March 25, 2014 1 Comment
It is nice to be known as a go-to person concerning questions about InDesign, but often there are questions about InDesign that I simply have no answers for. When questions concerning InDesign arise, that is when it is time for me to:
- Ask a colleague
- Look at some of the manuals on my desk
- Use the help menu of InDesign itself
- Go onto the internet
Normally the latter happens more often than asking a colleague or referencing the books. The sites that are typically visited first are:
- Google (and ask the question as if I were asking a colleague – e.g. “how do I do … in InDesign?)
- Links that I have listed in the “Must See Resources” sidebar of Colecandoo!
The Adobe InDesign forum (above) and InDesignSecrets’ own forum are both fantastic resources that often hold the answers to questions that may arise.
Prior to asking the question straight away in a forum, use the search facilities in case a similar issue was answered already. If there is no joy using the search, then ask the question, ensuring the following are stated:
- The operating system
- Version of InDesign
- (if scripting) the script language being used
- The actual question
Stating all of this saves a lot of time for people who may have the answer to the question. Simply stating “help me”, “won’t work” or “this sucks” in the headline won’t tell a potential respondent what the specific issue is, and in many cases responders will just move onto the next post that has a descriptive headline.
Each forum has its own rules but I like to think that the following should apply to ANY advice website (and it should go without saying to use appropriate “netiquette”):
- Be nice! Forums are typically user to user, so save any frustration about the product to those who made the software, not other users who likely share the frustration. This also means that anyone answering a post is doing so in their own time and are doing so on a voluntary basis… bear this in mind.
- Mark as answered! If a forum has answered the question and there is a facility on a forum to mark a question as helpful or answered, please do so. It tells any respondent that their help was useful; it tells other users what the answer may be, and it lets future respondents know that the question has been answered and they can then invest their time in unanswered questions. Specifically on the Adobe forums, it gives the poster of the correct or helpful question “points” that shows their status within the forums. More information on Adobe forums points can be found here.
- Don’t hijack threads for unrelated issues. Contributing to a post is one thing, taking over and redirecting the thread is another.
- Be patient! Don’t “bump” old posts of yours… unless there is new vital information that may help any respondent.
- Have reasonable expectations of the forums. There is a sub-thread of the InDesign forums dedicated to scripting within InDesign and it is there to serve people who write their own scripts whilst using InDesign. While the contributors to this forum are happy to help out with specific scripting queries, it is unlikely they will write a script from scratch for a specific issue.
- Detail. If there is a specific issue, set out the steps that were taken that led up to the issue and use screengrabs if possible. This gives future respondents a chance to identify the fault, or try to attempt to replicate the fault on their own machine to see if it is a user-specific issue or if it affects every user. It doesn’t need to be War and Peace, but it needs to have more detail than a Twitter tweet.
Twitter is great for the purpose of keeping up to date with new developments as regular forum posters and providers of good information often tweet news on updates, bugs and other developments.
Reddit also has a sub-reddit for indesign = r/indesign (as well as r/creativecloud etc) and the rules follow normal Reddit and forum rules. Admittedly it is not the first place that one would assume would have an appropriate answer, but the sub-reddit is useful and does have an “answered” feature similar to the Adobe Forums.
Youtube can be an unlikely source of answers for InDesign questions. There are hundreds of tutorial videos made by InDesign users and bloggers that may answer more common questions. It is also a source of “lifted” material from paid sites, but I have no doubt that the owners of the original content will take the time to search for their own titles on youtube that shouldn’t be there, and make copyright claims in due course.
There are some unlikely sources of InDesign information. Some are via scripting resources such as:
There are also dedicated learning sites such as Lynda.com that are well worth the subscription, and feature lessons from InDesignSecrets contributors amongst other professionals.