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Using master pages

Elements that are used repeatedly on several or all pages of a document are best stored as master pages. Such elements may include grid lines, section prefixes, page number placeholders, images, text, or empty frames ready to be used in specific locations. In the following section, you will create placeholders for automatic page numbers on the master page.

If the Pages palette is not already visible, choose Window > Pages to open it.

InDesign has already defined an A-Master and applied it to every page in the document, indicated by the letter A on the page icons. The A-Master is where the column and margin settings are stored in the New Document dialog box. Modifying this A-Master will automatically modify every page in the document, unless a different master, or the master named [none], is applied to a page.

Now, place the text frames for the current page number in the lower-left and lower-right corners of the page spread. InDesign will keep track of the actual page number for each page in the document; all you have to do is insert a special placeholder character on the master page.

Display the A-Master spread for editing by choosing its name from the Page pop-up menu in the lower-left corner of the document window. Any change made to these master pages will be automatically applied to all pages based on them. (See illustration on next page.)

The Page pop-up menu in the lower left corner of the document window enables you to jump directly to any page or master page in the document.

Select the Type tool from the toolbox. The pointer changes to a type cursor when moved inside the document window.

If necessary, reposition the A-Master pages in the document window in order to see the lower left corner of the left page. Click the lower-left corner of the first column of the left page, and drag to the right and down. Release the pointer when the frame is one column wide and about a third to half an inch high. A blinking insertion point will appear in the newly created text frame, ready to fill the frame with text.

Choose Type > Insert Special Character > Auto Page Number. A letter A (the prefix of the master page name), will appear in the text frame, acting as placeholder for the actual page number on each page.

With the cursor still blinking in the text frame, make sure Align left is selected in the Paragraph palette (Window > Type & Tables > Paragraph).

To create a page number text frame for the right page, copy the text frame you have just made and move it to the right. Change the alignment to Align right.

Choose the Selection tool from the toolbox. Select the page number text frame, if it is not selected already. Choose Edit > Duplicate. Click the new copy of the text frame, and drag it over to the right page of the A-Master spread. Position it under the last column on that page. With the text frame still selected, choose Align right in the Paragraph palette.

Flipping through the document pages (e.g. by using the Page pop-up menu, or the Next Page and Previous Page arrow head icons in the lower left corner of the document window), you will see that the correct page number appears in the lower left or lower right side of each page.

Since there is normally no page number on the front page of a newsletter, this needs to be deleted on page 1. Alternatively, since the front page of a newspaper generally has a different look from the other pages, it could be appropriate to create a custom master specifically for this page. For this exercise, however, we will try to work with one master only.

When you try to select the page number frames, you will notice that the usual way of simply clicking them does not work. Master page elements on a page need to be edited differently. This is to avoid accidental changes to elements that are intended to remain consistent on all pages. To select a master page element on a page, press Ctrl-Shift (Windows) or Command-Shift (Mac OS) on the keyboard, and then click the element. Subsequent changes made to the element will replace the content of the master page element.

Double-click the icon for page 1 in the Pages palette to go to page 1 of the document. If necessary, scroll down to see the lower right corner of the page. Ctrl-Shift-click / Command--Shift-click the text frame containing the page number to select the frame, and then press the Delete key to delete it.

Although a page number will no longer appear on the front page of the newsletter, page numbers are still in place on the remaining pages.

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