When you choose New from the File menu in Adobe InDesign, you may have noticed the option to create a new book without ever knowing exactly what a book is. Well, in fact, books are a fairly nifty feature: they allow you to take a series of related InDesign document and treat them as a single entity; a book. All documents in the book can then share resources such as paragraph and character styles, colour swatches, master pages, sections and page numbering.
Having created a book, by choosing File-New-Book, the Book panel is displayed. It contains a panel menu with all the necessary options. The first task is to add documents to the book: from the Book panel menu, choose “Add Document” and select the documents you want to be treated as part of the book.
The book file can now be saved. The book is a separate entity to the documents it contains and the documents in a book do not have to reside in the same location as the book or as each other. To save the book, choose Save Book in the Book panel menu.
Next specify which of the documents in the book will be treated as the style source. The document elected as the style source will be used as the master document in the process known as synchronization whereby InDesign replaces the colour swatches and styles of all documents in the book with those in the style source document.
To control page numbering across the whole book, choose Book Page Numbering Options in the Book panel menu. The default behaviour is “Automatically Update Page & Section Numbers”: this will number pages in the documents within the book according to the order in which they are listed in the Book panel.
You can replace an existing chapter of a book with another InDesign document by simply selecting an existing book chapte and choosing Replace Document from the panel menu. Next, navigate to the replacement document and double-click to select it. InDesign will then replace the selected chapter with the new document. Deleting chapters from a book is equally straightforward. Just highlight the chapter(s) and choose Remove Document from the panel menu, or click the Remove Document icon at the bottom of the Book panel.
Books are a great tool for division of labour since the fact that a document is part of a book does not stop it from being a regular InDesign document. If a book contains five documents, five different people can work on each of those documents and then, at the end, the whole book can be preflighted, printed and output as PDF as a single unit.
Both tables of contents and indexes can also be generated for an entire book as well as for a single document. Simply create the table of contents or index in the normal way but activate the option “Include Book Documents”.