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InDesign Book Projects

Manage your InDesign projects with Book Projects

If you have a large project (more than, say, 300 pages) or if the project breaks down easily into logical sections (eg product categories, states, etc.) there are many advantages to using InDesign's excellent Book feature.

With a Book you can:

  • Organise the "chapters" that comprise the publication.

  • Add or delete pages in one chapter and the page numbers for the following chapters will automatically adjust.

  • Build TOCs (Tables of Contents) and indexes across all the chapters in one go.

  • Synchronise the styles across some or all of the chapters.

Overview of a Book Project

Here's an example of a Book project:

This Book is comprised of:

  • A section of Introductory Pages

  • 13 documents for different categories.

  • An Index

Style Source 

The primary care chapter has been marked as the Style Source. This means that any changes made to the styles and swatches in that document can quickly be replicated to the other documents (see the Synchronise button).

Page Numbers

Shows the starting and ending page numbers for each chapter.

Document State

Various icons might appear to the right of the page numbers. A dot (as shown here) indicates that the document is open. If you see different icons, you can move your mouse pointer over an icon to find out what it means.

Button Bar

There are 5 buttons at the bottom of the window:

InDesign Book button bar
Synchronise Button

Synchronise styles and swatches with the Style Source (01 Primary Care in our example).


Save the book project.


Print the book.


Add another chapter to the book.


Remove the selected chapter(s) from the book.

Chapters can be re-ordered by dragging them up and down in the list. The page numbers will automatically be updated in all affected chapters.

Double-click on a chapter to open it.

Creating a Book Project

To create a Book, follow these steps:

  1. Create one or more documents to go into the book.

  2. In InDesign, choose New->Book ... from the File menu.

  3. Choose where to save the book (in the project folder with the other InDesign documents, logically), enter a name for it, and save it.

  4. Add chapters to the book by clicking on the Add button in the Book pallette.

Using the Book Project

Once you've set up a Book, you should always use it to edit any of the chapters within it. If you don't (i.e., if you open a document independently of the book) the page numbers won't be updated.

First, open the Book (File->Open ...) and then double-click on the chapter you want to edit.

Work on the document just as you normally would, and save it when you're done.

Building a Table of Contents

If you use InDesign's TOC feature, you can easily tell it to include all the chapters in the book

Building an Index

When building an index, you can tell InDesign to index the entire Book in one go:

Synchronising the Chapters

Suppose you have 25 chapters in your book, and you decide to change the font that is used in one of your Paragraph Styles. It would be quite tedious to have change that in each chapter.

But you don't have to! Just make the change in the chapter that is marked as the Style Source, then click the Synchronise button. The styelsheet will be updated in all the chapters.

You can easily make any chapter the Style Source by clicking the Style Source button for that chapter.

To see exactly what objects will be synchronised, and to de-select any that you do NOT want to synchronise, choose Synchronise Options from the flyout menu at the top right of the Book pallette:

Simply un-check any items you don't want to synchronise.

Printing the book

You can print individual chapters in the usual way, or you can print the complete book by clicking the Print button.

Other printing options can found on the flyouit menu at the top righthand corner of the Book palette - see the image above.

Important Notes!
  1. Once a document has been added to a book, you should always edit it by first opening the Book and then double-clicking on the document within the Book pallette. IF you don't open it this way, changes that you make (such as adding or deleting pages) will not automatically be reflected in the other chapters.

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