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Equitable Language: We are replacing non-inclusive language from InDesign 2022 (version 17.0) onwards, to reflect core Adobe values of inclusivity. Any reference to Master page is replaced by Parent page in our Help articles for the English, Danish, Hungarian, Spanish, Italian, Brazilian, Portuguese, and Japanese locales.

Customize the pasteboard and guides

You can control the colors used to display guides for page margins and columns, as well as the guides for the bleed and slug areas on the pasteboard. To make it easier to distinguish between the Normal and Preview modes, you can change the color of the preview background.

InDesign also lets you control how close an object needs to be to snap to a guide, whether guides should be displayed in front of or behind objects, as well as the size of the pasteboard.

  1. Choose Edit > Preferences > Guides & Pasteboard (Windows) or InDesign > Preferences > Guides & Pasteboard (Mac OS).
  2. Under Color, choose the desired colors from each of the following menus, or choose Custom to specify a custom color using the color picker.


    Sets the color of the page margins.


    Sets the color of the column guides for the page.


    Sets the color of the bleed area (which is set in theDocument Setup dialog box).


    Sets the color of the slug area (which is set in theDocument Setup dialog box).

    Preview Background

    Sets the color of the pasteboard when in the Preview mode.

  3. To set how close an object must be to snap to a guide or grid, specify a value in pixels for Snap To Zone.
  4. To display guides behind objects, select Guides In Back.
  5. To specify how far the pasteboard extends out from the page or spread (or the bleed or slug area, if specified), enter values for Horizontal Margins and Vertical Margins.
  6. Click OK to close the Preferences dialog box.

You can change the on‑screen color of your paper. With no text or objects selected, double-click the Paper color in the Swatches panel (choose Window > Swatches). The Paper color appears on‑screen only and does not affect output; it is intended only to simulate designing for nonwhite paper.

Change document setup, margins, and columns

After you create a document, you may change your mind about how you want it set up. For example, you may want single pages instead of facing pages, or you may want to change the page size or margin settings.

Change document setup

Changing options in the Document Setup dialog box affects every page in the document. If you change page size or orientation after objects have been added to pages, you can use the Layout Adjustment feature to minimize the amount of time needed for arranging existing objects. See About automatic layout adjustment.

  1. Choose File > Document Setup.

  2. Specify the document options, and then click OK. (See New Document options.)

Change page margin and column settings

You can change column and margin settings for pages and spreads. When you change the column and margin settings on a parent page, you change the setting for all pages to which the parent is applied. Changing the columns and margins of regular pages affects only those pages selected in the Pages panel.


The Margins And Columns dialog box doesn’t alter columns inside text frames. Text frame columns exist only within individual text frames, not on the page itself. You can set up columns within individual text frames by using the Text Frame Options dialog box. (See Add columns to a text frame.) Text frame columns can also be affected by the Layout Adjustment feature.

  1. Do one of the following:

    • To change margin and column settings for one spread or page, go to the spread you want to change, or select one spread or page in the Pages panel.

    • To change margin and column settings for multiple pages, select those pages in the Pages panel, or select a parent that controls the pages you want to change.

  2. Choose Layout > Margins And Columns, specify the following options, and then click OK.


    Type values to specify the distance between margin guides and each edge of the page. If Facing Pages is selected in the New Document or Document Setup dialog box, the Left and Right margin option names change to Inside and Outside, so that you can specify additional inside margin space to accommodate binding.


    Specify the number of columns.

    Select Horizontal or Vertical to specify the column direction. This also sets the writing direction of the document baseline grid.

Create unequal column widths

When you have more than one column on a page, the column guides in the middle appear in pairs. When you drag one column guide, the pair moves. The space between the column guides is the gutter value you specified; the pair moves together to maintain that value.


You cannot create unequal column widths for columns in a text frame. Instead, created threaded, side-by-side text frames with different column widths.

  1. Go to the parent or spread you want to change.

  2. If column guides are locked, choose View > Grids & Guides > Lock Column Guides to deselect it.

  3. Using the Selection tool , drag a column guide. You can’t drag it past an adjacent column guide or beyond the edge of the page.

Dragging a column guide to create unequal column widths


To create columns with unequal gutters, create evenly spaced ruler guides and then drag individual guides to the desired location. (See Create ruler guides.)

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