How to Create a Master Page With InDesign

by ContributorUpdated September 15, 2017

With your deadline looming, your desktop publishing software must perform as efficiently as possible. Creating master pages in the first stages of your InDesign project can save you time in the long run. Master pages are simply what their name implies--they are pages with set items for the other pages to follow suit. Read on to learn how to create a master page with InDesign.

From Scratch

Open your Pages panel menu and choose "New Master."

Fill in the options: prefix, name, Based on Master (to refer to another page that already exists with similar items) and number of pages you want in the spread.

You will see the letter corresponding to your master on the top of your page. It is possible to have many pages in a document created from separate master pages.

From a Designed Page

Make the page first. Many designers choose to do this, first placing all the elements in their proper places. It may be helpful to think about any and all elements that could be used over time. It is easier to delete an item than go searching for it when you need it. You can then turn that designed page into its own "master" and work from that page virtually every day, and for every project where those items are needed.

In the Pages palette, make sure the page you want to turn into a master page is selected and simply drag it into the area above and rename it. Another option is to select the page and choose "Save as Master" from the twist-down menu and then rename it.

Go an extra step and create a "child" master from a "parent" master. This is called cascading. Basically a master can take on the attributes of a parent master without someone going in and changing the individual items that need to mimic another page. Select your child master page in the Pages palette and choose "Master Options for XX" (with XX being whatever you named your master page). Then choose your parent master by clicking "Based on Master." Now, whenever a change is made to the parent master, the child master will also reflect that change.


See it in action. Sometimes it helps to see a master page be used to prove that it does save time. To watch a video on master pages, go to Adobe. More training videos can be found at Lynda.

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