Creating and Using Templates with InDesign, Part 2: Footers and Paragraph Styles

In the last Creating a Template with InDesign Part 1 article, we covered guidelines extensively. In this Part 2, we’ll cover creating footers and paragraph styles.

Generally recurring published materials like magazines have such information as title, page number, and date as footer information. With our template, it just makes sense to add this now as opposed to adding it later when we actually use the template to put together an article or magazine.

Let’s start with the title. We’ll first want to place a guideline 1/8th of an inch below the bottom page margin so that our footer isn’t right up against whatever content fills the page at a later time.

bottom guideline

Make sure you are on the Master Page view and press and drag a guideline from the top ruler to an 1/8 of an inch below the bottom margin (red) guideline on your page. This time I don’t worry about keeping the guide inside the page or its color because I am actually only using this specific guideline once. However, you can do what you wish with your own template guidelines!

Next, we’ll grab the Type Tool and draw a text box along the new guideline and starting from the left margin line. It doesn’t matter how big the box is as long as the desire text fits within it.

text box

Here I will type the word “Title” to represent the title of the Magazine. By default, the text appears in the font Minion Pro and size 12. I don’t much like this, so we’re going to format it differently. You can format your own however you want, but for this article, I want to change the font to Helvetica Neue Bold Condensed, all caps, size 8, and the color blue.


This looks nice and we want the rest of the text of our footer to be formatted just the same. Rather than going through the steps of formatting each piece of text individually, we can create a paragraph style and then simply apply that style to each piece of text.

To create a paragraph style based on the Title formatted text, select the text with the type tool. Then, open the Paragraph Styles panels from the dock, or find it under Type on the Menu Bar. With the text still selected, press the create new style button on the bottom of the Paragraph Styles Panel. A new style will appear in the list called Paragraph Style 1. To change the name, double click it and in the Paragraph Style Options dialogue box, type Footer where the default name exists.

new style

Create new style. 





Next, we’ll add the page number to the right side of the page and format it like the title by using the paragraph style we just created. Navigate to the right corner of the page and draw another text box. This time, instead of typing in the content, we will insert a special character (the page numeber) so that InDesign will automatically number our pages. To insert a page number, right-click the text box. Choose Insert Special Character, Markers, Current Page Number.

page number


A capital letter will appear (in this case, an A). To format the text, select it with the text tool and click Footer in the Paragraph Panel. Then in the control panel, choose right align to align the page number to the right edge of the page.

Screen shot 2013-04-26 at 11.02.08 PM

Next, we’ll add the month and year to the second page in the spread (this is where you might add volume and issue number). We’ll do this in exactly the same way as we did the title and format it with the Paragraph Panel. We’ll add another page number (current page number again) to the second page as well.

month year

Often times a magazine will employ a standard body text format. This means that all the body text in the magazine will be the same font, the same size and the same color. Sometimes magazine will employ the same standard header as well, or a number of any other elements. For this reason, we’ll make a standard body text for our template so that in the future when we use it to lay out articles, the body text style will already be there to use.

We’ll want to get a look at what the final version will appear like before we make it into a style, so we’ll start by drawing a text box on the page. It doesn’t matter where because, like the cyan guideline, this will not need to remain.

text box 2

Fill the text box with Placeholder text, found under Type on the Menu Bar.



The text box is then filled with Latin nonsense (literally). We’ll select this text with the type tool and begin formatting it with the Control Panel. For my body text, I want the font to be Palatino Regular, the size to be 10 point with a 12 point lead, and the color to remain black.

formatting text

I’ll add this style to my Paragraph Styles Panel by clicking on the create new style button and naming the new style Basic Body.

basic body

Now that I have the style, I can just delete the text box as well as the cyan guideline. To select the guideline, make sure your guides are not locked and select it with the selection tool then hit delete on your keyboard.

Save your progress! In the last part of this tutorial, we will cover creating an additional Master page, adding pages to your document and saving the document as a template.

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