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Adobe InDesign CC: Create a Digital Magazine

This software is available for free use at Idea Exchange, Old Post Office, Creative Studios.example digital magazine

Print might be slowly being replaced by digital media, but that does not mean that magazines are dead. Online magazines and reports are a great tool that you can use to publish your material visually. From eBooks, to presentations, to news, creating digital magazines is an excellent way to have your voice heard.

Adobe InDesign is designed to do just that. Its interactive and intuitive interface will have your content looking sharp, professional, and interesting with only a few clicks.

This tutorial demonstrates the basics of this program, in order to help you create your very own digital magazine!

How to Guide

1. Launch Adobe InDesign. On the main screen, click on the “Create New” button.

InDesign launch screen

2. A dialogue box will open. Since we are creating a magazine, we want to find the correct template to do so. Select the “Print” tab and then choose the “Simple Magazine Layout”. It might ask you download it, but don’t worry, it’s free!

select simple magazine layout

3. Once the template opens, there are a few things to look out for. First, if any text is highlighted in pink (as shown below), it means your computer does not have access to that font. Choose another and it will go away.

selecting fonts

Second, is basic navigation of this program. On the right you should see a menu that indicates: Pages, Layers, and Links. This is the main tool you will use to navigate between pages and layers while working in this program.

pages, layers, and links menu

4. Let’s get started! To import a photo background, go to File > Place. Select the image you would like and fit it to the background. Alternatively, you can use the “Swatches” tab to drag and drop any colour onto your background if you’d prefer a solid colour.

import a photo background

5. The next thing we want to do is modify the font. To do this, we need to double click on the existing text or click on the “Text” tool. A menu above will allow you to select and manipulate your text. Select the “Move” tool to move your text to the desired location.

modify font

6. To add shapes to a page, select the Shapes Tool. If you click + hold on this icon, it will display all the available options. To manipulate the size of your shape, click on it. A box should appear around it. You can pull the corners in and out to change the size.

add shapes with the Shapes Tool

7. To change the colour of your shape, use the Colour or Swatches tab to drag and drop colour. Alternatively, you can use the shape menu to modify the Fill and the Outline. 

change the colour of your shape

8. Once your front page is complete, navigate to the second page using the Page Tab. Double click on the page after the front page to jump to it. Traditionally, this is where the “Table of Contents” belongs. If you already have content, you can generate one automatically by selecting Layout > Table of Contents.  However, if you do not have content, leave this blank for now and fill it in once you do.

add the table of contents

9. Now, it’s time to create some content. Navigate to the next page using the Page Tab, and let your creativity out. This is the place to put more pictures, articles, title pages and so on. Use the skills you’ve already been taught to do just this.

create content by adding pictures and articles

10. A quick tip: when placing and resizing photographs, take note of the red box and the blue box around each picture. The blue box controls the size of the photograph, while the red one is the container that it can be seen within. You may have to adjust both to see the desired result.

adjust image size and image container size

11. If at any point you’d like to Preview your work to get a sense of what it will look like online, select the highlighted icon below and choose either the Preview option or the Presentation option.

preview your work

12. This will present your material cleanly.

magazine preview

13. Once you are finished your magazine, you can save it as an “.indd” file. This is the native InDesign File Format that will allow you to return to edit your work. Or, you can publish you article online right away using the Publish Online button.

save as InDesign file format or publish online

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