New to InDesign? Don't know where to start? Don't know which tools to use? Start here

If you've just opened InDesign, the chances are the first thing you've looked at is the Tools Panel on the left of the screen. Like much of InDesign, there are a lot of options, and it can all appear a bit overwhelming.

But there is good news: for the vast majority of InDesign users, the vast majority of work done uses only three different tools, which I'll outline here.

The first of these, at the top, is the Selection Tool. 

As it's name implies, it's used for selecting things, for you to tell InDesign which object (text, picture etc) that you want to work with. If you think of this as the default tool to use, you won't go far wrong.

The second of the three essential tools is the Rectangle Frame Tool.  Everything in an InDesign document lives in a frame, and it's with this tool that you create those frames.


The final essential tool is the Type Tool. If you want to work with text you can either use this tool to click on an empty frame and start typing, or to select some text that's already there.


Of course there are other tools here, but for most of the work you'll likely do, these are the ones you'll use most of the time - so playing with these is a good place to start.

If you're one of those people who've suddenly acquired design responsibilities but don't have any design background, check out our free Accidental Designer course.