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Creating a New InDesign Document

by Ron Kurtus (revised 2 December 2020)

Although you can create a new document with Adobe InDesign using a template or an existing document, a common way is to create the document from scratch. This is especially true for simple documents.

To create a new InDesign document, you open the New Document dialog box and enter new options, if necessary. If you made changes, you can save them as a new Preset.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.

Open New Document dialog box

To create a new document click File > New > Document from the menu bar or simply key in Ctrl+n to open the New Document dialog box.

New Document dialog box

New Document dialog box

The default settings are displayed. Any changes will change the Document Preset item to [Custom].

Note that the default settings for dimensions are in PostScript points. You can type in your settings in different units—such as 8.5 in—to make changes.

Also, you can change your units from Edit > Preferences > Units & Dimensions.

See Setting InDesign Units and Increments.

The Gutter setting only concerns multiple columns.

You can select an existing Document Preset or choose your own options to create a custom document.

Enter your own options

If you have already set a Document Preset, you can select it now, and all your settings will change to those for the preset. You can enter your own options.


The intent of your document can be:

Number of pages

Set the number of pages for your document. You can add pages later, if necessary.

Facing Pages

Checking Facing Pages creates a document with left and right pages, such as for books and magazines. De-select option to let each page stand alone.

Primary Text Frame

Checking Primary Text Frame (formerly Master Text Frame) puts a full empty text frame on your pages. You can resize the text frames, if necessary.

Page size

The Page Size menu allows you to select specific formats or designate a Custom size.


You can set the number of columns and the gutter between them.


Set the Margins. The default sets all the same.

Bleed and Slug

The bleed area allows you to print objects that are arranged at the outer edge of the defined page size. This is especially used for colored areas, so there is no white showing due to slight misalignment during printing or trimming.

The slug area is discarded when the document is trimmed to its final page size. Objects (including text frames) positioned in the slug area are printed but will disappear when the document is trimmed to its final page size.

Save preset

If you are going to use this document design again, you can click the Save Preset button near the Document Preset menu. A dialog box appears, asking you to name the Preset.

Click button to save Preset

Click button to save Preset

Otherwise, you can click the OK button to create your new document.


To create a new document, you open the New Document dialog box and enter new options if necessary. If you made changes, you can save them as a new Preset.

Know your goals

Resources and references

Ron Kurtus' Credentials


How to Create a New Document in Adobe InDesign CS6 - InDesign for Dummies

Create New Documents - Adobe InDesign Help

InDesign Resources


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