Basic InDesign Tutorial in Creating Your First Book Layout – Part 2


After long delay, I finally got to continue this InDesign book layout tutorial. Previously in Part 1, we discussed creating a book layout from planning to using all the basic features in InDesign in placing your text manuscript to formatting them with paragraph styles. With part 1, you’ll basically have a pretty much decent looking book layout. But two things are still left out, footnotes and table of contents. Thus, we promised to give you part 2 so you could learn how to add and format footnotes, and create table of contents.

Adding and formatting footnotes

When you import your Word document file to InDesign  (File > Place), you’ll have the option to include footnotes or endnotes from your document. To do that, you’ll have to tick the “Show Import Options” in the Import dialogue box (see figure below).

InDesign show import options

From the Word document Import Options, you’ll find options to import both footnotes and endnotes. Check only the options you need. In our case, we will choose footnotes only. The press OK.

InDesign footnotes endnotes import options

InDesign will import footnotes as dynamic footnotes, except for footnotes in tables and endnotes. Dynamic footnotes retain interconnection between reference footnote number and footnote text. InDesign automatically applies superscript to the footnote marker or reference number (see sample figure below). The footnote text will also automatically import Microsoft Word’s footnote style named “Footnote Text” and character style “Footnote Reference”.

InDesign footnote import

You may edit the “Footnote Text” paragraph style to your preference. We discussed about paragraph styles in Part 1 of our InDesign book tutorial. On a regular sized book, I would normally set my footnote to 8 pts. in size. You may also customize the default “Footnote Reference” character style if you want.

After editing your footnote paragraph style, you may now globally format your footnotes by invoking the Document Footnote options (Type > Document Footnote Options).

InDesign document footnote options

The Numbering options are pretty much basic, you use it if you want to change numbering style and starting footnote reference number. In the Formatting options, you may change the Character Style from “none” to the “Footnote Reference” Character style or leave it as is. Then change the Footnote Formatting, Paragraph Style from “Basic Paragraph” to the one you just customized which is the “Footnote Text” paragraph style.

Next, click the Layout tab to format your footnotes’ appearance further. Under the Layout tab, I would just set the Minimum Space Before First Footnote to 3mm, then set the footnote line separator to just 0.25 pts. because the default line separator of 1 pt. is just too thick. All other options can be adjusted based on your preferences.

InDesign footnote options layout

A sample of how our footnote looks like is shown below.

InDesign footnote sample

Adding footnotes inside InDesign is as simple as positioning your text cursor on the location of the footnote reference number, then right click and select Insert Footnote. After which, a footnote reference number will automatically be added and you will be prompted below to insert your footnote text.

Adding and formatting table of contents

Adding table of contents (TOC) on long documents like books can tasking if done manually. I know how hard it is. I was doing it manually before when I was still beginning to use InDesign and haven’t discovered yet its TOC feature. And yes, thankfully, InDesign has it. The TOC featute of InDesign offers a lot of flexibility and many options which you can explore on your own. But for this tutorial, we will just cover the basic things we need to create a simple TOC for our book.

To prepare our TOC, you’ll need a page or two to contain it. Then while you’re on your TOC page, go to Layout > Table of Contents. When the Table of Contents dialogue box shows up, do the following steps.

1. Click the “More Options” button on the right to display additional options.

2. Change your TOC title to your preferred title like “Table of Contents”, instead of the default “Content”.

3. From the “Other Styles” column, select the paragraph styles you want to include in your table of contents. Ex. “Heading 1”, “Heading 2”, etc.

4. Change the entry style to any style you want or a special TOC paragraph style you may have created prior to adding the TOC. By default they are set to “Same Style” which means same paragraph style of your TOC entry. You may not want it that way (default) if you want to have a consistent style throughout your TOC.

InDesign table of contents dialogue box

5. Click OK then click and drag the loaded text cursor onto your TOC page.

The new table of contents may appear a little like the one shown below. You will need to format it further to have a better looking table of contents.

InDesign unformatted TOC

Fix it by adding line spaces between main sections (front matters, chapters, references, etc.). Fix also the tabs, especially tabs between entry text and page number. To fix tab the tab alignment between entry text and page numbers, open the tabs dialog box (Type > Tabs) then do the following steps.

InDesign table of contents tab

1. Position your page number tab to where you want it to align.

2. Select and enable the “Right align” tab option to make your page numbers right aligned.

3. type a period character in the leader box to create a dotted line between the entry text and page numbers.

Once your TOC is properly formatted, it may look a little something like the one shown below.

InDesign formatted TOC

That’s it. You have pretty much completed your first book layout in InDesign. You can just save it and then generate a print ready pdf file that you can send to your printer. In saving your file, it is also advisable to use the “Package” feature (File > Package) to ensure your printer will receive all the necessary files like InDesign source file, fonts, images and other linked items for your book layout.

In exporting print ready pdf file, I recommend using the preset designated PDF/X-1a: 2001. This is the industry pdf standard that has been put together specifically meant for print pdfs.

I hope readers will find these two part basic InDesign book layout tutorials helpful, especially beginners starting to learn using InDesign for long document layout like books.


  1. swapnil k 4 July, 2014 at 02:28

    Do u have the same TOC style in Word 2007 in template form. cann you please share me the same.

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