Adobe Indesign Design

Indesign CS5 Tutorial: Basic Rundown of Design Tools

Adobe has established itself as the top distributor of web and print design software. Indesign is a very versatile piece of software that has been helping print and web designers for years. I am going to list out all of the Indesign design tools and a basic run down of what they are used for.


Direct Selection Tool Indesign

Selection Tool: The selection tool is the tool that allows you to select objects and text and move them around freely. This will most likely be   your most used tool.

Direct Selection Tool Indesign

Direct Selection Tool: The Direct Selection tool will allow you to edit anchor points and will allow you to do some more fine tuning. It is for more detailed objects such as anchor points, resizing, and adjusting layers.

Text Tool Indesign

Text Tool: This is the tool that will allow you to place text boxes into your document. Within this tool you are able to edit and rearrange text within your document. Also, the text tool is used to change the formatting of the text (size, color, etc).

Line Tool Indesign

Line Tool: The line tool allows you to draw straight and diagonal lines within your project. Also, you can edit the width, color, and much more with this tool as well.

* Holding Shift while drawing a line will ensure that it is exactly straight.

 Pen Tool Indesign

Pen Tool: The pen tool allows you to draw custom shapes into your projects. The pen tool is a HUGE tool and has a TON of features. I will write a post later just describing this unique and valuable tool.

Gradient Tool Indesign

Gradient Tool: The gradient tool allows you to apply gradient effects to objects and text. This tool is sometimes overused by beginners due to the fact that it can be an easy fix.

Eyedropper Tool

Eyedropper Tool: The eyedropper tool allows you to select a piece of an image or object and match the color exactly. This is great when you are trying to match text color with an image on the same page.

Zoom Tool Indesign

Zoom Tool: The zoom tool allows you to easily and quickly zoom in and out to see your project better.

* Zoom In Hotkeys:     Command + for Mac and Control  + for Windows

* Zoom Out Hotkeys:   Command – for Mac and Control – for Windows

Stroke and Fill Indesign

Stroke and Fill: This is not necessarily a tool BUT it is something that you will use all the time. The stroke is the exterior and the fill is the interior. If you are working with text the stroke is the outside color and the fill is the inside color.

* You can adjust the stroke width to make thicker.

Indesign Toolbar

I did not list every single tool in this toolbar in this post, just the most relevant ones. Learning all of these and what they do will be the first steps in learning how to use Adobe Indesign. Indesign is a HUGE tool and has so many different features that cannot be put into one post. If you are looking into learning how to use Indesign start by learning what the tools do and how you can utilize them in a project. The best advice that I can give you is don’t be afraid to try things. If you are interested in learning design this is a great place to start.


Video Tutorial of Basic Indesign Tools

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  • Lauramon Dec 23,2012 at 10:45 pm

    How can I email you with a question, I find your email nowhere, on your website either….????? If I make a document in InDesign and post it on my website, can people print it out? I would like to offer a way to print it out as a document as it is. Will they be able to print it out? And how do i determine this?  Thanks so much, appreciate any help and thanks for the tutorial, Laura 

  • Welsh kenneth Apr 23,2012 at 7:00 pm

    What is the name of the tool bar at the top of the InDesign page.  It contains the font size etc. I clicked something and the bar disappeared. Thanks

    • dmporter Apr 23,2012 at 7:24 pm

      It will be the Format OR Font toolbar. You can go to Window and it will show all of your toolbars. If they are checked you will be able to see them. If they are not checked you will not. In order to show a specific toolbar just click on the one you want to see.

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