Alternate Layout Makes Designing Easier with InDesign CS6

Tell me if this sounds like your work flow. Traditionally when we publish a novel, we release it first in hardcover, and later in paperback and ebook form. With our current workflow we have been creating a file for the cover of the hardcover book, and archiving it. We de-archive the hardcover file and cannibalize it when it is time to resize and redesign to the paperback size. The ebook cover is then created by cropping the front of the paperback cover. All these covers are separately created, collected, filed and archived. This process is not optimal. Sometimes different designers are called to work on the iterative covers and they may not have the proper fonts or images at hand to make the changes.

This all changes with the CS6 workflow.

It is now possible with InDesign CS6 and Alternate Layouts to create the hardcover file, resize it as a paperback cover, save out the ebook cover; and do it all in the same file using the same links and fonts; and as a bonus, the text is linked from one cover to the other so any changes made to the hardcover will be reflected in the paperback and ebook covers.

Screen Snap of the an Alternate Layout example in Indesign CS6
The alternate layouts are both viewable in the Pages panel.

Last week I worked on some price lists for a photographer. He needed an order form with envelope to hand out to the class; a separate order form that listed only the package options; and a poster for the teacher to send home with students the week before the shoot. By using the resizing options in the CS6 file I was able to create all these, keep the text linked where necessary (in case of a price adjustment or typo), and share the image links among all the options.

As you can see, the alternate layouts appear next to each other in the pages panel. Each is assigned a unique name so that it is easy to identify which layout is which. Clicking on either option brings that layout to the forefront and it will fill the window. Both layouts live in one document and the text is linked. This makes it much easier to design the multiple options that so often spring up when designing a campaign or even basic printed materials.

Give it a try. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.