InDesign tutorials to dramatically improve your skills

by Stefano Bernardi 10 minutes to read

InDesign has been around for quite some time now (almost 20 years!), and it’s still the leading tool in the desktop publishing field. Even though most companies embraced the web as the new go-to media, printed media is still very relevant and strong. (Fun note: Looking at Google Trends, “PDF” is getting even more popular lately, despite not being the most mobile-friendly file format around).

To this day, knowing how to use InDesign is still a very valuable skill to have and given that it’s a very complex software, knowing the ins and outs of it can dramatically improve your productivity.

As I did in the past for scripts and plugins and utilities, I thought about creating a list that could help people with learning and mastering InDesign.

I am sure there are even better tutorials and resources out there that I haven’t found. If you know some, feel free to share them in the comments below or send us an email. If possible, state whether the material is directed towards a beginner, intermediate or an advanced audience.

Beginner, intermediate or advanced InDesign user?

When I created this list I tried to focus on what you are probably looking for based on your InDesign skills.

Therefore I divided the list of InDesign tutorials in three parts so that you can bookmark the page and come back anytime you feel like learning something new.

Adobe InDesign tutorials by skill

  • Tutorials for beginner: Just starting out with InDesign? This section lists the basic operations such as creating the first document, picking the right font, inserting images, and so on.
  • Tutorials for intermediate: These tutorials are a little more challenging. To appreciate them you should have already worked with InDesign—their goal is to help you become faster and work better.
  • Tutorials for advanced: They cover advanced features or techniques that require a little more experience.

I also thought about adding other resources that might teach you great stuff, give you some tips, or answer your doubts.

Beginner

OG Basic InDesign tutorial

Here are some of the first things you’ll be looking into learning if you are just starting with InDesign.

  1. Create your first document

First time using InDesign? Let’s solve this right away.

  1. How to add page numbers in InDesign

Having nightmares with page numbering? Don’t worry! It happens to everybody—this tutorial is the best way to quickly learn how page numbers work in InDesign.

  1. Pick the right Font

New InDesign project? What Font should you use? If you are like me, you’ll find yourself stuck with this question every time you start a new project—there are too many choices. Here is a list of 30 pairs—one for each use case.

  1. How to use paragraph styles [new]

Looking for a way to apply formatting faster and more consistently? Paragraph Styles—that’s what you need.

Here you can find also a video tutorial.

  1. Import a Word file to InDesign

Did you know that you can import a Word file into InDesign while mapping its text styles? Also, you can import the Word file as a link, so you can update it later and sync the content from the Word file to InDesign.

  1. Insert an image in InDesign

Learn the fastest ways to insert an image—or many images—into InDesign, and then explore how to deal with images with text inside and avoid mistakes.

  1. Create a Clipping Mask in InDesign 

This simple tutorial will guide you into creating a clipping mask from text, a single shape or a group of shapes.

  1. Create a Table in InDesign

A three-part series on InDesign tables that will teach you how to create a table in InDesign, convert text to table, and how to import Excel files into InDesign.

  1. Convert an InDesign file to Word

Everyone who uses InDesign sooner or later comes to that moment when a colleague or a client asks them, “Can you convert this InDesign file into a Word document?”

  1. Convert an InDesign document to PowerPoint

Do you have a presentation and you need to convert an InDesign document to PowerPoint? Do it directly from your CC 2017 in just a couple of minutes.

  1. How To Prepare InDesign Documents For Commercial Printing

Do you know how to prepare your documents for printing? This tutorial covers the basics and links to an ebook in case you want to dig for more information.

  1. Optimize Your Files for Translation [Ebook]

A short guide on how to improve the design of your documents with the goal of making them translation-friendly while also being able to leverage the power of the tools integrated within InDesign.

  1. Essentials Training Course—Udemy [Video Course]

Would you prefer a video course? Maybe one that is well structured? Did you think about YouTube? Well, YouTube might be a good fit, but I’d suggest you have a look at Udemy. Udemy is an online learning platform aimed at professional adults, and there you can find lots of great courses (like the one linked here) that you can enroll into directly from your computer!

  1. InDesign CC 2018 Essential Training by David Blatner [NEW]

This new addition was suggested by our reader Patricia Green. These are the words she used to describe the course: "The reason I like his course is that he doesn't forget that we don't all have the same knowledge base, and furthermore, he remembers that the student might be flipping around to study the chapters that best apply to his/her current project. It's linear, but accessible if you want to learn modules."

I haven't had the chance to personally check the course myself but I completely trust David and his ability to deliver great content. He has been quality-consistent for years, and for the reason I decided to add the course anyway after Patricia suggested it.

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Intermediate

OG Intermediate InDesign tutorial

  1. Save Time with InDesign Master Pages

Learn how to use InDesign master pages to keep a consistent layout and save time when importing text and creating your documents! In the post you'll find also two pro tips that can literally save you hours of work.

  1. A beginners Guide to Killer Grids

Do you want the content of your document to look better and more organized? Modular Grids is the answer—grids are fundamental in graphic design and page layout. Check out this tip from InDesignSecrets—it will make your grids less glaring and distracting, and your eyes happier!

  1. How to use the Glyphs panel 

“How can you avoid the need for importing images when you want to give your text document more of a visual edge? This is when the InDesign Glyphs panel really comes into its own.”

  1. Create a Table of Contents in InDesign (TOC)

Table of contents is one of the most popular features of InDesign. It allows the user to keep a TOC automatically updated when the structure of the document changes. You can even have multiple TOCs inside an InDesign document.

  1. Link an Excel file to InDesign

Have you ever needed to frequently update a table in InDesign? In this tutorial, you’ll see how to link an Excel file to a table inside an InDesign file and keep the table styles intact even when the content of the Excel files changes. No more copy and paste sessions!

  1. Create Multiple Page Sizes in One

Are you working on your corporate identity? Then you should definitely learn how to store all the components (business cards, envelope, etc.) in a single InDesign document.

  1. Align objects quickly

Have you ever used the Align panel? I am sure you have. But do you know all of its secrets?

  1. Making a Text Highlighter

Are you looking for the highlighter marker? Create it with this tutorial!

  1. How to create an InDesign Book

Are you working on a book with many chapters? Or a catalog with different sections? Do you produce user manuals and some sections/chapters repeat between your documents? Then you should learn how to use the InDesign Book function!

  1. Create Apps and Digital PDFs

Do you want to create beautiful and accessible sites or mobile apps with InDesign? Check this course by AjarProductions—Justin Putney and other world-leading experts will teach you everything about digital publishing.

  1. Working with layers

Manage your content and create beautiful layouts with the help of layers!

  1. Tips! 

Not a real tutorial, but a great list of 11 tips that will help you speed up your workflow.

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Advanced

OG Advanced InDesign tutorial

  1. How to Find the Font That Has the Glyph You Need

How do you find the fonts that contain the particular character you want?

  1. How to: InDesign Data Merge (with some advanced tips)

This is possibly one of the most interesting and commonly used features when making pricing tables, simple brochures, catalogs, etc.

If you prefer a video course, check out this course on Lynda.

  1. Linking Images So They Change Together

I read about this feature the first time on InDesignSecrets, that’s where the link goes, but I’ll share with you also this video tutorial. It probably takes more time to watch the video than to check the post, but it’s worth watching it if you have some spare time.

  1. Create an Index in InDesign

If you already clicked on the title, you noticed that it doesn’t link to an Adobe InDesign tutorial. I don’t really like the tools InDesign provides for creating an Index, so I don’t think you should bother too much to learn that. Personally, I prefer the resources you’ll find in the post I linked. I’d suggest you check them out and learn them instead.

  1. Creating Fillable PDF Forms

Have you tried in the past to create a Fillable PDF Form? If so, you know how crazy and time-consuming it can be.

  1. Resize a page using Liquid Layout

Do you have a publication produced in different page sizes? Maybe a digital magazine for iPad (landscape and portrait)? Liquid layout is all you need!

  1. Dynamic Publishing Workflows in XML

Have you ever heard of what you can do with XML? You can create documents automatically as if you had superpowers.

  1. Create accessible PDFs

Help your readers comprehend and navigate your content by creating accessible PDFs.

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Want to get better at InDesign?

Sign up today for free and be the first to get notified on new tutorials and tips about InDesign. Immediately get a useful InDesign Shortcut Cheat Sheet sent to your inbox.

Where to look for help and discover hidden features

InDesignSecrets

InDesign Secrets is the blog you’ll end up reading each time you have a weird question about InDesign. It’s full of resources and tips, and many InDesign experts share their new findings there.

The team behind InDesign Secrets also publish a monthly magazine called InDesign Magazine and host a weekly podcast.

InDesignSecrets’ newsletter is another one you’ll want to receive in your inbox every week!

I actually wrote a few posts on InDesignSecrets. Let me know what you think about them!

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Still have questions?

Official forum by Adobe

Have questions? Look for answers.

InDesign Facebook Group

The admin is Pariah Burke—the only person who has written a book focused on teaching advanced users how to use InDesign.

There are a lot of people in there who will help you with any issues you might have.

InDesignSecrets public group

In this community, you’ll find fans and followers of InDesignSecrets and InDesign Magazine. Post your questions and you’ll be answered in a bit.

The Treasure of GREP [advanced]

Indeed, GREP is quite difficult to use, and therefore the content of this group is probably not for beginners. But, this is one of the best places on the web if you love/use InDesign. Check it out—especially if you don’t know what a GREP is!

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Boost your skills with Conferences!

Your company wants to invest in your skills? What’s better than a conference?

AdobeMax

The premier conference for creatives. Do you want to discover how creatives are taking advantages of the latest technology? Or do you want a preview of the tools of the future? AdobeMax is the place to go!

Creative Pro Week

Do you want to learn how to be a better creative? CreativePro is an entire week of events—with over 30 experts from around the world—focused on teaching you what you need to be successful in digital and print publishing.

Swiss Publishing Days (German language)

Do you speak German? Focused on training and teaching, the Swiss Publishing Days conference attracts experts from all over the German-speaking countries.

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Stefano Bernardi
Stefano Bernardi

Stefano has worked on numerous mid to large–sized InDesign projects for Alstom, DeLonghi, Philips, and many others before starting Redokun in 2015.
As Redokun’s Co-Founder, Stefano spends most of his time helping customers to optimize their InDesign work-flow. He also holds in-house InDesign courses for companies in the Venice, Italy area.

19 Tips To Optimize Your InDesign File For Translation (Free eBook)

Free InDesign eBook
A short guide for InDesign users who work on multilingual projects. It'll give you an exhaustive look into the issue of creating an InDesign document ready for translation.

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