How-To: Mutiple Page Sizes In One File

Editor’s Note: Since this arti­cle was orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished a way to actu­al­ly cre­ate mul­ti­ple page sizes, includ­ing land­scape and por­trait, in the same InDesign doc­u­ment was released. The abil­i­ty is in the form of Page Control, a plug-in for InDesign CS and InDesign CS2, released by Pariah S. Burke and DTP Tools. Full details here.

QuarkXPress and Adobe InDesign are great when it comes to design­ing fly­ers or books, but what do you do when you find your­self with a job which requires a multi-format, multi-page lay­out? For instance, a client approach­es you with a real estate pre­sen­ta­tion con­sist­ing of a 2-page ver­ti­cal (por­trait) Letter-size prop­er­ty list­ing, plus a hor­i­zon­tal (land­scape) Letter-size road map, and a land­scape Tabloid-size area map tacked on for good mea­sure. In essence, you’ll need to com­pile a set of indi­vid­ual doc­u­ments of var­i­ous for­mats to be out­put, either to print or PDF, in your favorite lay­out appli­ca­tion. But which pro­gram should you use?

Don’t panic--both Quark and InDesign can cre­ate and jug­gle many loose doc­u­ments as a Book Project to be print­ed or export­ed to PDF, but each appli­ca­tion will also allow you to pro­duce a multi-format job as one doc­u­ment. Here’s how:

Fig. 1 InDesign, New Document dialogue box. Note that Facing Pages is unchecked.
Fig. 1 InDesign, New Document dia­logue box. Note that Facing Pages is unchecked.

Of the two, InDesign lets you cre­ate only one page size per file [Fig. 1]. You can then increase the hor­i­zon­tal size of your “pages” by cre­at­ing spreads to the size of the page you need [Fig. 2]. So, with an 8.5x11 inch orig­i­nal page size, you can cre­ate addi­tion­al “pages” in incre­ments of 8.5 inches--8.5x11 to 17x11 to 25.5x11 and so on.

Fig. 2 InDesign’s, Pages Palette with custom spreads.
Fig. 2 InDesign’s, Pages Palette with cus­tom spreads.

To cre­ate larg­er “pages” in the lay­out, make sure that Facing Pages is off and cre­ate spreads in the Pages Palette by click­ing the Create New Page but­ton at the bot­tom of the palette or drag­ging a page from your Master Pages onto the Palette. Select each of pages in the Pages Palette you want to turn into spreads and turn on the Keep Spread Together option from the Pages Palette fly­out menu. Move the pages in the Palette next to each oth­er so they form spreads to cre­ate your multi-format pages and have at it! You can now use each spread as a sep­a­rate page in your project and when you’re done, you’ll be able to print these spreads from InDesign as indi­vid­ual pages at what­ev­er size you set up.

Quark will let you do the same trick, but with one sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence: your final out­put will be sized at the largest page size in the doc­u­ment. None of your work will be refor­mat­ted, just the Letter-size list­ing will print at the dimen­sions of the Tabloid-sized map.

If tam­ing the Pages Palette isn’t your thing, Quark (ver­sion 5 and up) lets you cre­ate mul­ti­ple Layout Spaces with­in each project [Fig. 3]. You can cre­ate as many as 25 sep­a­rate Layout Spaces, each with a dif­fer­ent size and type (Print or Web), all in one doc­u­ment! The draw­back though is that you’ll only be able to out­put from one Layout Space at a time.

Fig. 3 QuarkXPress’s New Layout dialogue box.
Fig. 3 QuarkXPress’s New Layout dia­logue box.

In the end, the page-layout appli­ca­tion you use depends on your taste and your project. Both Adobe InDesign and QuarkXPress allow you to put togeth­er multi-format multi-page doc­u­ments in one file, but each one gives you this abil­i­ty in slight­ly dif­fer­ent ways. InDesign pro­vides the eas­i­er out­put abil­i­ty, but lim­its you to using page sizes in incre­ments of your orig­i­nal lay­out. Quark lets you cre­ate mul­ti­ple page sizes in one file using Layout Spaces, but lim­its your out­put abil­i­ty to one page or PDF at a time.

Whichever appli­ca­tion you choose, be sure to deter­mine what your final out­put needs are before you set out to design your project.

Vadim Litvak spends his days as a mild-mannered Corporate Graphics Specialist in the San Francisco Bay Area, but by night becomes the equal­ly mild-mannered prin­ci­pal of Eastern Block Design. He’s a pub­lished poet and event pro­mot­er who’s recent­ly refo­cussed his pur­suits to bet­ter ben­e­fit his two loves: Design and Family. Some of his work can be found online at www​.east​ern​block​de​sign​.com.

Pariah Burke

Author, consultant, trainer, guru: Digital Publishing, ePub, InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Quark. Empowering, Informing, Connecting Creative Professionals™

You may also like...

3 Responses

  1. Mark says:

    Is there any­way in InDesign to make dif­fer­et sized lay­outs or pages in the same doc­u­ment like Quark can do? and if it requires a plug-in where could i find it?

  2. Vadim says:

    InDesign does­n’t have the same Project and Layout fea­ture that Quark does, but you can out­put mul­ti­ple pages size at one time by build­ing mul­ti­ple lay­out files then join­ing them togeth­er with the Book Feature in InDesign (or Quark, for that mat­ter). This way you can cre­ate your multi-page, multi-format PDF right from InDesign, with­out ever hav­ing to open Acrobat to Insert Pages.

  3. Mark,

    At the time you asked the ques­tion, there was not a way to include mul­ti­ple page sizes in a sin­gle InDesign document--but one was in the works. I could­n’t talk about it then, but I can now.

    You’ll find here full details on the plug-in I cre­at­ed in part­ner­ship with DTP Tools.

    Page Control for InDesign CS/CS2 enables mul­ti­ple page sizes and land­scape and por­trait ori­en­ta­tion in a sin­gle InDesign doc­u­ment.