have to adjust the various settings of the Master page. In the text field First name, therefore write the name to be assigned to the page; from the menu Based on the master, select the item A-Master and sets 2 as the value of the field Number of pages. Once this is done, save the settings relating to the Master page by clicking on the button OK present in the box in question.

Adobe InDesign New Master

Now, select the Master page that you created earlier, go to the panel Pages located at the top right, drag it to the remaining pages of the document – placing it in the central intermezzo – and the page pairs will automatically format the Master page. Comfortable, right?

The operation I have just described proves to be very useful especially as regards the automatic numbering of the document pages. To do this, double click on the Master page located in left, select it Text tool by clicking on the symbol T placed on the program toolbar (left) and draw a rectangle in the lower left corner of the page.

Then right click on the cursor that appears and select the items from the menu that opens Insert special character> Marker> Current page number. Next, do the same thing on the Master page on the right, remembering to create the text box at the bottom right.

InDesign indicators

If you want to repeat certain elements on the pages of your publication – be it logos, headers, images, footers, etc. – simply add them to the Master pair you previously created and, as if by “magic”, they will be automatically replicated on the areas of the document where the styles are applied.

At this point, more is done and the basic layout is ready. Therefore, you can provide to create the text areas in which to write the contents of your publication (through the Text tool) and format them, using the tools made available to InDesign.

InDesign text tool

To check the vertical space between paragraphs, perhaps to increase the line spacing of the first line of the paragraph or the upper margin of the text frame, you must select the text with the left mouse button and adjust the values ​​you prefer to use via the menus Space first, Space after is Space between paragraphs with same style present in the panel paragraph located on the right.

If, on the other hand, you want to align or justify a text, select the portion you want to act on, click on one of the alignment buttons located in the panel paragraph (Eg. Align left, Align in the center, Right align, Justification on the left, Justification at the center, etc.).

InDesign alignment "width =" 610 "height =" 349

If you wish, you can also apply the option Align back side or Align opposite back (always from the panel paragraph): in the first case, the text of the left pages is aligned on the right, while that which belongs to the same text flow but which is on the right pages is aligned on the left; in the second, however, the text of the left pages is aligned to the left and vice versa.

When finished, you can save your project by opening the menu File (top left) and selecting the item Save with name… or Save from the latter.

If the publication is completed, however, you can export it directly in one of the formats supported by InDesign: just go to the menu File> Export … (top left) and select the preferred format from those available (e.g. PDF, EPUB, etc.).

For more information

Official InDesign guide

Since Adobe InDesign is a very powerful and feature-rich program, don’t expect to learn how to master it in a short time: it will take a lot of exercise and effort on your part before you can learn to use all its countless features to the full.

For this reason, I invite you not to stop at the tutorial you have just read: learn more about all the functions and features of InDesign by reading the official program guide on the Adobe website.

As you can see, the articles are organized by topics (e.g. Layout and design, Text, The styles, Table, Digital publications, etc.). After selecting one, click on one of the specific articles listed on the right and follow the instructions in them to deepen your knowledge of InDesign. I am convinced that, with a little exercise, you will become better and better at using this program.