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on December 17, 2010
I'm not new to this kind of software. I go back to PageMaker 1.0, QuarkXPress 3.2, Ventura Publisher 1.0, and InDesign (ID) before 1.0 shipped. Back then they were referred to as "page layout" apps. Today, InDesign is a launching pad for all sorts of projects which we can place under the umbrella of "publishing." ID is the best of them all and the most powerful.

It will soon be eleven years since InDesign 1.0 shipped. Publishing is a very different environment, today, and Adobe has responded with ID CS5 able to serve not just print but PDFs, Flash projects, and the ability to export to Dreamweaver. It's one very powerful app and even with as much background as I have, if I'm going to master ID, I need some touching up. I've been to Adobe TV and to update my InDesign skills. For me, the learning experience which the Classroom in a Book (CIB) series offers is a way to not only learn, but to retain.

If you are a Photoshop (Ps) or Illustrator (Ai) CS5 user, it's easy to dive into InDesign and feel right at home. The interface and functionality is quite similar on both the Mac and Windows platforms. Chapters 1 and 2 of ID CS5 CIB brings you up to speed on the nuances of the ID elements which are unique compared to Ps and Ai. It should be easy for anyone to pickup on. if you are completely new to Creative Suite apps, don't speed through it. Take slow, let it all sink in; take breaks. By the time you have finished chapter 3, you should have an excellent understanding of pages and type. If you're coming from the world of Word or Pages, you'll find ID simple but with a very different set of methodologies. It's not different for the sake of difference. ID is not a word processor, it's the premier toolbox of typographic professionals. CIB guides you through it, carefully, and with creative working samples, to inspire and motivate you.

InDesign CS4 and CS5 brought plenty of new functionality to placing, controlling, and managing objects plus the introduction of a new "gridify" and captioning feature. They're fabulously useful and innovative but I didn't feel I was mastering them to the level I preferred. Chapter 4 of CIB grew my proficiency and introduced me to a clever text frame reshaping technique that I cannot believe I did not know about. This is a well placed chapter which provides a breather before chapters 5, 6, and 7 gets back to the intricacies of type. As with chapter 5, the sixth chapter takes you into some of CS5's new story editing features. These three chapters should make you feel that ID has the tools for design professionals.

If you are not an experienced design professional, the eighth chapter on color is not only a how-to for ID's features, but a glimpse into the technical proficiencies needed for a preparing a document for offset or web presses. Some highly experienced Dreamweaver professionals have told me that they are so used to how that app handles cascading style sheets (CSS) that they could not easily jump into styles in ID chapter 9 should resolve that.

Unless you study lesson 10 you may be missing out on some of the power of bringing in and managing Photoshop and Illustrator graphics. There's a valuable section on libraries, snippets, and Bridge. In a resent discussion with some of the most seasoned InDesign users on the planet I fully understand that they needed more knowledge of libraries and snippets. They've been in ID for a while but appear to have escaped some people, over time.

Chapter 11 on tables is another one which Dreamweaver (Dw) users will find extremely important. Dw and ID have some similarities between them, but for a web designer who needs to offer PDFs, mastering ID's tables is essential if you are to perfect them, especially since ID fulfills needs which are not applicable to web designed tables.

Transparency is another power tool for designers. Chapter 12 is another one with a nice set of working samples which should inspire you and make you feel empowered. I was pleased to see the inclusion of the Effects panel. That's a feature set which is also often overlooked.

Lesson 13 does an impressive job of exploring the output and exporting options in InDesign. This too is key to professionally managing these assets Understanding ink management, ID layers in PDFs for Acrobat, and proofing is not simple to grasp unless you have expertise in these areas.

I know of no more easy way to create Flash files but in InDesign this is a new and powerful feature set for ID CS5. There's a whole new set of panels for this. Lesson 14 shows designers how to create interactive Flash projects for the web, presentations, PDFs and other SWF needs. It's worth the price of the book, alone. The closing appendix includes on-screen proofing, display calibration, and color synchronization is applaudable.

If you carefully follow every page of this book and do all of the lessons, you should be able to say you are an InDesign master. It's more than a how-to; it's a desk reference.
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on June 28, 2010
As usual Adobe's Classroom in a book series is the best. If you are new to Adobe, this series of books will take you from being a beginner to havein experience using most of the software's functions. If you then follow this book's training and use the skills presented within the book you will most likely develope the skills of an intermediate user. There are 14 lessons included in the book and one bonus lesson on the disk for a total of 15 lessons. The book is virtually the same as the CS4 version except it was updated to include the new tools that come with CS5. Therefore, if you are familiar with Indesign CS4 you could simply go to the Adobe website and pick up the skills for CS5. We have both versions and did not mind getting the new book because we like the lessons having the CS5 features already built in for our new people that need to learn the software. The bottom line: the Adobe Classroom in a book series is the best training series of manuals we have ever seen and we have been in the business of computer aided development for over 30 years.
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on October 27, 2010
I purchased Adobe Indesign CIB with the hopes of teaching myself the software. I have never used any Adobe software, and I am also learning on a Mac, which is new to me as well. With the book as a guide, and a lot of dedication, I have taught myself how to design basic brochures, ads and posters. This is not an intuitive program (for me anyway), but if you take the time and go slow, the CIB can literally teach a novice how to use the program. I would recommend to someone who is serious about taking the time to learn the software.
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on October 9, 2010
I am in the first chapter of this book and have been lost multiple times. So far the pictures, which are not enough, are of apple shots not windows so they don't help as much for me as they should. I bought it because I started a new job which requires my use of InDesign and this had such high marks. I have spent more than 1/2 my time finding what they are talking about rather than learning anything, sometimes giving up and just going on to the next section. I have another Indesign book by Lynda the HOT series for CS2 that I have gone through the first 2 chapters while waiting for this book to arrive which was so easy to go through, so many pictures you can't get lost following it. I bought this one because the Lynda book was outdated but I will use that one and just refer to this one for updates to the program. I normally love classroom in a book but after this one I am going to think twice. Such a shame, try other series, this one is not great.

Edit: I have since gone through the entire book and do have to say that the book gets much better after the first few chapters. I would still recommend a newbie start out with another book which I ended up doing and then reading this one and then it made sense. There are some good hints in it and it does get the job done but I don't use it for reference as much as others and would not recommed it if it is your only beginning book.

As for the complaints I have received. I need a book to do step by step and if something is missing I get frustrated, that is why this one disappointed me, especially in the beginning of the book. I did not know InDesign and needed the step by step with nothing left out. For those of you who did not like my review because I did it after only one chapter-sorry but I needed to learn the program yesterday and was so lost after the first chapter I gave up on the book until I read another one. That is not a good thing for a beginner and I gave my honest opinion, if you do not like it, skip my review.
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on July 22, 2011
This Classroom in a Book is great for people who have light experience with InDesign. I designed an annual report for a local hospital and bought this book as a reference because all my previous experience was on ID3 and ID4. I heard there were many changes between ID4 and ID5, so I didn't feel comfortable just diving in.

For whatever reason, the book doesn't go through super simple basics that I wished it would have: curved lines, some typography basics, custom page numbering, etc. I know they can't include everything, but why wouldn't they include a basic pointers section? I think a lot of new users would be attracted to this book because of the title and it's written by the Adobe team.

The book walks through projects, and if what you're doing isn't in their projects, it's not going to explain how to do it. Luckily, the Adobe website has good support and directions for some of the things the book was missing. All in all, I used the book for quite a bit, then figured out how to get the tips to work for the project I was designing. If I wouldn't have had some prior experience, the book wouldn't have helped much.
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on July 18, 2011
Two stars because it does not fit "my" personal needs--see below. Perhaps someone further along in this field would find it extremely useful.

The book is written assuming you have some knowledge of the product "in design". If you don't, this is not the place to learn it. Nothing starts from scratch and builds from it. It takes all "in-process projects" and uses them to show specific contributing actions to make them work. I need to learn how to start and develop a project from scratch---this text assumes I will be contributing to someone else s project---or taking a project from a well developed point and finishing it.

The book is concise but the one hour lessons take four to five hours as the least little thing seems to require hunting to find the right button to push. (some chapters are much better than others)

Hit the wrong button and sometimes nothing works but getting out of the program and then coming back in from your last "save" and doing it again . I just lost everything ---the saved files went---all of the last five saved ones are gone. (who knows where) I'm three hours into the lesson (estimation time--90 minutes) and now I have to start over from scratch. This happens on just about every chapter. Perhaps it's a good time for a review before I cool down.

In-design is a very complicated program. I don't know if there is a better way to learn it. If there is, I sure would like to find it. Its not in this manual. I need to learn to do my own internal design for a simple novel (which really can't be all that hard) or hire out for it.

I'll probably like In-design when I get to know it. I will give them one kudo. The design of the book allows one to go back and find an answer to a specific technique when he comes across it and has forgotten the particulars of making it happen. This is truly a good thing.
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on January 2, 2012
I have recently started learning Photoshop and thought I should probably see what else the Creative Suite had to offer, so I got the book for InDesign and opened the program for the very first time. I am someone who is usually able to fly through lessons, but this book is designed to give you hands on experience with every feature, and that's exactly what it does. The first three lessons familiarize you with how the program works, the tools, menus, etc. That was easy. At lesson four however, I found myself taking smaller bites so that I could make what I was learning stick. This book is a good way to start learning InDesign, but be prepared to take the time to go a bit slower in order to actually learn the program. All in all, an excellent learning tool.
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on February 25, 2012
I began taking an InDesign class because I was interested in ebook publishing, and this was the textbook. I was skeptical at first, but the more I learn about InDesign, the more I appreciate this book. InDesign is an incredibly complex program with far more menus and choices than an amateur is likely to understand. This book takes you step by step through the program and its uses, guiding you through the forest of menus to the choices that get the results you want (even if you are not a professional layout or publishing genius).
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on September 27, 2011
I loved this book! It was a challenging instructional manual on the new software (CS5 Creative Suite) for Indesign and frankly, I had never used any incarnation of Indesign before--only PageMaker. I really enjoyed the step-by-step instructions and the exciting new layout tools that I didn't have before. I can't wait to use what I've learned on the job. I recommend this book to anyone who needs to create newsletters, magazine or catalog layouts or any other material that needs to be printed. Great for the novice or the seasoned pro, give Adobe InDesign a go.
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on March 11, 2014
For some reason, I did not have high hopes for this tutorial. My luck with the “Classroom in a Book” series has not been great in the past. The book was available, though, and I desperately needed to update myself from PageMaker 7 to InDesign. I went with CS5.5 because of a bundled deal.
I had the first release of InDesign and did not like it. That is why I stayed with PM for so long. Now, I had to switch and I needed to learn the InDesign system. I ordered several tutorials and this was the first to arrive and, consequently, the first I began. I was very pleasantly surprised.
The book covers most general topics of InDesign and does a creditable job of teaching you how to use the software. Things were well enough explained that even when I got into trouble, I was able to figure the problem out with a bit of thinking and looking through the instructions I had gone through in the book.
While I long for a book like the one I used to learn PageMaker, one that was so thorough I fancied myself a master typesetter by the time I was done, I have not seen anything like it for ID. Doubtless there are nuances and features I have not touched upon but, having completed the tutorial lessons, I am confident that I can do the work I need to do.
This book will not teach typesetting, but that was never its purpose. It does do a creditable job of teaching how to use InDesign. Though intended for CS5, I used it to learn CS5.5 and found no problems.
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