Smart workflows for constructing longer documents in InDesign.

A colorful glassware catalog opened to show a spread design

InDesign has powerful features for creating longer documents — from templates and book files to master pages and automatic tables of contents. Let’s explore some essential best practices to manage these projects like a pro.

Start your document

The best way to get started is to choose the most appropriate settings for your project.

  • Explore Adobe Stock templates when creating a new document in InDesign, or start from scratch with one of the many preset sizes available.
  • In the New Document dialog, set columns and margin guides to frame where your content will go. If you’re not sure yet, you can do this later.
  • Select the Facing Pages option. This creates two-page spreads like you’d find in a magazine or book.
Using the New Document dialog box to set up a new document

Set up your layout

Before you add design content, set up your document for success using additional InDesign features.

  • For longer documents, chapters or sections can be saved as separate files. This makes collaborative editing easier and speeds up your work. And with InDesign book files, you can easily manage these documents. Choose File > New > Book.
  • To add automatic page numbers, section headers, and other consistent content, use master pages in the Pages panel. A master page is like a document template — any object you place on it automatically appears on pages based on that master page.

Get your text flowing

Along with great imagery, color, and other design elements, text is a big part of your story.

  • For large amounts of text that need to flow across multiple pages, you can connect, or “thread,” text boxes together.
  • If your text was composed in another program like Microsoft Word, you can choose to preserve or remove its formatting when you place it in InDesign by choosing File > Place.
  • Save text formatting in paragraph or character styles so it’s consistent and easy to apply and edit later.
Two text boxes are linked so text flows across them

Work smart with longer documents

Once your design content is in place, there are several features to accelerate your creation process.

  • Need to change page size, page margin, or bleed as you work? Adjust Layout automatically adjusts page elements to fit the new dimensions.
  • Create a table of contents for a book, magazine, or other publication. Choose Layout > Table Of Contents.
  • Add references with the Insert Footnote, Insert Endnote, and Index features.
The original catalog layout is shown next to a version adjusted to fit different page dimensions


With your project almost complete, it’s time to check your work so you can share it with confidence.

  • Avoid costly errors. Configure your dictionary and use the built-in spell-check to check for misspellings. And the Preflight panel helps you spot production issues.
  • Choose File > Package to copy the working document(s), any supported fonts and linked graphics, and a package report to a folder for a smooth handoff.

With these key features, you have the tools you need to build longer and more involved documents like magazines, books, and catalogs.

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