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Mike Gondek reviews Real World InDesign 2

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Mike Gondek reviews Real World InDesign 2
A Creative COW "Real World" Book Review

Mike Gondek reviews Real World InDesign

Mike Gondek Mike Gondek
Orland Park, Illinois, USA

© 2003 Mike Gondek and All rights are reserved.

Article Focus:
Mike Gondek takes a look at Real World InDesign 2 by Olav Martin Kvern & David Blatner. ~ This book is 650 pages and is published by Peachpit Press. Read on to find out what this book has in store for you...


1. Workspace
2. Page Layout
3. Text
4. Type
5. Drawing
6. Where Text Meets Graphics
7. Importing & Exporting
8. Long Documents
9. Transforming
10. Color
11. Printing
12. Scripting

The Positives:
The screenshots are very helpful in explaining some topics, and I totally appreciate the time it took to make this book. Blatner & Kvern have a great attitude and knowledge of the Quark and Pagemaker and have great REALWORLD examples comparisons to InDesign.

Page 578 explains that you can print up to 9 pages on one sheet using the thumbnails option. You also get a friendly REALWORLD warning to expect your rip time for the one page to take as long as it would have for 9 pages. You get honest REALWORLD input from experience users that goes beyond the manual.

New techniques such as creating square bullets using paragraph rules could be done very easily instead using a font like Zapf dingbats. It is good to know multiple techniques for doing things incase you inherit a file from someone else or just want to do things the best way. The hanging Indents explanation was informative and useful in the REALWORLD.

The chapter on tables was really interesting, because it is a new topic for page layout programs and therefore you feel that you are learning much. If you had a difficult time understanding trapping after reading the manual than you will get a second explanation of all the features from Blatner & Kvern in this book.

Everyone will learn something about InDesign they did not know before if they read this book. It unlocks some mysteries on simple topics such as the transform palette, which can either show 100% or a total of your transformations (e.g. 133%). You can also get your feet wet with XML, scripting and other advanced topics.

The Negatives:
Nothing major, and probably not even is the fault of the authors.

Page 503 mentions Shift Ctrl-. scales the size of an object by 5%. Alt Ctrl -. Is what really worked on my computer.

Some questions are not answered such as can you scale arrowhead weight. You probably cannot, but would have been good to have this confirmed. One thing missed was that in the swatches palette you could identify spot colors by having a little spot on the bottom right triangle as in the last swatch in this image.

But my criticisms are minor and it is difficult to write a book like this and cover everything. The book was hard to read at times, because much of the information is already in the manual, and with no hands on examples it can get a little boring. A REALWORLD InDesign killer tips book would have been more useful with probably less to read.

Is this book for you?
If you prefer an interactive book with a CD and examples you can follow, get the Adobe Classroom in a book. If you are new to InDesign and have not read the manual than you can read this instead. You may be an experienced Adobe products user and want to study for the Adobe Certified Expert exam, than you can hone your InDesign knowledge with this book.

REALWORLD InDesign 2 is for those wanting to learn more about InDesign. Expert users will find some challenges in this book, but will also be tempted to skim through the book at times.

COW Rating: Real World InDesign 2 can be boring at times and you might be tempted to skim, but don’t. There are important things you might miss such as page 256 says you can remove applied character style formatting by Option Shift/Alt-Shift clicking on a paragraph style name. If you really want to learn more about InDesign get this book.

You obviously cannot satisfy everybody with one book, but this book does a great job. I would like to see a book in the future on just the advanced killer tips used in InDesign. I give 4 and a half cows to Real World InDesign 2.

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