How to Add Page Numbers in InDesign

How to Create a Multi-Page Spread Using Adobe's InDesign

Adobe InDesign is an industry-standard page layout program used by designers, art directors, typesetters and electronic production artists. When a new document is opened, InDesign defaults to a single page. If you select "Facing Pages," or add additional pages, the document spread option places two pages side-by-side on the pasteboard. InDesign offers an option to allow multiple spreads to be preserved when an extra page is added or removed.

Launch InDesign. Select "New" from the "File" menu to open a new document.

Add at least four pages in the text field next to "Number of Pages." Check the box next to "Facing Pages" to view the spreads together on the screen. Click "OK."

Select "Windows," then scroll down to "Pages" to open the "Pages" panel if it is not already open in the workspace. Click on the page spread icons in the panel. Click the small arrow in the upper left corner of the "Pages" panel to bring up a side menu. Uncheck "Allow Document Pages to Shuffle" from the menu. InDesign will preserve the multi-spreads if pages are added, removed or rearranged.

Create a Document in InDesign

In our previous blog, What is InDesign, we gave you a general introduction of Adobe InDesign, it’s history, versions, How to use InDesign, What is InDesign used for and much more.

Now, in this blog, we will learn ‘How to Create a Document in InDesign.’

I’m Lalit Adhikari and we are at LTY . Let’s get started.

Interface of InDesign

Before we begin to create a document, first we need to get ourselves familiar with the interface of Adobe InDesign.

If you are opening the Adobe InDesign for the first time, it may look similar to the interface below (updates in interface are to be expected with time but you can get a general idea).

Interface or Home Screen

Three ways to Create a Document in InDesign

We can use File > New > Document…

It has a shortcut Ctrl + N

We can use Create New button in Home Screen (refer image below) We can use More Presets option in Home Screen (refer image below)

Create New button & More Presets option in Home Screen

Create a Document in InDesign

You can create a new document in InDesign by following the following steps:

Open InDesign

If you are using InDesign CC, you will have Home Screen opened up. This screen may change from time to time.

Choose File > New > Document… or use shortcut Ctrl + N

Modify the setting before creating the New Document in the Preset Details from right pane.

To specify Margins in the document, open Margins options

To specify Bleed and Slugs, open their options

Click ‘Create’ button after modifying all the options to create New Document.

Presets Document Categories

Presets Tab

InDesign has some Presets available for New Documents. They are:







Recent tab shows us the recent sizes used to create new documents in InDesign.

Recent Tab showing A4 as recently opened size for New Document


Saved tab shows us the saved templates in the InDesign, if you have saved any Preset Details.

Print tab shows us the popular Print sizes available as Preset in InDesign. These Presets may change as per updates in InDesign version.

Print Tab in New Document dialog box


Web tab shows us the popular Web sizes available as Preset in InDesign. These Presets may change as per updates in InDesign version.

Web tab in New Document dialog box


Mobile tab shows us the popular Mobile sizes available as Preset in InDesign. These Presets may change as per updates in InDesign version.

Mobile tab in New Document dialog box

Preset Details

Preset Details includes various options such as ‘Name & Save Document Preset‘, ‘Width & Height‘, ‘Units‘, ‘Orientation‘, ‘Pages‘, ‘Facing Pages‘, ‘Start #‘, ‘Primary Text Frame‘, ‘Columns‘, ‘Column Gutter‘, ‘Margins‘ and ‘Bleed and Slug‘.

Preset Details

‘Name’ and ‘Save Document’ Preset

Name & Save Document Preset

In the image above, ‘Untitled-1’ is the Name for the document to be created. It can be changed as per your choice. The icon next to Name is Save Document Preset. If we click on it, it will allow us to save the Preset Details as a Preset Document Template under Save tab in Preset Document Categories.

Save Document Preset

You can Name your Document Preset as per your choice and it will be saved with it.

‘Width’ and ‘Height’

Width & Height

Page Size is the Width and Height of the document or each page in case of a multiple-page documents.

Point to notice: The mouse pointer changes to a black arrow icon when you hover over a Preset input box. You can swipe the black arrow horizontally to increase or decrease the respective value.

Pointer above & on Preset input box

Also, the mouse pointer changes to a black cursor when placed on the Preset input box.



Units option let’s you chose the adequate Unit of Measurements for your document. InDesign supports the following Units: Points, Picas, Inches, Millimeters, Centimeters, Ciceros, Agates and Pixels.

Units of measurements in InDesign



We have Orientations as Portrait (tall) and Landscape (wide). It should be noted that, Orientation works in a dynamic way with the dimensions you entered in the Page Size or Width & Height options.

When Height has the larger value, Portrait icon is selected. When Width has the larger value, Landscape icon is selected. Also, selected the deselected icon will switch the values of Width & Height.


Pages in InDesign

To specify the number of pages in the document.

Point to notice: The mouse pointer changes to a black arrow icon when you hover over a Preset input box. You can swipe the black arrow horizontally to increase or decrease the respective value.

Mouse pointer above and on Preset input box

Also, the mouse pointer changes to a black cursor when placed on the Preset input box.

Facing Pages

Facing Pages

Select this checkbox to make left and right pages face each other in a double-page spread, such as for books and magazines.

Facing Pages Pages Panel If Facing Pages checkbox is checked. It makes the left and right pages face each other in double page spread like books and magazines. If Facing Pages checkbox is not checked. Deselect this option to let each page stand alone, such as when you’re printing flyers or posters or when you want objects to bleed in the binding. Difference in page panel with and without Facing Pages

Start #

Start #

It specify which number the document starts.

If you specify an even number (such as 2) with Facing Pages selected, the first spread in the document begins with a two-page spread.

Start # Start # 1 2 Example of pages with odd and even Start # values

Primary Text Frame

Primary Text Frame

It adds a primary text frame on the parent page.

Columns & Column Gutter

Columns & Column Gutter

Columns option is used to create columns in the page. By default, it’s one. It is a non-printable division in the page.

Columns = 1 Columns = 2 Pages in InDesign with different columns value

Column Gutter is the space between columns, in case more than 1 columns value is used.



Margin is the space from all the sides of the page. Here you will find 4 values named as Top, Bottom, Inside and Outside.

Top and Bottom are easy to understand but you might be wondering why instead of Left and Right, InDesign has Inside and Outside.

This shows, ‘What is InDesign meant to be used for‘. InDesign is a Desktop Publishing Application. It was originally meant to be used in publishing industry for creating layouts for Books, Magazines etc.

Margin Top, Margin Bottom, Margin Outside, Margin Inside and Spine in document

The image above marks all the margin options in the document namely, Margin Top, Margin Bottom, Margin Outside and Margin Inside.

Other than margins, it also shows us the position of Spine or Origin in a Document created using Facing Pages option in InDesign. Spine or Origin is the place where Left and Right pages meet in a book or magazine.

Margins also help in protecting the printed content from physical damages done due to aging or liquid spill.

Bleed and Slug

Bleed and Slug

What is Bleed in InDesign

Bleed explained in video

Printers are unable to print to the edge of the page, creating an unwanted white margin around the document.

Unwanted white margin around the page

To avoid this, we need to add a bleed to each side of the print document we design.

Document with and without Bleeds

Bleeds extend the colors and elements, past the edge of our document, so that it can be printed and trimmed down to size with no unwanted white margin around the edges.

Design elements on the page inside the Bleed

After stretching Design elements up to Bleed value

The standard size for Bleed is 0.125 inches.

What is Slug in InDesign

It refers to an area outside the boundaries of Page or Spread and Bleed. It can be used for a number of things including Design Information, Notes etc.

They are absolutely no rules for what we can and what we can’t put in the slug area.

Slug outside the bleed and page

Preview and Create

After filling up, all the above details in the New Document dialog box, we have preview the document by using the checkbox available for preview and then click on Create button to create the document.

Preview and Create

Document Overview

We have discussed all the options available in New Document dialog box. No, you will notice, after creating a document in InDesign, the interface of InDesign changes a bit. Let’s get familiar with it.

For this purpose, I’m creating a 10 pages document with Facing Pages enabled. It has Margins, Columns, Bleed and Slug too.

Let’s start with the overall interface.

InDesign interface after creating a document

In the image above, we have marked:

Menu bar

Document Tab


Panels (currently Properties, Pages and Layers Panel)

Now, let’s take a look at different things available inside the document.

Name of all items inside the document

Most of these are already been discussed above. The rest of them are:

Pasteboard : A rectangular area inside which our whole Page, Bleed and Slug is created.

: A rectangular area inside which our whole Page, Bleed and Slug is created. Spread: Facing pages combined together (as shown in image above) are called Spread.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the default Unit of Measurement in InDesign?

Picas is the default Unit of Measurement in InDesign.

How to change default Unit of Measurement in InDesign?

We can change that by going to Edit menu then Preferences and then choose Units & Increments. In case of a Mac, go to InDesign menu, choose Preferences and then Units & Increments.

How to change document setting after we have created it?

Go to File menu, select Document Setup…

How to Add Page Numbers in InDesign

Adding page numbers is one of those things that you might not think to do until you need it. But once you start using InDesign, you'll find all sorts of uses for this feature. Whether you're creating an ebook or brochure, learning how to add page numbers in InDesign can go a long way.

Adding page numbers can be a great way to where you are or what's next in your project.

Here are some reasons why page numbers are so useful:

They help readers keep track of where they are in a document. This is especially true for documents with long chapters or sections with multiple parts (like an ebook).

They make it easier for the reader to reference specific information in the document by page number. You can use page numbers in citations, bibliographies, and footnotes (if you're citing sources).

They help organize printed pages into logical groups and make them easier to find if someone wants to reference them later on.

InDesign allows you to add page numbers to documents such as books, magazines, and brochures.

You can insert these numbers when you're creating the document or after it is complete by using a simple method. This article will show you how!

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InDesign insert page number: Step by step guide

Step 1

Open Adobe InDesign and create a new file by selecting File →New→ Document.

Insert the number of pages you want your document to have and click Create.

Step 2

In the upper right corner of your screen, click on the Pages tab.

Now you should see all the pages that make up your document in Adobe InDesign.

Step 3

Double-click on the first master page, which will include a page number. The first page in your document may be the cover, which does not have a page number.

Now, a two-page interface will appear.

Step 4

To number your pages, you can use the Zoom function to enlarge the lower-left corner of the first page you want to start from.

You can also enlarge the lower-right corner if you use a right page as your first numbered page.

Most people start numbering their pages from the lower left-hand corner.

Once you are in "Zoom" mode, click on your "Type" tool. It is the "T" on your left panel.

Then click on a location for your page number (in this case – the lower left-hand corner).

This is where your numbers will appear, but make sure that the box is very wide and can fit even larger numbers so you can see them.

Step 5

After creating your box, click inside it and go to the "Type" menu on your top horizontal panel.

Then scroll down to "Insert Special Character."

Type → Insert Special Character → Markers → Current Page Number

When you click on it, your first number will appear as an "A" with a number sign next to it.

Don't worry! This happens because it is the master page, and as I have mentioned, they don't get assigned a number at the start.

Step 6

Use your "Selection" tool to drag the box into the position you like. That's where the number will appear.

If it is already placed properly, you are OK to go on to the next step.

There you go! You practically have learned how to add page numbers in InDesign :-)

So, what’s left to do is…

Step 7

..Number duplication. To duplicate the page number box, click on it and press CTRL + C to copy it. Then go to the right side of the page where you want to place the duplicate, and press CTRL + V to paste it.

To move it around, simply click on it and drag it where you want it to be.

This will save you a lot of time, so you don't have to do the process for every page from the beginning.

Step 8

You can check to see if your numbers have appeared on all your pages by going to the "Pages" panel.

Zoom in on the left and right sides of the panel to see if the numbers appear in order.

Final words

After reading this, you have learned how to add page numbers in InDesign.

This feature is very useful for certain types of documents, including books and pamphlets.

You can have the page numbers on both the left and the right sides of your page; however, you will find that you can only have one or the other—the feature is not that flexible.

If you have any questions about the process or how to add page numbers in any other way, make sure to leave a comment below, and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

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