We have all been there; You’re going through a document making tedious and repetitive changes and you think to yourself? with a sense of defeat that “There has to be a better way to do this…” Well, there usually is. Finding ways to save time and hence giving yourself a chance to think creatively is key to doing more of the stuff you love and being generally a happier designer. Here are some ways to make that happen:


Although they may appear scary and unapproachable, scripts are a simple way to make those dull tasks quick and painless. While the Adobe suite does include some pre-installed, there are many community-created and free scripts available online. If you catch yourself doing something repetitive, stop and see if there’s a script for it.

Pdf Comments.

Receiving client feedback via a marked-up pdf is a time to rejoice. Using Indesign’s import pdf comments feature not only saves you from switching back and forth between programmes but also highlights the exact location of each change requested. This is particularly useful for text-heavy documents like annual reports.

CC Libraries.

If you work with multiple brands, you’ll know the pain of searching your finder for that particular colour code or logo version. In libraries, you’ll be able to store these assets so they’re more readily available to import into your working file. These libraries are stored in Adobe’s cloud so can be accessed using any computer, all you need to do is sign in.

Type and object styles.

Although it may be obvious that using styles in your document can increase your workflow speed significantly, there’s always the temptation to skip using them. Taking the time at the start of the project to establish these may seem tiresome but you will reap the benefits when the client changes start coming in. Pre-existing styles can also be imported into new documents if you’re working with the same brand assets/styles frequently.

Data Merges.

Integrating other programmes such as Excel to Indesign is a sure-fire way to cut down on your copying and pasting. Not only is manually importing excel data incredibly boring, but it can also lead to mistakes. So, save yourself the heartache and worry by doing some minor content prep and effortlessly importing data with a few clicks. This feature is also very useful when recreating PowerPoint/excel graphs into something more visually pleasing.

Naming conventions.

It’s a running joke in the graphic design world that file naming goes out the window as a project progresses. “Nice_brochure-05.11.22-Proof1a-A4-FINAL-AW-Print-B”  Do your wellbeing a favour and establish a structured naming and folder convention. This will save you time and worry when it comes to finding files and publishing them.

There are many ways to work more efficiently and save your creative energy when it comes to designing and although you may be tempted to skip on some of the prepping the things you can create with the newfound time will be worth it. The never-ending challenge of being able to think creatively under time pressure can be made easier by working smarter and giving yourself time. Try some of these tips and thank me later!