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Adobe FrameMaker Tutorial – Master Pages Formatting & Creating


The master pages control how all of your body pages will look. Imagine a piece of paper. If you tear off an inch off of all of the pages, you reduce your area to write by an inch, correct? The same theory comes into play with master pages. Changes you make to a master page reflect how your body pages will look.

To view your master page(s), select the “View” menu and click “Master Pages.” For the most part, you will see a totally blank page, even if you have lots of data entered on your body pages. This is normal! Think of this blank master page as the bathtub that all of your water (data) has been entered into.

Make sure that the graphics toolbar is open and available (under “Graphics,” select “Tools”). Using the selection arrow, you can change the size of your text flow by clicking on the dotted line, and dragging to your desired size. As said before, if you drag it an inch inward, your text will now not be in that space you took off. However, unlike paper, we are able to drag the text flow back to whereever we may take it off. Change the size of the text flow window (it’s that very large, tall rectangle with dotted lines), and go back to the body pages to see how the changes look (go to the “View” menu and select “Body Pages”).

You can also change the height and width of headers and footers using this method on the master page.

You can create a new text flow by using the “Place a Text Frame” tool in the toolbar. This is useful, for example, if you wish to make sidebars in your document, similar to magazines. Simply select the tool, click, and drag where you want to create a new text flow. Make sure you give yourself room to do so. You may want to reduce the size of the previous text flow, first.

Creating a Master Page

Most books are dual-sided. To be able to do something like this in FrameMaker, you will need two master pages. When you create a new document, you are automatically provided with one master page. Since there are left and right pages to a book, you’ll obviously need to create a new master page to reflect this.

While viewing master pages, choose the “Special” menu, and click “Add Master Page.” You’ll need to give your new master page a name. If you want your previous master page to be for the right pages, you could name the new master page “LeftPage,” or something similar.

For the “Initial Page Layout,” you can do one of two things. Using “Copy from Master Page” will give you a new master page that is an exact copy of your previous master page. This is useful if you want the pages to be somewhat similar, or exactly the same. If you choose “Empty,” a new master page will have nothing on it, including text flow boxes. You’ll need to create it all from scratch.

Advanced Formatting

You can add images and graphics on a master page. Try this the same way you would as if doing so on a body page. Now, switch back to a body page view. You’ll notice you can’t format the graphics on the body page. This is useful if you want to keep a company logo on each individual page.

Assigning Master Page Usage

After creating a new master page, you’ll want to assign your body pages to follow the format of specific master pages. For example, starting with page 1, you may want that page and all odd-numbered pages after that to follow the “Right” master page.

Make sure you are in the body page view. Click on the “Format” menu, “Page Layout,” and select “Master Page Usage.”

In “Use Master Page,” select your “right” master page. Now you’ll want to use the “Apply To” (middle) part of this window. Click the button next to “Pages,” and enter the starting number you wish to assign a specific master page (usually number one). In the next box, enter the ending page to use that master page (if you have 17 pages total, it would be 17). Since you want to assign the odd number pages to the “Right” master page, make sure only “odd” is checked off. Once you click “Apply,” all pages one to (for example) seventeen will be using that master page format. Be sure to go back in and apply the “left” master page to all even pages (for example, 2 to 16).


Now that you’ve learned how to create your own master pages, insert new text flows, and put graphics in, play around with the master pages to come up with your own unique layout.