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Book Review – Adobe InDesign CS3 One-On-One by Deke McClelland

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As with all the One-on-One series, Adobe InDesign CS3 One-On-One is based on the Read-Watch-Do approach of learning. In each of the twelve lessons contained in this book the method is to read the chapter, watch the video and do the exercises. Add to that, your personal trainer is Deke McClelland, an established expert with over twenty years of professional training experience.

Adobe InDesign CS3 One-On-One is very systematic in its approach, clear in its communication and very user-friendly. Last year I reviewed the prior version of this book Adobe InDesign CS2 One-On-One, and now I will attempt to highlight what is new. First, the lesson layout and the segments are the same, so I will just briefly mention them. However, the scope of the book is expanded. Now there are over three hours of DVD video (last version had two), and over 900 full color images (previously 850), diagrams and screenshots that will illustrate your every step. The first six chapters are fundamentally the same as the prior version.

Lesson 1, "Starting a Document," gets you started by showing you how to open, setup and work with a document. Lesson 2, "Creating and Flowing Text," shows you how to work with text by importing and adjusting text. Lesson 3, "Basic Text Formatting," further advances your knowledge of working with text by showing you the character and paragraph palettes.

Lesson 4, "Lists and Tables," now shows how to format text into lists and tables as well as introducing you to specialty characters that are essential to page layout. Lesson 5, "Drawing inside InDesign," tackles the task of creating graphics from within InDesign by using the extensive collection of drawing tools. Lesson 6, "Importing and Modifying Artwork," continues the graphic concept by now working with imported artwork and the transformation as well as how to anchor graphics to text.

In lesson 7,"Transparency and Effects," introduces the new Effect palette which you will use to weave transparency into type, graphics, and imported images. Here you will learn how to set the transparency of shadows and glows as well as fading an object gradually by using a trio of feathering effects. Lesson 8, "Using Style Sheets," shows that although the eyedropper is the simplest tool for copying formatting attributes, it is by far the least of InDesign's formatting-duplication features. Here you will see that Paragraph Styles, Object Styles, and the other three varieties of style sheets will bring you much more capability. These include the new table style sheet, and another innovation to CS3, the automatic numbering and bulleting feature.

In lesson 9, "Pages, Layers, and XML," you will work with pages, layers and XML. Pages are the real pages of the document. Master pages and layers are virtual containers that are the basis for the pages. XML; the Extensible Markup Language, is used to assign tags which identify the content of your document. New to CS3 is the ability to transfer entire master pages from one document to another

In lesson 10, "Working with Long Documents," will teach you how to create long documents and books. Here you will learn about binding, how to assemble documents into a book, synchronize, and index the document. Lesson 11, "Hyperlinks, Bookmarks, and PDF" shows you how to make interactive documents by using hyperlinks, bookmarks generating them into PDF files. Lesson 12, "Printing and Output," finishes up by explaining the difference between Postscript and Inkjet printing, printing drafts and explains about the commercial printing process and what it means to you and your product.

What I like about Adobe InDesign CS3 One-On-One is that not only is it a great learning tool that reinforces what you are learning, by showing and explaining, but it takes its time to do so. These are not short chapters. At 522 pages the average lesson is 30 to 40 pages in length. There is a lot of information, but you have the time to learn at your own pace.

If you own the prior version, Adobe InDesign CS2 One-On-One, is it worth purchasing this new one? To be honest, I would have to say probably not. Most of the new techniques can be learned other places. On the other hand, if you own InDesign CS2, this book will serve you well since most of the techniques are applicable to that version also. If you are looking for a training package to learning InDesign, then Adobe InDesign CS3 One-On-One is truly a must own book. It is highly recommended.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.