Creating A New InDesing Document

Creating A New InDesign Document

Written on Friday, May 6th, 2011 in Essentials, Tutorials

Creating a new InDesign document might seem extremely easy for a lot of people but there are lots of options to consider. So if you’re new to InDesign or you just want to know what all those other weird things like Slug & Gutter mean, you’re in the right place!


Let’s get cracking. Open InDesign and go to File > New > Document… or even better, use the shortcut “Cmd/Ctrl + N“.

Let’s explain what we see here.

Document Preset: In InDesign it’s possible to save your document settings. For instance, if you make a lot of invitations you can fill in everything the way you like it and hit the Save Preset… button, you’ll have to fill in a name and click OK.

Next time you want to design a similar invitation you can go to Document Preset, select your preset and InDesign will load all your settings, so you don’t have to fill it in, over and over again. This really helps to speed up things.

Intent: Here you have 2 options. Print or Web. I think this is quite self explanatory.

Number of Pages: Specify how many pages you want in your document. Don’t worry, you can add them later as well. I usually leave it at 1 and add pages as I go along.

Start Page #: In InDesign, every page has it’s own number. Here you can specify which number the document starts on.

Facing Pages: Facing pages are left and right pages, you’ll want to use this for creating things like magazines or books. Deselect this if you just want a single page design, for example if you want to make a flyer or an invitation.

Master Text Frame: This option will add a text frame to you Master Page. This can be useful when you’re making a book or a magazine, but again, you can add this later, once you’ve created your document.


Now we go on to the essential settings.

Page Size: InDesign comes loaded with a bunch of preset page sizes. Here you can choose what page size you want or you can fill in a custom page size. This is the final size of your document.

Orientation: Here you can specify if you want your document to be in portrait or landscape (standing up, or lying down).

Columns: If you want guidelines for columns you’re going to use, you can specify how many columns you want and what the gutter, or the space between them should be. I don’t really use this option personally, if I use columns, I probably won’t have the same amount of columns throughout your document. If you know beforehand that you will, go ahead and fill in the number of columns you need.

If you do use columns, you can fill in a Gutter width. This is the space between every column.

Margins: A margin is the space that surrounds the content of a page. Standard, the margins are locked, this means they will be the same for all sides of you document (top, right, bottom, left). If you want the margins to differ you can click on the little lock-icon and fill in the required margin separately for every side.

NOTE: the names of the margins will change if you select/deselect the Facing Pages box.

With Facing Pages selected > Top, Bottom, Inside, Outside.
With Facing Pages deselected > Top, Bottom, Left, Right.

Phew, thats it… or is it?


Below the Save Preset… button, there’s another one. More Options.

Bleed: Here you can specify the amount of bleed. Read this article about bleed & safety zone if you’re not really sure what it all means. Bleed Won’t Kill You.

Slug (who invited that name?)… If we leave this to 0, we won’t get any whitespace around our document when we export it to a PDF. So if you want to include information for the printer, like comments or custom color-bars you can use this option. Simply enter a value of your choice, make sure it’s large enough to hold all the information. The slug area will be visible on your page by a thin blue line. Everything you put beyond the blue line won’t be visible if you export your file.


Here’s an example to make everything a little clearer.

If we use the above settings, this is what our page will look like.

Et voila! Now we’re ready to start being creative!


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