Indesign master pages

by Design Workshop Sydney

Adding Master Pages in Indesign is one of the features for working efficiently with multi-page documents. We show you how in our Adobe Indesign courses.Indesign-master-page
First create a new document either by going to File > New document, or by going to File > Open > and navigating to a template (indt file).
After entering the number and sizes of pages, with margins and columns, we would create at least two layers: one for graphics and one for text.
Then we would add any Master Page elements – these could be automatic page and section numbering (see another blog post for this subject), headers and footers or side bars, any company logos or background watermarks. Basically any repeatable item that you wish to appear on the same location on multiple pages.
We do this by double-clicking on the A-Master label at the top of the pages panel. Each new document has one master page by default (the A-Master), but you can have as many as you like. In the example shown here, we have added a page number and the company website ( on the outer edge of the page, and a leaf image at the spine (the area between two pages of a spread). On a double-page spread (which is the default), you will have a left and right-hand page.
By default this A-Master is applied to all of the pages – note the small letter A on each page. Anything placed on the left page of the master will appear on each left-hand page, and the same for the right-hand page of the master. You can only apply one master to each local page, so you may have several combinations of elements on various master pages. And sometimes you don’t want any master elements on a page, for example you probably don’t want page numbering on the front and back pages. So we apply the None master page to those pages.
To apply a master page there are two methods. First you can simply click & drag the master onto the local page. But for multiple pages this is a labour-intensive chore. In this case we would right-click on the Master page and choose Apply Master to Pages. A dialog box will open, and we can type in the page numbers we wish the master to be applied to – you can enter numbers separated by commas and hyphens for a series of numbers. Any local pages added later will have the master page applied to them automatically.
Applying master pages will make your workflow much more efficient, and is an easy process. More tips can be found at the Sydney Indesign User Group which meets regularly in the city, and is a free forum for designers to discuss topics and the latest Indesign features. See many examples of our own clients’ work on our Facebook page.
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