Print thumbnails and oversized documents in InDesign

To fit multiple pages on a single page, you can create thumbnails—small preview versions of your document. Thumbnails are useful for verifying content and organization. Where appropriate, InDesign automatically changes the paper orientation to provide the best fit of the page to the paper; however, you’ll need to reset the original orientation if you deselect the Thumbnails option.


When you print thumbnails, printer’s marks and any items in the bleed and/or slug areas are excluded.

  1. In the Setup area of the Print dialog box, select Thumbnails.
  2. In the menu, choose the number of thumbnails per page.

Print oversized documents

Although you can create InDesign documents as large as 18-by-18 feet, most desktop printers cannot print such large pages.

To print an oversized document on your desktop printer, you can print each page of your document in pieces, called tiles, and then trim and assemble those pieces. If you prefer, you can scale the document to fit the available paper size.

Tile a document

A document’s dimensions do not necessarily match the paper sizes used by printers. As a result, when you print, InDesign divides the oversized document into one or more rectangles, or tiles, that correspond to the page size available on the printer. You can then assemble the overlapping sections.

You can have InDesign tile a document automatically, or you can specify the tiles yourself. Tiling manually lets you control the origin point for the upper-left corner of the tile, so that you determine where the page falls on the paper.

Tile a document
Oversized pages divided into printable tiles (left) and the overlapping sections in final assembly (right)

Tile a document automatically

  1. Choose File > Print.
  2. In the Setup area of the Print dialog box, select Tile.
  3. Choose one of the following options in the Tile menu:


    Automatically calculates the number of tiles required, including the overlap.

    Auto Justified

    Increases the amount of overlap (if necessary) so that the right sides of the rightmost tiles are aligned at the right edge of the document’s page, and the bottom sides of the bottommost tiles are aligned at the bottom edge of the document’s page.

  4. For Overlap, type the minimum amount of duplicated information you want printed on each tile for ease in assembly. The Overlap option uses the unit of measure specified for the document. The value should be greater than the minimum nonprinting margins for the printer. You can specify up to half the size of the shortest side of the document page to overlap. For example, tiles for a page that measures 11-by-17 inches (279.4mm‑by‑431.8mm) can overlap up to 5.5 inches (139.7mm).

Tile a document manually

While tiling a document automatically prints all the tiles at once, tiling a document manually requires you to print each tile separately.

  1. If necessary, choose View > Show Rulers to display the rulers.
  2. Drag the intersection of the rulers to reset the zero point to the desired upper-left corner of the tile you want to print. Remember to leave room for overlap and printer’s marks.

    The size and shape of the area InDesign prints is determined by the current paper size and orientation.

  3. Choose File > Print, and then click Setup on the left.
  4. In the Setup area, select Tile, and then choose Manual in the Tile menu.

Scale documents

To fit an oversized document on a smaller piece of paper, you can scale the document’s width and height, either symmetrically or asymmetrically. Asymmetric scaling is useful when, for example, you’re printing film for use on a flexographic press: If you know in which direction the plate will be mounted on the press drum, scaling can compensate for the 2% to 3% stretching of the plate that usually occurs. Scaling does not affect the size of the pages in the document.


When you print spreads, each spread is scaled separately.

Scale a document manually

  1. Choose File > Print.
  2. In the Setup area of the Print dialog box, select Width to activate the Width and Height boxes.
  3. To maintain current document width to height proportions, select Constrain Proportions. Otherwise, make sure that this option is unselected.
  4. Type percentages from 1 to 1000 in the Width and Height boxes. If you selected Constrain Proportions, you need to enter only one value; the other is updated automatically.

Scale a document automatically

  1. In the Setup area of the Print dialog box, make sure that the Tile and Thumbnail options are unselected. (When these options are selected, the Scale To Fit option is unavailable.)
  2. Select Scale To Fit. The scaling percentage, which is determined by the imageable area defined by the selected PPD, appears next to the Scale To Fit option.