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Changing the Size of the Pasteboard

JB wrote:

Is there a way to adjust the size of the pasteboard (horizontally)?

Before I answer that, I have to throw out one keyboard shortcut tip: Did you know that Command-Option-Shift-0 (zero) or Ctrl-Alt-Shift-0 fits the entire pasteboard in the document window? Isn’t that cool? Okay, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let’s tackle the problem.

First of all, you know you can change the height of the pasteboard (in case that little tiny amount above and below the page isn’t enough) in the Guides & Pasteboard pane of the Preferences dialog box. Just change the Minimum Vertical Offset.

But that’s not what you want; you want to expand the width. There is a clunky way to do this:

  1. Choose File > Document Setup
  2. Change the document width to be larger (like twice as big)
  3. Click OK
  4. Place an object on the far left and far right of the pasteboard (using that shortcut we learned above helps!)
  5. Now change Document Setup back to the original page width.
  6. When you click OK, you’ll notice that the pasteboard width stays expanded. Now you can delete those dummy objects and the larger pasteboard will remain.

There’s a more elegant, way, but it requires buying a plug-in: The Page Control plug-in from lets you adjust the pasteboard size to whatever you want.

Note that for many people, the issue is how to make the pasteboard size smaller, not larger! For example, every now and again, I still hear about people who get really huge pasteboard sizes. Often this is because there is an object hiding way out there somewhere (I don’t know how the object got out there… something went terribly wrong somewhere). Fit the pasteboard in the doc window, then press Command-A/Ctrl-A. If you see an object selected way out there, then delete it or move it. If you don’t, then move to the next spread and try again.

If there are no objects way out there, you can try to reduce the pasteboard size in one of a couple of ways.

  • Try changing the page orientation (landscape to portrait, or vice versa) in File > Document Setup. Click OK and then set it back again.
  • If that doesn’t work, save the file as INX (File > Export, then choose InDesign Interchange format). Then open that INX file. That often gets rid of weirdness like that.

[Update: Note that in CS4 and later, you should export as IDML instead of INX.]

One of those usually works for me. Anyone else have ways that have worked for them?

David Blatner

David Blatner

David Blatner is the co-founder of the Creative Publishing Network, InDesign Magazine, and the author or co-author of 15 books, including Real World InDesign. His InDesign videos at are among the most watched InDesign training in the world. You can find more about David at
David Blatner

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59 Comments on “Changing the Size of the Pasteboard

  1. Now you can adjust the size of the pasteboard to whatever you like with CS4 and above. Go to preferences/Guide & Pasteboard. Adjust the settings at the bottom of the window. Fantastic!

  2. In case you have just one oversized pasteboard, this might help:

    1. create a new spread before or after the one with the oversized pasteboard;
    2. select all the content of the oversized pasteboard;
    3. note the x, y coordinates of the selection;
    4. copy the selection to the new pasteboard;
    5. adjust the new x, y coordinates based on the ones just noted;
    6. delete the oversized pasteboard.

  3. I just had the same problem – I selected everything in the pasteboard and saw that something was waaaaaay off the screen – so far that I couldn’t even select it. So I delected everything I could by holding down shift and clicking on on what I could see to isolate it and then used the align panel to align vertical centers (with align to: set to page). The object showed up, I deleted it and the page went back to normal.

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