How to Set Up an Adobe InDesign Document

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Adobe InDesign contains many easy-to-use features for setting up any type of document, from a basic flyer to an annual report. And it all starts by selecting the following menu options:


Once you tell Adobe InDesign you’d like to create a new document, a window will pop up with mechanisms for selecting your page size, the number of columns for your document along with a “gutter” measurement for determining how far apart your columns will be set, margin measurements, bleed measurements and slug measurements.

This window also gives access to document presets, or saved document setup measurements. If you’re creating a document you plan to use with frequency, just click “Save Preset” and name your document to add it to the document presets list. Be sure to select the “facing pages” option if you’re creating a document with multiple pages.

Now that your Adobe InDesign document is created, you can apply elements to all pages by setting up master pages. Just select:


A window will appear that shows the number of pages in your document and how they are laid out. This window will allow you to add and delete pages from your document by clicking on the two toggle buttons in the lower right-hand corner. The square adds a new page, while the trash can deletes pages.

To open up your document master pages, click on the “A-Master” pages toward the top of the window. Add repetitive graphics, such as page numbers (Insert>Special Character>Auto Page Number) or logos within the master pages. Format to your liking and save, and these adjustments will be applied to your entire document.

Also within this window is a tab for layers. Create multiple layers for graphics, text and other features as you wish to keep your document organized.

Now that it’s time to start working within your document, you can make changes to your margins and columns by clicking: Layout>Margins and Columns

Or, manipulate your pages from the main menu by clicking: Layout>Pages. A menu will pop up that allows you to add or remove pages, among other options.

When typing information into your document, keep titles and paragraphs in line with guides. Create horizontal and vertical guides by clicking and holding within either the vertical or horizontal rulers outlining your document space (if you can’t see them, click View>Show Rulers), then drag over to the document. A line will automatically appear. Want the lines a different color? Click Layout>Ruler Guides and change the color within the pop-up menu.

This post is part of the series: Adobe InDesign Tutorials

Adobe InDesign is one of the best desktop publishing programs on the market today. In this series of articles, we’ll take a look at this desktop publishing software and offer tips and tricks to help you make quality print products like the pros.

  1. An Introduction to the Adobe InDesign Tutorial Series
  2. Setting Up Your Adobe InDesign Document
  3. Using the Adobe InDesign Tool Palette
  4. Creating Paragraph Styles in Adobe InDesign
  5. A Guide to Working with Images in Adobe InDesign