Master multi-doc projects with the Book function

There are many benefits to managing a multi-document publication as a book in InDesign.

For instance, the documents are easier to keep track of when booked, especially if the publication is being produced in a workgroup over a network. It's also easier to ensure formatting and page numbering consistency in a publication when its documents are booked. In addition, the only way to create a table of contents or an index across multiple documents is to book them. Using the Book function, I'll walk you through how to control a multi-document project in InDesign.

Creating new book file, indesign,

Creating New Book File

01 To create a book file in InDesign, first go to File>New>Book. In the New Book dialog box, navigate to where you want to save the file. Next, enter a filename and then click Save to open your new Book palette, named accordingly.

Add documents to open book file

Add documents

02 To add your publication's documents to the open book file, drag-and-drop them onto the Book palette. You can also click the Add Documents button on the Book palette, or choose Add Document from the Book palette's pop-up menu. In the Add Documents dialog box, locate the documents you want to add to the book and either select the first document (to add the documents one at a time), or Shift+click on all the documents (to add them all at once). Then, click Open.

Rearrange documents, Book file, Indesign

Rearrange documents

03 If your documents are out of order, you can rearrange them in the Book palette. To change the order of your documents, simply click-and-drag them up or down to where they belong. InDesign will automatically repaginate your booked documents whenever you rearrange them this way, providing the Automatic Pagination check box is selected in the Book Page Numbering Options dialog box, which is accessible from the Book palette's pop-up menu.

Style Source, book palette

Style Source

04 The document with the Style Source icon next to its filename is the style source. It should contain the styles and swatches you'll use through the book. By default, the first document you add to the Book palette is given this role. To reassign the job to another document, click on the box next to the filename for your chosen document.

Syncronise Style swatches booked documents

Syncronise Style swatches

05 When a book is synchronised, the current versions of styles/swatches in the style source are copied into the other booked documents. Styles/swatches with identical names are replaced in the other documents with those in the style source; styles/swatches in the documents not in the style source are left untouched. Preferences set while the style source document is open, and other attributes, such as the document setup, aren't copied from the style source to the other booked documents, so it's a good idea to create the documents from the same template.

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