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Lesson 2 - How to Set Up Documents in InDesign CS


While you may be eager to get into the creative aspects of arranging text and images you need to get the basic parameters of the document set up. This lesson will introduce InDesign's document area... where the later design magic takes place.
Although written for CS2/3, many of these basic tools will work much the same in newer editions of InDesign

Navigating This Lesson:

There are 4 separate tutorials for lesson 2. Each tutorial consists of 3 or 4 steps. Navigation among the 3 or 4 steps in each part of Lesson 2 is found at the bottom of each step.

To navigate from one tutorial to the next, use the links in the sidebar under "Set Up Documents in InDesign CS" or bookmark this page and use the links below.

Lesson 2 - How to Set Up a Document in InDesign CS:

  1. The Document Area
    • Slugs, Bleeds, and the Pasteboard
    • Rulers
    • Binding Spine
  2. Setting Up the Page
    • New Document and Page Settings
    • Master Text Frames
    • More Options
  3. Setting Margins, Columns, and Grids
    • Simple Margin Setup
    • Perfect Margin Setup
    • Changing Margins
    • Setting up Columns and Grids, The Use of Guides
  4. Master Pages in InDesign
    • Using the Pages Palette
    • More Ways to Add Master Pages
    • Changing Items on Master Pages


To get the most out of this lesson, open up InDesign and follow the steps in each part - identifying elements of the document, setting up the page, margins, and guides and making changes to them. Then, once you're comfortable, do the assignment described below and post it in the DTP Classroom for critique and comments.

Next Steps:

In the next lesson, Working with Colour in InDesign CS, you will learn how to customize your colour palette and see how the colour option settings relate to the various types of colours used in Desktop Publishing.

Adobe InDesign Basics Class Outline

This course will not be continued after Lesson 5 (Tools) at this time. Watch the blog or sign up for the About.com Desktop Publishing newsletter for news on when all new tutorials are added.

Lesson 2 - Assignment:

Do this assignment and post it in the DTP classroom in the thread Lesson 2 - Assignment. Screenshots are preferred.

  1. Open a new document.
  2. Leaving Facing Pages on, create a letter size document.
  3. Inside margin is 8 mm
    Or, use 3/8 of an inch (0.375 inch) or 2p3 (2 pica and 3 points) . Following Jacci's proportions for margins, set up the rest of the margins.
  4. Set up 2 columns with a gutter of 6 mm (or use 0.25 inch or 1p5).
  5. Make sure your document has 3 pages (you can enter the number of pages in your document right in the New Document window).
  6. Now have a look at the result. Take a screenshot (for posting).
  7. Do the same thing again, but this time turn off Facing Pages. You will notice that the margins will behave in a different way.

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