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Every document has at least one set of purple column guides that described what the left edge and the right edge of the text column is. They are just guides, so you can ignore them if you want and put your text anywhere on the page but guides are excellent for increasing productivity and ensuring consistency throughout a document. If I go to the File menu and choose New Document, I can set my column guides for a new document here. I will set this to three columns and make the Gutter, let's say 1p6 in between each column, click OK and we can see that we now have a set of 6 column guides. Each one of these purple column guides denotes an individual text column but what if you have already created your document and you want to add guides to it.
Let's go back to the Choco_catalog document and I am going to open the Pages panel and I am going to double click on page three to jump right to that page. Close the Pages panel so we can see more of our page and I would like to add some column guides on this page. Because just this page is selected in the Pages panel because I double clicked on it, any changes I make will apply to only this page. I will go to the Layout menu. I will choose Margins and Columns and I am going to increase this to a three column layout. The Preview check box is turned so we can actually see the columns show up on the page. I am going to set the Gutter to let's say 3p between. Click OK. Looks pretty good and we can see that the guides are just guides, they are not affecting anything on the page but they do let us snap things to them very quickly. I will just grab these objects and snap them to guides and that just gives us a little bit more consistent, more finished look.
Now one of the coolest things about column guides in InDesign is that you can change the column guides and the objects on the page can change too. In order to do that, you have to turn on Layout Adjustment. So I will choose Layout Adjustment from the Layout menu, enable Layout Adjustment. Click OK and now any changes I make to these columns will actually affect the objects on the page themselves. I will go back to Margins and Columns and I will set this Gutter to something smaller maybe 2p. Click OK and you can see that immediately the Gutter has got smaller and all the objects got bigger. They actually stretched in order to fit the new Width. I will open the Pages panel and double click on Page two to go over to it and I am going to see that on this page I have two columns but they are not evenly spread out. You see this one is little bit further to the right than this one. I can really see that by going to the Layout menu, going to Margins and Columns and I am going to set for this to a two column layout and it's just affecting this one page. In this design, the text column needs to move a little bit further to the right but you can click and drag all you want and you cannot drag those column guides, very frustrating but there is a secret. The secret is you go to the View menu, scroll down to Grids and Guides and then turn off Lock Column Guides. When that's turned off, now suddenly you can drag those anywhere you want.
I will just drag that right over until it snaps against the side of that object there. Why don't I just drag this over a little bit to the right, so it snaps against that object as well? So this text frame is snapping against the guide, this one is snapping against guide, this one snapped against the guide while I am at it when I drag that until it snaps over to against guide as well. So now I have a lot more consistency in my layout. I know that all the objects are aligning just the way I want them to and again if I later went in and changed my Column Width for example maybe upped this to 3p, then suddenly it moves all those objects because Layer Adjustment is still turned on. When you are building a Structure Document with more than one column of text, such as a magazine or a newspaper, carefully positioning and managing your column guides can be a real lifesaver.
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