How to Create Master Pages in Adobe InDesign

In Brief...

By default, all InDesign documents have one master page, but additional master pages can be added as needed. Additionally, a master page that's added can be based on an existing master, eliminating the need to re-create common elements.


  1. In this example, the page numbers have already been created on the default A-Master. A two-column layout master is also needed. Go to the Pages Panel menu and select New Master...
    New Master Command in Pages Panel

  2. In the dialog box that opens, you can give the new master a significant name and you can also set it to be based on an existing master.
    New Master Dialog Box

  3. Notice that in the Pages Panel, the thumbnails for the new B-Two-Column master display a small letter A. This indicates that it's based on the A-Master.
    B-Two-Column Master Pages in Pages Panel

  4. Go to the Layout menu and select Margins and Columns...
    Margins and Columns in Layout Menu

  5. In the dialog box, change the number of columns to 2, then click OK.
    Margins and Columns Dialog Box

  6. To apply the new master to document pages, go to the Pages Panel menu and select Apply Master to Pages...
    Pages Panel Menu

  7. In the dialog box, set the pages you want the new master to be applied to.
    Set Pages

Author: Kate Cahill

Kate Cahill is a graphic designer, writer, and creative director who has developed content for print and web. As creative director, she has produced award-winning work for agencies focused on the pharmaceutical, and health and beauty aid industries. She has also served as production manager, with responsibility for the successful fulfillment of long-run print contracts. Kate has been delivering training for Webucator clients since 2010. Her enthusiasm for cutting-edge technology, combined with hands-on practical experience, brings an added benefit to her class. Kate teaches real-world techniques and integration of Adobe software, as well as Microsoft PowerPoint to produce a fully-developed and cohesive brand identity.