Liquid layouts and Alternate layouts | CC, CS6

Alternate layouts and Liquid Layout page rules, give you the flexibility to efficiently design for multiple page sizes, orientations, or aspect ratios.

For publishing for multiple formats and sizes, you can choose a design strategy that suits a project best: Hand crafted, semi-automated, or fully automated. The degree of design control decreases as you rely on automated workflows. InDesign provides several enhancements for your adopted strategy to balance cost and control.


Automatic Liquid Layout based-publishing is not possible yet, because of the unavailability of compliant viewer technologies. 

Recommended workflow

Multiple layout workflows

A. Alternate layout workflow B. Alternate layout and liquid page rules 

STEP 1: Choose a target device and its corresponding dimension and orientation. Then create your primary layout for all the pages.

STEP 2: Optionally, add Adobe Liquid Layout page rules to help adapt content to different aspect ratios and sizes. Liquid page rules are useful if you're targeting multiple devices. Without Liquid page rules, you'll have to manually create a unique layout for every possible size and orientation. See Liquid layouts.

STEP 3: Use the Create Alternate Layout feature to create new pages in the same document. Depending on your primary layout and the Liquid page rules, you may need to manually tune the layout. Repeat this step for each new size and orientation. See Alternate layouts.

Liquid layouts

Liquid layouts

Liquid layouts make it easier to design content for multiple page sizes, orientations, or devices. Apply liquid page rules to determine how objects on a page are adapted when you create alternate layouts and change the size, orientation, or aspect ratio.

You can apply different rules to different pages, depending on the layout and the goals; only one liquid page rule can be applied to a page at a time. Liquid Layout is a general term that covers a set of specific liquid page rules: scale, re-center, guide-based, and object-based page rules.

Use Liquid page rules to adapt content for output sizes.

  • To adapt layouts when creating new pages in the same document using alternate layouts.
  • To adapt layouts when changing existing page sizes. This is more efficient than the previous Layout Adjustment feature.

To apply a liquid page rule, select the Page tool and click a page. Then choose a liquid page rule from the control bar. You can also use the Layout > Liquid Layouts.

To preview the effects of the applied rule, use the Page tool to drag the page handles to resize the page. The page snaps back to original size when you release it.


To resize the page, press Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) and then drag. Using the mouse, however, to resize the page could result in pages that are slightly off the intended size. Its more accurate to resize the page with the Height and Width widgets in the control bar.

Liquid page rules

A. Page tool B. Liquid page rules from control bar C. Page handles D. Pins for object-based rules E. Liquid Layout panel 

Liquid page rules

You can apply different rules to different pages. Only one liquid page rule can be applied to a page at a time.


All content on the page is treated as a group, and as the page resizes, all the elements scale in proportion. The result is similar to letterboxing or pillarboxing on HD television screens.

Liquid page rules: Scale
Liquid page rules: Scale


All content on the page is automatically recentered no matter the width. Unlike Scale, the content remains its original size. You can achieve a similar result to video production safe zones using the Re-center rule with careful planning and layout.

Liquid page rules: Re-center
Liquid page rules: Re-center


Guides define a straight line across the page where content can adapt.

  • Whitespace can be added
  • Text frames are resized, and the text reflows (but not scale).
  • Placed image frames are resized and the cropping boundary dimension of the containing frame resizes.

To add a liquid guide, first select the page tool, then pull out the guides from the ruler.

Guide-based rules are similar to 3-slice and 9-slice scaling in Illustrator, Fireworks, and Flash.


To convert a ruler guide to a liquid guide select the page tool and click the Convert to liquid guide icon on the guide. The liquid guide is displayed as a dashed line, while a ruler guide is a solid line.

Liquid page rules: Guide-based
Liquid page rules: Guide-based


You can specify liquid behavior for size and location relative to the page edge for each object, either fixed or relative.

  • Each side of an object's bounding box or frame can either be fixed, or relative to its corresponding page edge. For example, the left side of the frame can have a relationship only with the left edge of the page.
  • The height and width can either be fixed, or resizable relative to the page.
Liquid page rules: Object-based
Liquid page rules: Object-based

Alternate layouts

Use Alternate Layouts if you require different page sizes for print or digital publishing within the same document. You can use it to create different sizes of a print advertisement. Or to design the horizontal and vertical layouts for devices such as the Apple iPad or Android tablets.

Alternate layouts and Pages panel
Alternate layouts and Pages panel

Used in combination with Liquid Layout, you can significantly reduce the amount of manual work required to re-layout content for every new page size and orientation.

Create Alternate Layouts

To create an alternate layout, do one of the following:

  • Choose Layout > Create Alternate Layout
  • Choose Create Alternate Layout from the Pages panel menu
Create Alternate Layouts

In the Create Alternate Layouts dialog box, specify the following options:


Enter the name of the alternate layout.

From Source Pages

Select the source layout where your content is located.

Page Size

Select a page size or enter a custom size for the alternate layout.

Width and Height

These fields display the size of the alternate layout. You can enter your own values, but that changes the Page Size to custom.


Choose an orientation for the alternate layout. If you switch between Portrait and Landscape, the Height and Width are updated.

Liquid Page Rule

Choose a liquid page rule to apply to the alternate layout. Select Preserve Existing to inherit the liquid page rules applied to the source pages. Select another rule to apply new liquid page rules.

Link Stories

Enable this option to place objects and to link them to the original objects on the source layout. When you update the original object, it is easier to manage updates for linked objects. See Linked Content.

Copy Text Styles to New Style Group

Enable this option to copy all text styles, and place them in a new group. This option is useful if you need to vary the text styles between various layouts.

Smart Text Reflow

Enable this option to remove any forced line breaks and other style overrides to the text. 


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