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Chapter 2. Page Layout > Creating a New Publication

Creating a New Publication

When you choose New from the File menu, InDesign displays the New Document dialog box (see Figure 2-1). You use the controls in this dialog box to set up the basic layout of the pages in your publication. Don’t worry—you’re not locked into anything; you can change these settings at any time, or override any of them for any page or page spread in your publication. Getting them right at this point, however, might save you a little time and trouble later on.

  • Number of Pages. How many pages do you want? We tend to start with one page and add pages as we go along, but you might want to think ahead and add a bunch at once.


    To enter the starting page number of the document, you use section options (in the Pages palette; see “Defining Sections,” later in this chapter).

  • Facing Pages. If you’re creating a single-sided document—like an advertisement, poster, or handbill—leave Facing Pages turned off. Turn it on for books and magazines, which usually have both left-(verso) and right-hand (recto) pages.

  • Master Text Frame. Should InDesign create a text frame on the master page? If so, turn the Master Text Frame option on. The width and height of this “automatic” text frame are defined by the area inside the page margins; its column settings correspond to the column settings for the page.

  • Page Size. Pick a page size according to the final size of your printed document (after trimming), not the paper you’re printing on. The Page Size pop-up menu lists most of the standard sizes, but you can always type your own page width and height (in which case, the Page Size pop-up menu changes to “Custom”). If you often need a particular custom page size, see “Document Presets,” below, for more on how to save custom setups.

  • Columns. When you specify that a document should have more than one column, InDesign divides the area between the margin guides by the number of columns you choose. The result is several column guides—which are very similar to regular guides, but can affect text flow. Your next decision is the amount of gutter space. Sometimes people use the word “gutter” to refer to the inside page margin, but this is different. Here, gutter is the blank space between column guides. David almost never uses column guides, partly because there is currently no way to lock them in place, so he is forever accidentally moving them on his document pages. Instead, when he wants multiple columns, he fakes it by placing his own (locked) guides where the column guides would be. We discuss guides later in this chapter.

  • Margins. The Margins feature lets you specify the size of your margins on all four sides of a page. When you turn on the Facing Pages option, “Left” and “Right” change to “Inside” and “Outside.” You can always change your margin guides later, on a specific page or for a master page.

  • Bleed and Slug. Bleeding an object off the side of the page means it extends past the page boundary so that when the printed page gets trimmed, the color or image goes all the way to the edge of the page. A slug is a picture (like a logo) or information (like a contact phone number) that you want printed outside the edge of your printed page, so that it shows up on a proof sheet, film, or press, but it, too, will get trimmed off the final result.

    Increasing the values of the Bleed and Slug settings (click the More Options button if you can’t see these in the dialog box) does two things: It tells InDesign to add guides on the pasteboard around the page, and it changes the default bleed values in the Print dialog box. That’s all! There’s no magic going on here. You can bleed items off your page and add slugs manually even if you don’t set a bleed and slug value here; you just have to remember to change the Bleed setting in the Print dialog box yourself. No big deal. That said, some folks get very excited about the Bleed and Slug features.



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