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Adobe InDesign: Creating Automated Page Titles and Numbering

This article works particularly well on long documents that might contain Chapter or Section Headings or be part of an InDesign Book. 

When you are working on a Document that contains a large number of pages and is broken up into sections and/or chapters, a particularly unpleasant task to be faced with is a request to add Section or Chapter Titles to the page header or footer alongside the page number. Managing where and when these titles appear or change is a monotonous and hazardous task for even the most organized mind. So definitely not one for me then!

What if you could automate the whole workflow? Well, in InDesign you can, and here is how.


Step 1 - Create an unique Paragraph Style for your titles

Create a new Paragraph style by clicking on the Create New Style button in the Paragraph Style Panel:

New Style Button & New Style Listing

New Style Button & New Style Listing


Double Click on the style named "Paragraph Style 1" to open its options. 

Tip: Press Option as you click on the Create New Style button opens this dialogue box as you create the style, saving you the Double Click. 

Style Dialogue Box

Style Dialogue Box


Name the style "Chapter Name" and set the style options to suit. 

Style set

Style set


I've chosen a font style of Trebuchet MS at a size of 18pts and Bold. Feel free to embellish the text further. This style will be used on any Chapter titles I add to the Document, and only to those titles. This is important, as you will see. 


Step 2 - Creating a master text area

From the Pages Panel double click on the A-Master page to load that page in the document window, ready for editing.

A-Master Loaded

A-Master Loaded


I've decided to create a Footer at the bottom of each page of the double-page spread that will contain the Chapter Name and the Page Number. Use the Text Area Tool to create a text box under the bottom margin, from the Outside Margin to the Spine. 

Text Box

Text Box


Step 3 - Creating the Auto text

Typing a chapter name here now would mean that any modification to an existing chapter title, or any additional chapters that were added to this document would then have to be manually amended on the Master Page also. Instead, we are going to create a Text Variable to do that for us automatically. 

In the Type menu choose Text Variables > Define...

Text Variables

Text Variables


There are a number of standard variables available already that insert auto text like Chapter Numbers or Image Names. We need to create a new variable for our purposes. 

Variable window

Variable window


Click on New to begin creating a new variable. Name it "Chapter Footer" and from the Type Menu choose Running Header (Paragraph Style).

Variable Editor completed

Variable Editor completed


Under Style choose the Paragraph Style you made earlier called "Chapter Name" and choose First on Page from the Use menu. 

This now creates an Automated Text Variable that will contain any text that has the Chapter Name Paragraph Style applied to it. If you remain disciplined and only use the Chapter Name style for Chapter Names the variable will function properly. 

Click OK and the Chapter Footer variable will appear in the Text Variables list. Click Done to complete the process.


Step 4 - Inserting the Variable Text

On the A-Master double click in the text box you created to enter the Type mode.

Text Box active

Text Box active


Choose from the menu Type > Text Variables > Insert Variable > Chapter Footer and the variable will appear. 

Variable Appears

Variable Appears


Use a paragraph style (other that "Chapter Name") to style the footer text. 


Step 5 - Inserting the Page Number

After the Variable insert an em space by pressing Shift-Option-M or using Type > Insert White Space > Em Space.

Then insert the Current Page Number by pressing Option-Shift-Command-N or use Type > Insert Special Character > Markers > Current Page Number 

em space and number inserted

em space and number inserted


Step 6 - Duplicating to both Spreads

Using the Select Tool (Press V) press and hold Option and then drag the text frame containing the text variable over to page 2 of the spread and position it. 

Tip: Holding down Shift at the same time constrains the movement to just be Horizontal which keeps the text aligned.

Holding Option as you drag results in a duplicate text frame being moved rather than the original. 

Duplicated text frame

Duplicated text frame


You will now need to align and adjust the text so that the Text Variable and the Page Number are mirrored on page 2.

Mirrored Variable etc

Mirrored Variable etc


Step 7 - Adding the Chapter Name

In the Pages Panel double click Page 1 and add a text field.

Page 1 and text box

Page 1 and text box


Type in the Chapters Name and apply the Paragraph Style "Chapter Name" to the text from the Paragraph Style Panel.

Chapter Name

Chapter Name


The text variable will spring into life and reveal the chapter name alongside the page number at the foot of the page. 

Completed Footer

Completed Footer


Now you can create as many pages as you like in your document based on the A-Master knowing that each one will automatically display the Chapter Heading and the Page Number. If you change the Chapters Name this too will automatically be reflected in the Variable. Very handy.


 

David Smith

David Smith | Articles by this author

David Smith is Scotland's most qualified Apple and Adobe certified trainer. Having completed his education at Edinburgh College of Art's BAFTA winning Film School, David moved straight into TV production, first as a Vision Mixer then quickly becoming, at the age of just 24, a director of live TV studio productions. In 2001 he moved into Higher Education where he became a lecturer in TV Production, specializing in post-production and live studio production. During this time, and working with the support of the BBC, Channel 4 and independent production companies, David was instrumental in the design, development and implementation of industry-approved vocational courses across Scotland's Colleges. In 2006, after working closely with Apple Computers to create a unique multimedia studio for education at the Music and Media Centre in Perth, David became Scotland's first Apple-Certified Trainer for Pro Apps. This led on to David forming the first Apple Authorized Training Centre for Education, north of Manchester. In 2008 David made the move to full time training and joined the ranks at Academy Class, Ltd. where he continues to train industry professionals as a certified trainer across the Adobe Creative Suite and Apple Pro Apps range.

Comments

Aug 07, 2014
parvaneh
hello
Thank you so much for this article
it was very good and solved my problem.
good luck
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