Sometimes you need to resize a page in your document pronto, or switch the orientation of a page at the drop of a hat. In this Bitesize Tutorial we’ll take a look at:
How you can use the Page Tool to create custom page sizes as you work
How the Liquid Layout function can keep the content of your page proportional
How Master pages can help you achieve easy-peasy page size changes in your InDesign document
1. Meet your new best friend…the Page Tool
You probably already know how to create a new InDesign document which shares the same page size and orientation throughout. But what happens when you want to resize a single page to, say, provide a pull-out section in the middle of a book? Or you want to rotate a page to allow the viewer to read a single page in landscape, rather than portrait, format?
This is where the Page Tool (Shift + P) comes in handy. The Page Tool (Shift + P) is a really useful little tool that you can find in the Tools panel.
Up near the top of the Tools panel, just the third option down, is the Page Tool. It looks like a white rectangle with a small cursor at the corner.
Click the Page Tool to activate it. Now, here we have a few pages from this layout for Foodie Magazine, just to demonstrate. Now, let’s say the printer has been in touch with me, and wants the back cover of the magazine to be slightly larger than the inside pages of the magazine. This seems pretty unlikely, unless we were going to be creating a hard-bound cover, but let’s just take this as an example.
With the Page Tool selected I then click onto the back cover page to tell the Page Tool that this is the page we want to resize. Small white extension marks have appeared around the edge of the page.
To resize the page, I need to navigate up to the controls panel running along the top of the workspace. You’ll notice that some new options have appeared. We’ve got some text boxes where we can manually type in a revised Width and/or Height measurement for the page. So you can resize using that method, if you want to create a non-standard size for the page.
To the right of the Height and Width text boxes you can also access a drop-down menu of standard page sizes. So we can adjust the page size to something like A3 or Letter, or we can select a pre-saved Custom Page Size from the options towards the top of the menu if we scroll upwards.
Let’s set a custom Width and Height, adding 2 mm to the size on all sides. So I can type in 214 mm for the Width and 301 mm for the Height.
And we are also given the option to adjust the orientation of the page, from the Landscape and Portrait icons to the right of the standard page size drop-down menu.
And then, when we’re happy with the revised size of the page we can go back to the usual Selection Tool, by clicking the top black cursor in the Tools panel, and begin to reshuffle and resize the content on the page to fit the page’s new dimensions.
2. Hmm…OK…but how do I keep the content on the page proportional?
Well that’s all fine I guess…but isn’t there a more efficient way of reorganising your page’s content once you’ve resized something?
Well, the answer is yes – there’s this nifty feature called Liquid Layout, which arranges the content on the page according to how you resize it, and to what orientation you set the page to.
We can see a very reduced option for applying Liquid Layout from this top control panel, but let’s open up the full Liquid Layout panel, so we can take a really good look. Go to Window > Interactive > Liquid Layout.
You’ll notice that this panel is greyed out whenever we don’t have the Page Tool selected. Keep the Page Tool selected in order to use Liquid Layout.
The default Liquid Layout Rule is called Controlled by Master. That means that whatever Rule has been applied to a Master, will be applied in turn to the page or pages that Master is applied to.
From the Pages panel I can see that this back cover page has a Master called ‘E-Back Cover’ applied to it. So let’s double-click that Master page to bring it up on screen.
When I select the E-Master with the Page Tool, the Liquid Layout panel tells me that the Liquid Layout Rule is set to Off. So this means when I resize any page with the E-Master applied to it, nothing will happen to the content on the page.
But if I return to the Master and adjust the Liquid Layout Rule to Re-center, for example, you’ll see that I can now the content of the page remains centered on the page as I resize.
If I choose Scale as the Liquid Layout Rule for the Master, the content will resize, and scale up or down uniformly, as you resize the page.
Note: If I want to permanently change the size of the page I have to hold down the Alt key while I resize. If I don’t the page will just snap back to size.
Pretty neat. This is particularly useful when you have a lot of carefully prepared content on your page, and you don’t want to lose the proportions.
And that’s how you resize pages in your InDesign documents using the Page Tool. The rule of thumb is:
- If your page is blank or has very little content, you can just resize using the options available in the Controls Panel at the top of the InDesign Workspace.
- If your page is content-heavy, open the Liquid Layout panel (Window > Interactive > Liquid Layout); set the Rule of the page to Controlled by Master, and adjust the Master’s Liquid Layout Rule to one of the following options: Scale, Re-center, Object-Based, or Guide-Based, depending on how you want your content to adjust on the page that has that Master applied to it. This will keep give you much more control over the arrangement of elements on the page.
Using the Page Tool, and becoming familiar with the Liquid Layout function, in InDesign can really transform the way you approach designing and editing documents. They allow you to be flexible in your work, accommodating changes to page size and orientation without having to rethink the whole layout of the page from scratch.
To find out more about pages and Masters InDesign, check out our detailed look at the Pages panel here. To find more useful InDesign tips and tricks pay a visit to our beginner InDesign tutorials page.