“There is only one real sin, and that is to persuade oneself
that the second-best is anything but the second-best.”
Tomek left a reader comment about his workflow when it comes to using InDesign for a Masters thesis in Architecture. Thank you 🙂 I found the comment helpful and to give it some more exposure, I copy-paste it into a posting of it’s own.
I’ll be writing my Masters thesis in Architecture next year and doing it in anything other than InDesign seems nuts to me. I need to have full control over formatting and I need it to be reliable and consistent. Not qualities that Word is known for. However, Word has it’s uses. Here’s the workflow that I have used in the past and it seems to work quite well.
– Use Zotero to create a database of your references. Zotero is free, excellent and has kickass support in Word. It makes inserting citations into our document a complete no brainer and also will create a bibliography/references page in whatever style.
– Write the body of your thesis in Word. Be sure to set up some basic styles like a range of headers, etc. Name them something specific to your thesis, you could prefix style names with a few letters that are meaningful in the context of your thesis. For example, TP-Heading-1, TP-Heading-2, TP-Footnote, etc. (TP are my initials).
– PLACE your Word document into a new InDesign file. Be sure to tick “Show Import Options”. This is where the magic happens. InDesign will import your word document with all the formatting AND it will automatically create all the styles you have created in Word (TP-Heading-1, etc).
– Now all you have to do is place the pages and tweak the newly defined styles to achieve your desired look.
So, use Word to write the words and us InDesign to format your document.
If I remember correctly how I did work with my own dissertation thesis, his way saves a lot of work regarding the formatting of headers and the like (I did it manually). And I think his way of working is especially suited for those working on Windows PCs, giving that, e.g., Papers (for literature management) is not available (love the cite-while-you-write shortcut feature). Zotero seems like a good choice (though personally, I would be careful which literature to add — if you go on a spree, you might end up with a lot of literature that clogs up the database that you never use. Sure, the database can handle it, but it might slow you down when you cite something and have to search and select the right paper).
Personally, I would still write in Scrivener and rather invest some more effort at formatting (either in the Word file or in InDesign) than write in Word. But that’s a personal choice.
And most importantly, it’s nice to have options — and know that you have them. 🙂