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Getting Your Admin Staff Trained On InDesign

May 16, 2008
InDesign is a great piece of software. As part of the Adobe Creative Suite, it provides a great solution for professional page layout and is now being used by just about every designer under the sun. However, not everyone needing to learn InDesign works in the field of design. A lot of organisations are buying InDesign so that, wherever possible, their staff can produce corporate literature in-house, often saving them considerable expense. So how do you run InDesign training courses for corporate users whose background is often in admin rather than design?

If someone attending an InDesign training course comes from an admin background and is used to programs like Microsoft Word, the training needs to give them some insights into the world to which InDesign belongs. They need to learn something about typefaces, fonts and typographical controls. They need to understand image file formats, image manipulation and the definition of colours for print.

InDesign is closely linked with postscript, an extremely accurate page description language used by numerous output devices. As such, it offers a great deal of accuracy in positioning and dimensioning elements on the page. Delegates should be made aware of the tools which make this accuracy possible. They should learn how to used guides and grids, including the baseline grid. They should at least come away knowing how to establish alignment and symmetry between the elements on the page.

The terms used in InDesign often refer back to the pre-electronic age of the typographic industry and is often mystifying to the average user. It's important to explain these terms, perhaps by giving users some background information and, if possible, by making comparisons with similar features in software they already know. For example, we could compare the term "leading" in InDesign with line spacing in Microsoft Word.

Because InDesign offers so much flexibility in transforming imported images, your average user often gets carried away and ends up scaling images up or down by huge factors. It needs to be explained that scaling up or down by more than 10% or so is undesirable since this can cause artefacts to appear in the printed image.

Another frequent cause of confusion is the colour terminology used in InDesign. The general user will need to be taught three main things hers. Firstly, the difference between the CMYK and RGB colour spaces. Secondly, how a colour print job will be separated into four different plates. And, thirdly, the difference between a spot and a process colour.

InDesign is created with high quality output in mind. New users, regardless of their background must learn how to pre-flight a document, fix any errors and then package the print job and/or produce a high- resolution PDF file.
About the Author
The writer of this article is a developer and trainer with Macresource Computer Solutions, an independent computer training company offering Adobe InDesign Classes in London and throughout the UK.
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