Create a Document in InDesign

In our previous blog, What is InDesign, we gave you a general introduction of Adobe InDesign, it’s history, versions, How to use InDesign, What is InDesign used for and much more.

Now, in this blog, we will learn ‘How to Create a Document in InDesign.’

I’m Lalit M S Adhikari and we are at LTY. Let’s get started.



Interface of InDesign

Before we begin to create a document, first we need to get ourselves familiar with the interface of Adobe InDesign.

If you are opening the Adobe InDesign for the first time, it may look similar to the interface below (updates in interface are to be expected with time but you can get a general idea).

home screen in InDesign
Interface or Home Screen

Three ways to Create a Document in InDesign

  1. We can use File > New > Document…
    It has a shortcut Ctrl + N
  2. We can use Create New button in Home Screen (refer image below)
  3. We can use More Presets option in Home Screen (refer image below)
Create new and More Presets to open New Document dialog box in InDesign
Create New button & More Presets option in Home Screen

Create a Document in InDesign

You can create a new document in InDesign by following the following steps:

  1. Open InDesign
    If you are using InDesign CC, you will have Home Screen opened up. This screen may change from time to time.
  2. Choose File > New > Document… or use shortcut Ctrl + N

  3. Modify the setting before creating the New Document in the Preset Details from right pane.
  4. To specify Margins in the document, open Margins options
  5. To specify Bleed and Slugs, open their options
  6. Click ‘Create’ button after modifying all the options to create New Document.

Presets Document Categories

Presets tab in New Document dialog box in InDesign to create a new document
Presets Tab

InDesign has some Presets available for New Documents. They are:

  • Recent
  • Saved
  • Print
  • Web
  • Mobile

Recent

Recent tab shows us the recent sizes used to create new documents in InDesign.

recent tab showing A4 as template recently used in New Document dialog box in InDesign
Recent Tab showing A4 as recently opened size for New Document

Saved

Saved tab shows us the saved templates in the InDesign, if you have saved any Preset Details.


Print

Print tab shows us the popular Print sizes available as Preset in InDesign. These Presets may change as per updates in InDesign version.

print tab opened in new document dialog box in InDesign
Print Tab in New Document dialog box

Web

Web tab shows us the popular Web sizes available as Preset in InDesign. These Presets may change as per updates in InDesign version.

web tab opened in new document dialog box in InDesign
Web tab in New Document dialog box

Mobile

Mobile tab shows us the popular Mobile sizes available as Preset in InDesign. These Presets may change as per updates in InDesign version.

mobile tab opened in new document dialog box in InDesign
Mobile tab in New Document dialog box

Preset Details

Preset Details includes various options such as ‘Name & Save Document Preset‘, ‘Width & Height‘, ‘Units‘, ‘Orientation‘, ‘Pages‘, ‘Facing Pages‘, ‘Start #‘, ‘Primary Text Frame‘, ‘Columns‘, ‘Column Gutter‘, ‘Margins‘ and ‘Bleed and Slug‘.

Preset Details in InDesign
Preset Details

‘Name’ and ‘Save Document’ Preset

Document Name & Save document preset icon in new document dialog box in InDesign
Name & Save Document Preset

In the image above, ‘Untitled-1’ is the Name for the document to be created. It can be changed as per your choice. The icon next to Name is Save Document Preset. If we click on it, it will allow us to save the Preset Details as a Preset Document Template under Save tab in Preset Document Categories.

save document preset in new document dialog box in InDesign
Save Document Preset

You can Name your Document Preset as per your choice and it will be saved with it.


‘Width’ and ‘Height’

width and height option in new document dialog box in InDesign
Width & Height

Page Size is the Width and Height of the document or each page in case of a multiple-page documents.

Point to notice: The mouse pointer changes to a black arrow icon when you hover over a Preset input box. You can swipe the black arrow horizontally to increase or decrease the respective value.

width and height option in new document dialog box in InDesign with cursor above and on the input box
Pointer above & on Preset input box

Also, the mouse pointer changes to a black cursor when placed on the Preset input box.


Units

units option in new document dialog box in InDesign
Units

Units option let’s you chose the adequate Unit of Measurements for your document. InDesign supports the following Units: Points, Picas, Inches, Millimeters, Centimeters, Ciceros, Agates and Pixels.

all units of measurement available under units option in new document dialog box in InDesign
Units of measurements in InDesign

Orientation

orientation option in new document dialog box in InDesign
Orientation

We have Orientations as Portrait (tall) and Landscape (wide). It should be noted that, Orientation works in a dynamic way with the dimensions you entered in the Page Size or Width & Height options.

When Height has the larger value, Portrait icon is selected. When Width has the larger value, Landscape icon is selected. Also, selected the deselected icon will switch the values of Width & Height.


Pages

pages option in new document dialog box in InDesign
Pages in InDesign

To specify the number of pages in the document.

Point to notice: The mouse pointer changes to a black arrow icon when you hover over a Preset input box. You can swipe the black arrow horizontally to increase or decrease the respective value.

cursor placed above and on input box of pages option in new document dialog box in InDesign
Mouse pointer above and on Preset input box

Also, the mouse pointer changes to a black cursor when placed on the Preset input box.


Facing Pages

facing pages checkbox in new document dialog box in InDesign
Facing Pages

Select this checkbox to make left and right pages face each other in a double-page spread, such as for books and magazines.

Facing PagesPages Panel
If Facing Pages checkbox is checked. It makes the left and right pages face each other in double page spread like books and magazines.pages panel showing pages layout if facing pages checkbox is selected in InDesign
If Facing Pages checkbox is not checked. Deselect this option to let each page stand alone, such as when you’re printing flyers or posters or when you want objects to bleed in the binding.pages panel showing pages layout if facing pages checkbox is not selected in InDesign
Difference in page panel with and without Facing Pages

Start #

Start # option in new document dialog box in InDesign
Start #

It specify which number the document starts.

If you specify an even number (such as 2) with Facing Pages selected, the first spread in the document begins with a two-page spread.

Start #Start #
12
Example of pages with odd and even Start # values

Primary Text Frame

Primary Text Frame option in New Document dialog box in InDesign
Primary Text Frame

It adds a primary text frame on the parent page.


Columns & Column Gutter

Columns & Column Gutter values in new document dialog box in InDesign
Columns & Column Gutter

Columns option is used to create columns in the page. By default, it’s one. It is a non-printable division in the page.

Columns = 1Columns = 2
Pages in InDesign with different columns value

Column Gutter is the space between columns, in case more than 1 columns value is used.


Margins

Margins option in new document dialog box in InDesign
Margins

Margin is the space from all the sides of the page. Here you will find 4 values named as Top, Bottom, Inside and Outside.

Top and Bottom are easy to understand but you might be wondering why instead of Left and Right, InDesign has Inside and Outside.

This shows, ‘What is InDesign meant to be used for‘. InDesign is a Desktop Publishing Application. It was originally meant to be used in publishing industry for creating layouts for Books, Magazines etc.

Document structure marked with Spine or Origin, Margin Top, Margin Outside, Margin Inside and Margin Bottom in InDesign
Margin Top, Margin Bottom, Margin Outside, Margin Inside and Spine in document

The image above marks all the margin options in the document namely, Margin Top, Margin Bottom, Margin Outside and Margin Inside.

Other than margins, it also shows us the position of Spine or Origin in a Document created using Facing Pages option in InDesign. Spine or Origin is the place where Left and Right pages meet in a book or magazine.

Margins also help in protecting the printed content from physical damages done due to aging or liquid spill.


Bleed and Slug

Bleed and Slug options in new document dialog box in InDesign
Bleed and Slug

What is Bleed in InDesign

Bleed explained in video

Printers are unable to print to the edge of the page, creating an unwanted white margin around the document.

unwanted white space around the page
Unwanted white margin around the page

To avoid this, we need to add a bleed to each side of the print document we design.

Documents with and without Bleed in InDesign
Document with and without Bleeds

Bleeds extend the colors and elements, past the edge of our document, so that it can be printed and trimmed down to size with no unwanted white margin around the edges.

Design Elements placed on the page inside the Bleed value.
Design elements on the page inside the Bleed
Stretching design elements and background up to the Bleed value of the document.
After stretching Design elements up to Bleed value

The standard size for Bleed is 0.125 inches.


What is Slug in InDesign

It refers to an area outside the boundaries of Page or Spread and Bleed. It can be used for a number of things including Design Information, Notes etc.

They are absolutely no rules for what we can and what we can’t put in the slug area.

Slug in InDesign placed outside the boundaries of page and bleed
Slug outside the bleed and page

Preview and Create

After filling up, all the above details in the New Document dialog box, we have preview the document by using the checkbox available for preview and then click on Create button to create the document.

Preview checkbox and Create button in the new document dialog box in InDesign
Preview and Create

Document Overview

We have discussed all the options available in New Document dialog box. No, you will notice, after creating a document in InDesign, the interface of InDesign changes a bit. Let’s get familiar with it.


For this purpose, I’m creating a 10 pages document with Facing Pages enabled. It has Margins, Columns, Bleed and Slug too.

Let’s start with the overall interface.

Interface after creating a document in InDesign
InDesign interface after creating a document

In the image above, we have marked:

  • Menu bar
  • Document Tab
  • Toolbar
  • Panels (currently Properties, Pages and Layers Panel)

Now, let’s take a look at different things available inside the document.

Names of different things available inside the document
Name of all items inside the document

Most of these are already been discussed above. The rest of them are:

  • Pasteboard: A rectangular area inside which our whole Page, Bleed and Slug is created.
  • Spread: Facing pages combined together (as shown in image above) are called Spread.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the default Unit of Measurement in InDesign?

Picas is the default Unit of Measurement in InDesign.


How to change default Unit of Measurement in InDesign?

We can change that by going to Edit menu then Preferences and then choose Units & Increments. In case of a Mac, go to InDesign menu, choose Preferences and then Units & Increments.


How to change document setting after we have created it?

Go to File menu, select Document Setup…


Default image
Lalit M. S. Adhikari

I am Lalit Adhikari. I'm Blogger, Graphic & Web Designer.

Articles: 103

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