Real World InDesign 2
Book Review

Real World InDesign 2
By Olav Martin Kvern and David Blatner

Peachpit Press
650 pages
ISBN: 0201773171
Price: $44.99 US $69.99 Canada

I was delighted when Adobe introduced InDesign. Finally, I thought, a program that will let me do everything I need without going back and forth from Quark to Photoshop. Then I got the program. And I thought, bloody hell, I’m going to need a four-year college course to learn this. Then I got Real World InDesign 2 by Olav Martin Kvern and David Blatner, and saw a light at the end of the tunnel.

The chapter layout of the book is excellent. Chapter One is called Workspace and details all the windows, palettes, menus, shortcuts, preferences, defaults, navigation, plug-ins, even how to get help. Kvern and Blatner use clear and concise wording, which appeals to a non-professional such as myself. I’m not a graphics professional, and even though I’ve used some of Adobe’s products in the past I’ve not always known what the various tools are. The authors define the functions first, then tell you how to use them. For example: “The Polygon tool makes it easy to draw equilateral polygons, such as pentagons, hexagons, and dodecagons. (Polygons are closed geometric objects that have at least three sides; they’re equilateral if all sides are the same length.)”

The authors writing style take the dullness out of what could be a hibernation inducing text. For instance, in the section called “workgroup preferences” the paragraph starts with this text: “WebDAV is a file control system for people who regularly read Dave Barry’s “humor” columns. We are not making this up. No, actually we are.” Each chapter ends with a quirky, humorous story. If only school textbooks could be so much fun!

Following is an overview of the chapters in this book. Each chapter has much more information than is highlighted below.

Chapter One, Workspace, is written above.

Chapter Two covers all aspects of Page Layout, from creating a new publication to locking object positions.

Chapter Three, Text, teaches how to create text frames, importing and editing text, file linking, spell checking.

Chapter Four is about Type, fonts, paragraph formatting and styles.

Chapter Five is on Drawing. I’m intimidated by pencil and pen tools, but the authors manage enough humor in this chapter to make even me want to play with this feature more. The final section in this chapter is called “Drawing Conclusions”.

Chapter Six, Where Text Meets Graphics, is about creating, editing, and formatting tables.

Chapter Seven, Importing and Exporting, includes instructions on EPS, PDF, HTML, SVG, and XML. Wow! Talk about comprehensive!

Chapter Eight, Long Documents, tells how to create books, table of contents, and indices.

Chapter Nine, Transforming, (The Transformation Palette Is Your Friend), includes scaling, rotating and aligning/distributing objects.

Chapter Ten, Color, tells how to use color with all the color tools and palettes available.

Chapter Eleven, Printing, has information from setup to preflight and packaging.

Chapter Twelve, Scripting, covers everything you want to know about scripting, but were afraid to ask.

This book is written for both Macintosh and Windows. The book was produced using InDesign2. David Blatner is an internationally known expert on digital publishing and the author or numerous books, including one of my favorites, The Joy of Pi. ( for an overview.) Olav Martin Kvern is an award-winning illustrator, graphic designer, software developer and writer. He currently works on the InDesign Developer Technologies team at Adobe.

MacMice Rating: 5 out of 5
Comprehensive, clear, and concise instructions on difficult subject matter.

Beth Lock

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