Adobe InDesign can be a bit daunting for first-time users. It can even be a bit daunting for experienced users at times. InDesign is a powerful piece of desktop publishing software, but is a lot more complicated than Word or Works, since its emphasis is on total control of design elements. Using templates is a nice way to ease into InDesign, and you can choose from built-in templates from magazines to business cards, or download templates and import them.
Download the templates you wish to import. Adobe has hundreds of freebies on its InDesign Exchange site. As of April 2011, Adobe provides 139 free templates to help you start your design projects, including label sheets, CD jewel cases, wall- or wallet-sized calendars, coupons, pamphlets, newsletters and postcards. You can find more templates in the pay section and on the Internet at large, of course. Adobe's programs always spawn huge Internet groups, and InDesign is no exception, with designers coming together on InDesigning.net and InKD.com.
Save your downloaded templates into a common folder that you can remember later. InDesign has a "Templates" folder in its installation directory, but you don't have to use this, necessarily, as the default templates will mix with your downloaded templates and finding a specific one may get tricky, especially if you download a lot. Instead, create a "My Templates" folder and save your downloads here.
Open InDesign to import your newly downloaded templates. You may have looked for an "Import template" command in the past, but it's not as complicated as that. Simply click "File" and then "Open" and browse to the folder where you saved templates in Step 2 above. Select "Normal" from the "Types" drop-down menu. Choose the template you wish to open and click "Open."
Save the project as a new file to avoid accidentally saving over the template. Click "File" and "Save as … " then type in a new name for the file and save it as an InDesign project file, not a "Normal" template.
Change the text and elements in the file in InDesign to make the template your own. You can edit the text with the text tool or place new images by double-clicking an image that's on the file. Use the paragraph palette to change the way the font looks and the spacing. You can even alter the layout by dragging elements around with the mouse. If you want to modify the template and make it your own, don't choose "Save as … "; choose "Save." This will overwrite the template with your new work.