Adobe InDesign CS One-on-One

by Deke McClelland. 473 pp. plus CD-ROM. Deke Press/O’Reilly, 2005. $44.95.

As I’ve upgraded to the various versions of Adobe InDesign (CS is the third iteration), more than a few of the new features and improvements have blown right past me in the hustle of day to day production. I’ve yearned for a way to take advantage of the power of the latest version without having to slog through a “this is a menu, this is a mouse” beginner’s text. On the other hand, I didn’t want to bog down in the minutae of advanced design techniques.

Enter Adobe InDesign CS One-on-One. This superb book and CD turned out to be just right for getting up to speed on InDesign CS. Along the way I learned some new techniques, got a needed refresher course in others, and picked up plenty of ideas for improving my work.

Author Deke McClelland approaches tasks not with theory but with practicality, teaching, for example, which alert dialog boxes can be ignored and which ones need to be attended to. The book’s lessons cover real world situations such as relinking graphics and substituting fonts to make a Quark document usable. The CD-ROM augments the text with two hours of video lessons, each lesson designed to be viewed when beginning the corresponding book-based lesson. The CD also includes lesson files for each chapter and a very cool set of custom InDesign preferences, color settings and keyboard shortcuts.

McClelland is a first-rate trainer who can convey a wealth of information in a friendly, affable manner, both on video and in print. The book is nicely designed and illustrated, and the text strikes just the right balance between detail and readability. McClelland does a particularly good job of explaining potential sticking points in InDesign – a result, no doubt, of years of training experience.

Total Training’s excellent production values make the videos a pleasure to watch, and the contents are perfect springboards for the projects presented in each chapter.

Whether you’re coming from PageMaker, Quark or InDesign, or are turning your hand to page design for the first time, Adobe InDesign CS One-on-One is a terrific resource. Most highly recommended.

– Elsa Travisano
Copyright ©2005 by Elsa Travisano. This review appeared in the April 2005 issue of Newsbreak, the newsletter of MUG ONE - Macintosh User Group of Oneonta, NY.