InDesign Hack for CC Libraries

While traveling is all fun and enjoyable something has to pay for my tickets, like a career. While a relatively rudimentary program to maneuver around, InDesign serves it’s purpose as a useful desktop publishing program that compliments other, more commonly used graphic design programs such as Illustrator and Photoshop. While I find use for each of these programs in my daily routine, and depending on the project possibly all 3 at the same time, InDesign typically is my go-to before sending artwork to press.

In 2011 Adobe released their Creative Cloud, which many longtime users frowned upon. While a move from the typically expensive Creative Suite to a subscription based creative lifestyle seemed crazy, I have found adapting to the Cloud has become very beneficial when working with a team. The Creative Cloud resources in InDesign are extremely useful when operating amongst others either in an office setting, or remotely. Sharing assets, font’s, color palettes, photos, logos, etc. etc.. has never been easier.

However, this post is not about any of the readily available resources already on the internet, but rather a hack that I use to speed up production of designs from my teammates through pre-designed templates loaded directly into the CC Library. This hack is easy to follow and once in place you will be wondering why you hadn’t employed it already.

My company designs a lot of Flyers or Mass Marketing emails (eBlasts). The typical dimension of the Flyers are 8.5x11 inches and can be portrait or landscape depending on the order. This piece can be both front and back, but for this scenario we will focus on just one side.

For the eBlast we use dimensions that start at 650px wide and can be as long as we need. If you are familiar with adjusting the page layout in document settings, maneuvering around sizing for Creative Cloud Libraries is a piece of cake.

Step 1  Create a New Document

We will start with the Flyer first so our document size will be 8.5x11 inches

Step 2  Create your initial design

Step 3  Open CC Library Tab

In order to have access to any CC libraries you need to be connected to the Creative Cloud. Make sure your account is properly logged in, otherwise your assets will never show.

Step 4  Prepare your Design for the CC Library

This is important, especially if you are using layouts that are not the standard Portrait 8.5x11 inches. InDesign will default to creating Creative Cloud Artboards at 8.5x11 inches. 

In order to get around this, I create a box with no stroke and no fill around the entire design

*In this case I have made the fill red so you can see what I am talking about.

Step 5  Adding your template to the CC Library

Once you have created your invisible box, select ALL of the elements you want to create for your template and click the “Add Graphic” icon in the lower left hand corner of the CC Library Window.

*Because I share this Library with a group, and we won’t always be making Flyers just for me I have selected all the elements aside from My Name, Contact Info, and headshot

Step 6  Test the new Template

If you have done these steps properly, you should see a category named “Graphics” with your template in there. If you double click on the Template it will open up an editable InDesign file (I highly advise you only double click the Graphic if you intend to permanently alter the template you have created. Altering the editable graphic InDesign file will change the file forever if you save over it). If you select and drag the graphic you will see a pointer with a plus icon inside a Green circle. 

When you place the Graphic in the upper left hand corner the rest of the design you created will fall back into place where it should be. It is very important you created that invisible box, because it helps align the layout to the Document Page Size.

Step 7  Create additional Templates from the original.

You can now make different templates and save them to your library. You can even rename the new templates to better organize your files.

As soon as you add these new Graphics to the CC library they now become available to anyone on the team that is synced with that particular library. These assets are available to everyone on the team, can be changed by anyone on the team and can be deleted by anyone on the team. I highly recommend you inform your team before hand of how to use this tool so you don't have to go back and change things later.

Now, what if you are working with a file that is not 8.5x11?

Let’s take my eBlast Dimensions for now.

First, we will create a layout that is 650x650 pixels and follow the steps above.

Double-click on the Graphic to open it’s Editable file.

As you can see, the Document size is 8.5x11 inches, but because we put a box around our layout at 650x650 pixels, we have a blue border around where the Graphic is. If I were to copy everything on the Editable layout and paste in place into our Design, it will past right were it needs to be. The same would be true if I were to click and drag onto the design from the CC Library. Because of the boarder, it now fits the page size.

What happens if the dimension of the eblast is longer?

So long as you keep adjusting the page size (File>Document Setup>Page Size) you can make the file as long or wide as you like. This is a template and you don’t want to be adjusting the Editable page all that much (if ever) to begin with. So even if things don’t appear on the 8.5x11 inch artboard on the Editable page, it will appear on the size of your Design.

Once you have your templates inserted and you can explain to your team how to properly use the file without saving over your Editable templates, swapping images, logos, colors, text is easy. 

Hopefully this step-by-step has helped you.

If you have found this post useful or have any other suggestions please share and add your comments below.

Thank you!