The Imposition, What A Blast
March 21, 2012 12:18 PM   Subscribe

Can you help me fake a reader layout/imposition mock-up for a printing project WITHOUT using the hated Excel?

Although the designers use InDesign, reader layouts are created and passed around in Excel. This is basically a spreadsheet with a bunch of numbered rectangles with different colors to denote editorial, ads, listings. Details are entered with text boxes, like "dining story goes on this page." It's often necessary to move around the ads or change the editorial.

I think Excel is overkill for this, the rectangles always wind up getting off center and it's just a mess trying to go back and forth with text boxes. (Also, I suck at Excel, which is probably the real problem.) Fortunately, my new boss also hates Excel, and has said "if you can come up with anything easier that we can easily mail around, go for it." Again, no actual content flows into this mock-up, so nothing has to be upside down, etc.

Please help.
posted by 2soxy4mypuppet to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
What you need is a collaborative wireframing tool. Try Balsamiq.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:24 PM on March 21, 2012

I've heard of Excel mis-use, but this, god, that's entirely another thing. That sounds awful.

Try a tool actually designed for mockups. I like Balsamiq a lot, which has a free demo.
posted by odinsdream at 12:24 PM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

How about Inkscape? It saves to PDF and actually would let you rotate text too.
posted by XMLicious at 12:25 PM on March 21, 2012

Came here to mention Balsamiq as well.

Otherwise... maybe Visio?
posted by inigo2 at 12:55 PM on March 21, 2012

Definitely Balsamiq.
posted by instamatic at 1:06 PM on March 21, 2012

Thanks! I downloaded the free demo. It looks like it would be great for websites, a bit confusing so far but I'll persevere!
posted by 2soxy4mypuppet at 1:16 PM on March 21, 2012

If you're stuck with MS Office products, have you tried Publisher? It's made for this kind of thing.
posted by platinum at 3:16 PM on March 21, 2012

Y'all are rock stars, and Balsamiq is doing everything I need it to! Except one tiny thing, which may be in the Support section but I can't find it.

I need to create a bunch of boxes that correspond to specific ads (John's full page, Suzy's quarter page) that I can pull them into the master and then they're gone (like from the symbols or assets menu), so I can tell when everything is placed in the doc. Any suggestions for how to do this, or pointers to appropriate help section?

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for the Balsamiq intro!
posted by 2soxy4mypuppet at 11:43 AM on March 22, 2012

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