Indesign Page Numbering

By Tom Gillan

Page numbering in Adobe Indesign is an automated feature, straight-forward and integral to the creation of multi-page documents. We show you how in our Adobe Indesign courses.

In a new document double-click on the A-Master in the Pages panel to enter the master page layout. Note that you have a left and right hand page to the double-page spread. Zoom in to the bottom left of the left-hand page. Select the Type tool from the toolbox and click and drag to create a small text box between the margin and the paper edge. The cursor should be flashing to indicate that text can now be typed in. If the cursor is not visible simply change the text height up in the Control panel at the top of the interface. If this was simply text you would start typing. However, we want a page number to appear here, so right-click and choose Insert Special Character, Markers and Current Page Number. This will result in the letter A appearing in your text box, which stands for A-Master. This will be interpreted as an actual page number on each local page though.

Then right-click again and choose Insert White Space. Note the variety of white spaces available – these are used in the publishing industry and are more versatile than your standard spacing. Then choose M Space, which is the width of the capital letter M. If you like you could now add a vertical stroke by pressing Shift and hitting the key above the Enter key on your keyboard.

Alternatively you could add a Glyph, short for hieroglyphic. To access these go to the Type drop-down menu and choose Glyph. A dialog box will open, similar to that in Microsoft Word. Note the font field at the bottom of the box – each font has its own set of glyphs. Note that with the release of Adobe Creative Cloud, over 500 professional fonts, worth thousands of dollars, are now available through Adobe’s Type Kit. If you have an Adobe subscription these are all available to you free of charge.

Add another white space, as above. Then you could add the name of the journal or report. Select the text and format it, making sure to keep your glyph in its original font. The we copy this text box to the other page of the spread. Zoom out so you can see both pages in the spread, and either copy and paste the text box, or pressing Alt (or Option on the Mac) drag the text box with the Selection tool to the other page. You will then need to cut and paste the number tag A, spaces and glyph to the opposite side of the text box, and select the Align Right button on the Paragraph formatting options on the Control panel.

Then we test to see if it’s worked. Double-click on a local page and the page numbering should have worked. If not, it’s because you’ve created the text box on a local page by accident – if so, just cut and Paste In Place into the Master page. Now if you add or delete or move pages, the page numbering will update automatically. You also have more options available in the Pages options button. Go to Numbering and Section Options. Here you can use roman numerals or add section prefixes. In this way, an annual report could have different numbering for each report or chapter or section.

Indesign’s versatility has made it the industry-leader in the creative world. It is by far the best page layout software program, providing great features for truly stunning designs. Our courses aim to deliver a good understanding of best practices in using Adobe Indesign in the design environment. You will explore the main features of the program and gain valuable skills in using Indesign in an efficient and creative manner. Our courses also help you gain self-confidence in your workflow, as well as adding to your professional skill-set.

Tom Gillan has been training Adobe Indesign to corporate clients in Sydney for seven years. Visit our website for more information:

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