Change Layout Settings in InDesign CS5 - dummies

By Jennifer Smith, Christopher Smith, Fred Gerantabee

If you accepted the defaults for page orientation and size, margins, columns, and gutters when you created your InDesign Creative Suite 5 document and then find that you need to change them, you are not alone. Fortunately, InDesign CS5 makes these changes easy.

Page orientation and size

When you create a new document, you can set its page orientation and size. If you ever need to change your settings after you’ve created a document, choose File→Document Setup and change the following options, which affect all pages in your document:

  • Page Orientation: Select either Landscape or Portrait. One of the first things you decide on when you create a new document is how to orient the pages. A landscape page is wider than it is tall; a portrait orientation is taller than it is wide.

  • Page Size: Choose from many standardized preset sizes, such as Letter, Legal, and Tabloid. Alternatively, you can set a custom page size for the document. Make sure to properly set the page size so that it fits the kind of paper you need to print on.

You can also use the pages panel to adjust the size of individual pages and make some pages a different size.

Margins, columns, and gutters

Margins, columns, and gutters help divide a page for layout and confine its dimensions:

  • Margin: The area between the edge of the page and the main printed area. Together, the four margins (top, bottom, left, and right) look like a rectangle around the page’s perimeter. Margins don’t print when you print or export the publication.

  • Column: Divide a page into sections used for laying out text and graphics on a page. A page has at least one column when you start, which is between the margins. You can add column guides, represented by a pair of lines separated by a gutter area. Column guides aren’t printed when you print or export the publication.

  • Gutter: The space between two columns on the page. A gutter prevents columns from running together. You can define the gutter’s width by choosing Object→Text Frame Options.

You can change margins and columns by setting new values in the Margins and Columns dialog box. Choose Layout→Margins and Columns and then modify each individual page.

Margins and columns are useful for placing and aligning elements on a page. These guides can have objects snap to them, enabling you to accurately align multiple objects on a page.