How to Bookmark and Tag a PDF Using Adobe Creative Suite

This entry is part 1 of 18 in the seriesTutorials


PDF bookmarks are great. They can serve both as a table of contents and a quick navigation tool for all users. Tablet and desktop users alike appreciate the ability to jump to specific sections of a book without having to navigate back to the Table of Contents, look up a page number, and then search for that page number. Best of all, they’re not very difficult to add to your documents.

In this tutorial, I’ll walk you through creating bookmarks using Adobe Creative Suite, which includes InDesign and Acrobat Pro. For the purpose of this tutorial I will be using CS6, or version 6 of the creative suite, but many of these features have been around since earlier versions.

As an added bonus, you’ll also learn how to create tagged PDFs which tell screen reader software how to read your document to blind and low-vision users. This step is usually as simple …
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Tips for Blogging from Microsoft Word

This entry is part 2 of 18 in the seriesTutorials


Blogging is an important part of any publisher’s toolbox, but it’s also a fun activity for other hobbyists. Though it’s possible to do all of your blogging directly in a browser, it can be helpful to create blog posts offline and upload them later.

Why would you want to do such a thing? There are a few great reasons:

  • Working offline means cutting down distractions. If you’re working in a word processor rather than your browser of choice, you don’t have the entire internet at your fingertips to distract you.
  • You create offline backups of your work as you create it. IF your blog goes down for some reason, you still have copies of your posts. (You are still remembering to back up your blog regularly though, right?)
  • It can be easier to work in a familiar environment. Word was designed for writing large blocks of text. Browsers weren’t.
  • You can write several posts at …
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Prepare Your Game Manuscript to Send to Layout Pt. 1

This entry is part 3 of 18 in the seriesTutorials


It’s an amazing feeling to see your game designs turned into a proper book, complete with complimentary art, typefaces, and all of the other bells and whistles. But how does it get from the stream of text you’ve entered into your word processor to the final product your adoring fans will download (or better yet, see on the shelves at their FLGS)?

After you’ve written your manuscript, it needs to be entered into a desktop publishing program such as Adobe’s InDesign or Scribus, the open source alternative. Once imported into the layout software, the layout artist can manipulate all of the text you’ve written and transform it from a stone wall of text to an elegant sculpture.

To do that, your layout designer needs to have a few cues about what sort of text elements your manuscript contains. Without any sort of guidance, it can be a time-consuming and error-prone process as …
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Prepare Your Game Manuscript to Send to Layout Pt. 2

This entry is part 4 of 18 in the seriesTutorials


In last week’s post, I showed you how to use Stylesheets to keep a consistent look and feel throughout your document.  Using Stylesheets will also help improve your manuscripts’s ability to be cleanly imported into layout software such as Adobe InDesign.

This week, we’ll discuss a few DOs and DON’Ts about manuscript formatting that will further improve compatibility with import workflows. If you follow these tips, your layout artist will thank you. Otherwise, they’ll grit their teeth and, depending on how their day has been going, swear a lot because they have to fix everything manually.

Why This All Matters

Most layout programs are capable of importing documents from various programs such as MS Word and LibreOffice, and they have a lot of different settings available when doing so. Ideally, your layout artist will be able to automate as much of the import workflow as possible, which increases speed and consistency …
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Prepare Your Game Manuscript to Send to Layout Pt. 3

This entry is part 5 of 18 in the seriesTutorials


Last week I explained some DOs and DON’Ts of manuscript formatting. Today, we’ll take a more advanced look at how you can markup your document for quick, easy, and — best of all — consistent layout.

Markup Basics

If you’ve ever looked at HTML — the code behind a website — you’ll be familiar with what markup is.  By using a series of simple tags, you tell the web browser (or, in this case, the layout person) how to interpret your manuscript.

Markup for a manuscript may look something like this:

<h1>Chapter 1: World History

A bit of information about the history of <strong>My World.</strong> Here’s a list of some of the cool things you’ll find:


Item 1

Item 2

Item 3


The tags that precede or surround certain elements tell a lot about the manuscript. The <h1> tag, for example, tells us that “Chapter 1: World …
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How to Import a Manuscript to InDesign CS6

This entry is part 6 of 18 in the seriesTutorials


For the past few weeks, I have been showing authors how to prepare their manuscripts for export to layout software such as Adobe’s industry-leading InDesign. In the following few tutorials, I’ll show layout professionals how to import a properly-prepared document.

There are a few ways to do this, and there isn’t necessarily any right or wrong way. There are slower and faster ways, and generally speaking the faster import methods take more preparation work. In the long run though, all that prep pays off.

In these tutorials I will focus on InDesign CS6 for Windows. Most of these processes are similar on Macs; just substitute any mention of the CTRL key for the Command key and you’ll likely get the result you’re looking for.

Also, some of these processes have not changed over the last few versions of InDesign, so even if you’re using CS 4 or …
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The Secret to Simple Manuscript Import with InDesign CS6

This entry is part 7 of 18 in the seriesTutorials


Last week I showed you how to import a manuscript to InDesign CS6 using the standard import dialog. You created Paragraph and Character Styles and mapped them to the styles from the imported document.

It was pretty simple, but it doesn’t always get things right. You may have to do some additional tweaking afterward, and that can take quite a lot of time.

If you’ve followed the past few Tutorial Tuesdays, I’ve been hinting at a way to import a manuscript and apply styles that is quick, easy, and largely automated. It does require some forethought and set-up, but once you’ve figured out the basics it’s hard to want to do it any other way.

Create Your Paragraph Styles and Document Markup

Before you begin importing your manuscript, you’ll want to create your Paragraph and Character Styles. See last week’s post on how …
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How to Apply GREP Quickly with InDesign Scripts

This entry is part 8 of 18 in the seriesTutorials


If you’ve been following Tutorial Tuesdays lately, you’ll remember that we recently learned how to apply Paragraph Styles to a manuscript with markup using GREP. Even though GREP is a largely automated process, we were still applying the styles one at a time through the Find / Change dialog, and that’s time-consuming

I hinted at a way to automate the process of applying styles using GREP and some of InDesign’s powerful built-in Scripts. This week, I’ll show you how to do that.

But First!

If you’d like to follow along, download the demonstration file and import it to InDesign. Even if you downloaded the file last week, you might want to download it again; I updated it with a few new Character Styles that we’ll be using in today’s example.

MKM Circus Craziness Tutorial File

Making Magic Happen with GREP

This entry is part 9 of 18 in the seriesTutorials


If you have been following along lately, you’ll be familiar with how to access GREP (Global Real Expression Parser) from InDesign’s Find / Change dialog. If not, I recommend reading the last two posts in the series to get yourself up to speed.

GREP is a powerful tool worth mastering. Learning to use it effectively improves productivity and sets you apart from the pack. It can’t make your designs better all by themselves, but it will certainly help you implement your designs quickly, easily, and consistently.

If you’ve spent any time reading GREP tutorials on the internet, you’ll notice a lot of techniques are geared toward general purpose design work. It can be difficult to find expressions that are geared toward the special needs and common design scenarios used by RPG and board game publishers. This week, I’ll share a few of the favorites I’ve either learned or developed on my own.

A …
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Keeping Your Text Flow Flowing: Removing Text Dams

This entry is part 10 of 18 in the seriesTutorials


With a birthday, a new product launch, looming Kickstarter campaign, and a baby on the way, I’ve been pretty busy this week. That means I haven’t had time to do an in-depth tutorial for you, but I’d still like to talk generally about a few things you can do to structure your books to improve both readability and accessibility.

This week’s post may be more fluff than crunch, but it’s still substantial. Readability matters to everyone — a book that isn’t laid out properly just isn’t very useful. It also improves accessibility to people with print disabilities though, so by following some good guidelines you can ensure your book is suited for the widest possible audience.

Readability Concerns

Importing documents into your layout program of choice is usually pretty simple. You import the manuscript, assign styles, and your text simply flows from one page to the next As you …
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