Setting up the document: master pages

(InDesign: go to the first interior page spread in the magazine to follow along with this example.)

master pages

Creating and using master pages will help you to consistently place the headers and footers, format them appropriately with rules. It's also the most effective way to set up automatically updating page numbers on recurring pages. This first step not only saves time and energy, but it also gives you a one-stop location for updating a title or graphic globally later on.

Go to the Pages panel, and double click on the A-Master to activate. Edit it as you would any other page in the document. Type in the Header information, and place it where it needs to go - again, in your own creation, you have free reign to place the page number, and other page architecture anywhere you like. In this layout, the name of the magazine is put into two different colors, and a rule was placed for some visual interest, connecting the titles from their opposite corners.

Create a stroke by selecting the line tool, and drag it out to the desired size. Go to the Stroke panel, and click to select it. From there you can adjust the weight, and add elements to the starting and/or ending point of the stroke. With the stroke selected, you can also change its color from the Swatches. (Alternatively, you can change the fill or stroke color of any element from the tool box itself.

To apply automatic page numbering, add a small text frame where you want the page number to appear. Click with the Type tool inside of each text frame, and go to Type > Insert Special Character > Auto Page Number). You’ll see the single-letter prefix of your master page appear in the text frame while you’re on the master pages, which is correct. Now go to the first page of your document and you should see it say “1.″ Page two will show “2,″ etc.

You'll notice that there are three masters created for this document. To maintain the same position for the header and footer info, you'll need to click on both pages of the A-master thumbnails in the top of the Pages panel to select them. With both pages selected (hold down the Shift key as you select them, right click and select "Duplicate Master Spread A-Master" and save it as B-Master. For the B-Master, a red rectangle was placed to accommodate the images that have been preselected to fit in that space. In the same manner, duplicate another master page, and save as C-Master. This master has a red rectangle that covers the entire right side page. You go back at anytime and make changes to the master documents, and they will be automatically applied - providing you have applied that master to the pages within your actual document.

To apply a master page to the document, stay in the Pages panel, but scroll down below the master page section to the pages of the magazine itself. Select the pages (hold down the Shift key to select more than one), right click and scroll down to Apply Master to Pages, and select the appropriate Master for that page spread. Bonus: because Auto Page Numbers have been applied to the masters, you can re-order the pages of your document, and the numbers will adjust accordingly.

Occaisionally you’ll find that a particular document page doesn’t work quite right with all of your master page elements. Although the role of master pages is to hold those repeating objects in place, you are able to override as needed to move, delete, or even select master page items on a page. The ever-trusty Command+Shift+Click shortcut (Ctrl+Shift+Click in Windows) frees an object from its master and assigns it directly to the document page. At that point, you can edit or delete it as you choose, and only the items on that particular page will be affected.

Next: Choosing a color palette

Spreads 1-4 and the magazine cover page

Spread #1Spread #2Spread #3Spread #4Cover page