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4. Creating and applying masters intelligently

From: InDesign CS4: 10 Habits of Highly Effective Pros

Video: 4. Creating and applying masters intelligently

Highly effective InDesign pros are essentially lazy. It's true! They are savvy users who are always on the lookout for opportunities to make InDesign do the work instead of them. A prime example of this is master pages. Now why should I tediously add page numbers to every single page in this document when I could just go to the master page and add a page number there? So I am just going to create a text frame, go to Type > Insert Special Character > Marker > Current Page Number. I will select it and make it really large with Ctrl+Shift or Command+Shift+> and put that centered and then I am just going to Alt+Drag or Option+Drag it to the right. And then when I go to my document pages, every single page is automatically numbered. That is a typical use for a master page and that's just a beginning of master pages.

4. Creating and applying masters intelligently

Highly effective InDesign pros are essentially lazy. It's true! They are savvy users who are always on the lookout for opportunities to make InDesign do the work instead of them. A prime example of this is master pages. Now why should I tediously add page numbers to every single page in this document when I could just go to the master page and add a page number there? So I am just going to create a text frame, go to Type > Insert Special Character > Marker > Current Page Number. I will select it and make it really large with Ctrl+Shift or Command+Shift+> and put that centered and then I am just going to Alt+Drag or Option+Drag it to the right. And then when I go to my document pages, every single page is automatically numbered. That is a typical use for a master page and that's just a beginning of master pages.

Now, I am always surprise to encounter people who actually never touch the master page and they just create everything from scratch on the document pages. But to become a true superuser of InDesign, you have got to use master pages. I will give you a few tips, some for beginners, some hopefully maybe a little bit more advanced. So everybody can get something out of this video. First of all, beginners should know that every single new document in InDesign comes with a master page whether or not you use it called A-Master and if it's a facing pages document, you will see facing pages on here.

Actually when you create a new document, when you go to File > New or press Command+N or Ctrl+N, the things that you are specing here are you are specing what the default master is going to look like. So you are not really specing the document pages. Just a little bit of trivia right there, I am going to click Cancel. By default, the master is called A- Master and you will see it here and you will also see it hiding way down here in the left-hand corner of your window. It's too bad they didn't have a larger signal, lets you know that you are working on the master because sometimes you can forget and accidentally work on master which is why it's a good idea to have the Pages panel open so you can see which page you are currently on.

Anything that appears on a master will appear on the document pages that are based on that master and that master page prefix appears in the little Page icon of the document pages. So you can see that A is applied, the A-Master and the tooltip will also remind you of such and as I add things to the Master Page, such as pictures, or guidelines, they will immediately appear on the document pages as well. So I have a guideline to this page and the guideline appears on the left-hand page of all the document pages.

Typically you add things that are going to repeat and that don't need to be edited on every single page. So guidelines or Margins and Columns. Like, I will go ahead and make the Top Margin say 20 picas and give it a couple maybe two or three Columns and then all of these pages automatically get that. Going a little bit beyond the basics of masters is that, you might want to assign layers to master page items because of this. We have created a page number and let's go ahead and add a little bit more to this master. I am going to zoom in here and type the word Page. Let's make that frame a little larger here, so you can actually see the word Page, Page: A.

Then maybe above Page A, I am going to add a Section Marker and just go to Type > Insert Special Character > Markers > Section Marker and let's say that I want that to appear at the upper left-hand corner of this page and I will Alt+Drag or Option+Drag it over to the right as well. There you go. Get rid of this guy. So that when I go out to my pages, let's say that I started new section here on Page 2. I am just going to right- click on Page 2, Numbering and Section options. I can type in a Section Marker, so I can say here-- I don't know.

Let's say Fixin's. Then we are in the Fixin's section, right, and then if I come over here to Page 5 and I start another new section. We will say Goodies. Then it automatically picks that up. So if I add a page after Page 3, let's add a couple of pages, then it knows to continue with the correct sections. If I grab a graphic or let's say that I put some kind of artwork on top of here and for some reason I want to put something here and I will fill it in with the Swatch. Then it automatically appears on top of the master page item. So master page items always appear in back of everything else. Even if I went to the master page and selected this item and went to Arrange > Bring to Front, that makes no difference.

When I go to that page, you can see that objects that you create on document pages always appear in front of master page items. If I wanted to bring this to the front, I could do this. I could override the item because they are locked by default. You have to press Command+ Shift or Ctrl+Shift and then click on them to override them. But you see even then it stays in back. So instead, a good idea, if you always want something on a master page to appear in front of document pages --I just undid to remove the override-- is to actually create a layer for those master page items. So I will create a layer and I will-- to make it really clear, we will call this 'Master items I want in front.' Then we will go to the master page and select these two frames and then move them to that layer.

So now when I go to this page, you can see that the master page item is in front and we can see it. Some tips for master pages are that you should name the master pages. Give them something other than the default name because if we start combining documents, it gets a little touchy about what happens when two documents that have the same name Master Page are combined. So a good idea would be to right-click on this master page or just select it and then go to the Pages panel menu, go down to Master Options for, and then it will have the name of your selected master page and give it a different name or a different prefix. Let me show you what happens if we keep it here.

I am going to leave it as A-Master. If I then create another document and I will just press Command+Option+N or Ctrl +Alt+N to bring up a quick document. I am going to make this first document float a bit, let's actually make them both float. So here is the document that I just created and on this master page, I will add let's say a couple of squares here with a different color and I will Option+Drag or Alt+Drag this over. So this is what the master page of this document looks like. Then if I actually bring a page over from that first document, like let's say that I want to move Page 2 over to this document. And so I just drag and drop from the Pages panel and drop onto the window of the document in back, then you can see that I have lost the master page of the document that I brought over. It's the receiving document's master page that trumps the one that you bring in.

In other words, I have lost my margin guides. I have lost this little box right here. I have lost my column guides because the master page names were exactly the same. That's what happened. Now to avoid that, there is two things you can do. First of all, you could rename the master page as I said, you can call this something else like Master Options and we will call this first Master and then if I come out to a document page and I drag and drop one of these pages onto the document behind it, then that master page comes along for the ride, and I don't lose my margin guides.

Another way to make sure that you are in control of what happens when you combine documents with similar named masters is to do this. Even if you left this as the default names, I am going to come back here and change it back to A-Master. If you don't want to bother renaming your masters, what you can do is just to select the master in the Pages panel and then go to the Pages panel menu and choose Move Master. So if I choose Move Master, I can move it to any current document that I have open, even if I haven't saved it yet. When you do that, we will get that Untitled 4. See what it did? It actually incremented the prefix letter.

So it didn't get sucked in by A-Master. It just added a second master. But that only works if you choose Move Master, not if you drag and drop pages, which bring their masters along with them. Look for ways to help masters save you time and your designs and you will be on your way to becoming a superuser.

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