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Is it better to create a long document, or book, with multiple documents or one long document?

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sandy rangs
Is it better to create a long document, or book, with multiple documents or one long document?
on Apr 15, 2016 at 12:05:49 am

I'm helping someone create a very long document in InDesign, and we would like to have the features of automatic Table of Contents generated and will update with pages automatically, and page numbers automatically change as the document grows.

We have all of the text, and will be adding images and graphics.

Before beginning, I'm wondering what approach is better...multiple documents arranged in a book, or one long document with formatting and scripts.

And if anyone has any helpful video tutorials out there, I'd love to hear of them.

Thanks!


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Kalle Kannisto
Re: Is it better to create a long document, or book, with multiple documents or one long document?
on Apr 16, 2016 at 7:38:49 am
Last Edited By Kalle Kannisto on Apr 16, 2016 at 7:41:58 am

It depends on what you will have in the table of contents and indices, as well as in the other numbering systems, such as automatic numbering in headings and running heads. If you need chapter names/numbers or other such book parts, you will want to do it with the book file and separate files for the chapters. If you just need page numbers for TOC and index, it is easier to do it in one long document.

The book function is very useful if you are building a book out of sequence (with multiple writers for instance), or where you have scientific numbering styles for the chapters and articles. It makes rearranging parts much simpler. If things need to go on spreads or specific pages, such as every chapter starting on a recto page, it is easier to control as a book.

In addition, my determining factor if often how the manuscript is delivered. If it is all in one document, I'm likely to do the layout in one document, whereas if it is in multiple documents, I'm more likely to do it with the book function and multiple files. And the number of pages in itself might be a factor. I wouldn't do a thousand-page book in one document.

In some cases, you don't have a choice, but those are rare: For instance, if you need an automated table of contents in the beginning of each chapter, you have to do separate files for each chapter.

In most cases, either way will work.

tldr: Since it sounds like you have a really long book, I'd recommend doing it with the book function.


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