Chapter 15. Setting Up Your Document

THE FOUNDATIONS OF ANY PAGE DESIGN are the document dimensions: page size, margins, and the number of columns. While all of these can be changed when the document is in progress, there's nothing like getting it right to begin with.

Here are some things to consider when creating a new document:

  • What type of document is it? Is it a novel with one continuous text flow, a magazine or newsletter with multiple stories, a brochure, or a poster? Is the document a travel guide that will need to be compact and quickly accessible, or is it a luxurious coffee table book that will showcase the work of a famous photographer?

  • Are there images? If so, are they predominantly vertical or horizontal in orientation? Are they photographs, illustrations, maps, icons, or all of the above? Do they need to be integrated into the flow of the text?

  • Are there headings and subheads? If so, how many levels are there to this hierarchy?

  • Are there footnotes or endnotes?

  • Is there an index or appendix?

  • Is there any quoted matter?

Tip: Standard page sizes

US letter, A4, tabloid, etc., are convenient, but the world is full of documents in these sizes. Use them, but choose them intentionally because they offer the best solution for the design you are creating. Don't choose them just because they are the default setting. If you opt for a nonstandard page size, be sure to get a cost estimate from your commercial printer before you commit to designing your publication at that size. It's good to be different, but sometimes being different can come with a big price tag.

Figure 15.1. New Document.

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Another nice workflow feature is the ability to save your settings as a preset. Once you've keyed in the values you want, choose Save Preset. Thereafter you can choose the preset name from the Document Preset menu.