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Creating Mixed Page Orientations in the Same Layout

InDesign user, Nick, asked me the following question:

“How do I change the orientation of a new custom page size I add? I’m trying to make a tabloid-sized fold-out page. I have a facing-page letter-size document, and I used the dropdown menu in the Pages panel to add the tabloid page, but it’s portrait like the rest of the document. I can’t find the control where I can change the orientation of the new tabloid page to landscape.”

In other words, Nick’s spread looked like this:
mixed page sizes with wrong orientation
But he wanted it to look like this:
mixed page sizes with proper orientation
The problem is that InDesign has two ways to change a page size (at least), and Nick was using the easy, shortcut way – who wouldn’t? Just select a page thumbnail in the Pages panel, as page 7 is selected below, and then choose a page size from the Edit Page Size button, circled in red:
Choose custom page size
That changes the size of the selected page(s) but the orientation and position of the master page items is not changed.

The slightly more complicated way to change a page size – using the Page tool – gives you many more options, including control over page orientation. Even if you would never think of mixing page sizes in the same document, you can still use the Page tool to change just the orientation of one or more of your existing pages, which could come in mighty handy!

To change the orientation of the page he added, I told Nick to click on the page (in the panel or right on the layout) with the Page tool, the third tool in the Tools panel. That puts InDesign into “Page Size Edit” mode, and so a phalanx of Page Size editing tools appears in the Control bar. There you’ll find two buttons controlling orientation (circled in red below). Click the Landscape button to change the page to that orientation.
Page tool options for changing orientation

Best of Both Worlds: Create a Custom Page Size

I asked Nick if he’d ever be using this kind of page again … a tabloid landscape page … in his work, and he said yes, quite a bit! He works for an architectural design firm, assisting the engineers in putting together proposals. And you know how those engineers love those fold-outs. ;-)

So I suggested that before he leaves Page Size Edit mode (by choosing any other tool) he take a moment and create a new Custom Page Size for this type of page. That way, he can just select it from the Edit Page Size dropdown menu at the bottom of the Pages panel (the “easy” way), and the custom orientation comes along for the ride!

It’s as simple as creating a new style or workspace. While you’re in Page Editing mode (with the Page tool selected), and you’ve got your selected page looking just right, choose Custom, the last item in the Page Size preset dropdown menu in the Control panel:
Creating and saving a custom page size with orientation
Name the new preset in the Custom Page Size dialog box and click the Add button if you want to create more custom sizes. Click OK when you’re all done.
saving the new custom page size
To use the preset, just do as Nick did in the beginning. Select a page in the Pages panel, and click the Edit Page Size button at the bottom of the panel to reveal the default page sizes. Your custom ones will appear at the top of the list:
The new custom size appears in the custom page menu
Custom page sizes are saved, by the way, in a Page Sizes folder in the InDesign settings folder, the same location that InDesign saves custom Workspaces, Keyboard Shortcut Sets, and saved Find/Change queries. So they’re available with every document from then on, and you don’t have to worry about them being deleted when you rebuild InDesign preferences, should you ever need to do that.

We are refreshing our oldest and most popular posts with updated information and screenshots. This post on InDesign’s mixed page orientations was originally published December 19, 2010. For the most current comments scroll to the bottom of the page.

Anne-Marie Concepcion

Anne-Marie Concepcion

Anne-Marie “Her Geekness” Concepción is the co-founder (with David Blatner) and CEO of Creative Publishing Network, which produces InDesignSecrets, InDesign Magazine, and other resources for creative professionals. Through her cross-media design studio, Seneca Design & Training, Anne-Marie develops ebooks and trains and consults with companies who want to master the tools and workflows of digital publishing. She has authored over 20 courses on on these topics and others. Keep up with Anne-Marie by subscribing to her ezine, HerGeekness Gazette, and contact her by email at or on Twitter @amarie
Anne-Marie Concepcion

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25 Comments on “Creating Mixed Page Orientations in the Same Layout

  1. I’ve been using this application and version HOW long, and I’m just now finding out about this?

    Thanks A-MC!

  2. this is a great find. I was putting a presentation together with horizontal and vertical pages. wasn’t sure how to do it. I was able to make new pages in InDesign, export as a pdf, put my pages together with existing pages in preview, and then upload to the web as an emag. (I use

    thanks for the great tip

  3. I have CS3. How do I change the orientation of a new custom page size? I’m trying to add a landscape page to a document that has a facing-page letter size document.

    Thank you,

  4. You are so good! In one easy step I got this with a great visual demo which was so, so helpful. Just signed up today as a written down link from I can now move forward. Thank you so much!

  5. This was SO extremely helpful! This will cut down multiple Indesign files in the project folder. I guess they are right… Ask and ye shall receive! Lol. THANK YOU so much for posting this!

  6. Thank you Anne for the tip. I was creating separate files for portrait and landscape sheets all this while. This really helps.

  7. Once again, InDesign Secrets comes through in a pinch. I work in the same industry and Nick (the original questioner) does and I frequently need to use a landscape tabloid page in a mostly 8.5×11″ portrait document. I have managed to finagle my way through it in the past, but it has been a struggle every time…and I have some really odd (and confusing) custom page sizes that cause all kinds of troubles for me. So, now I can alleviate both problems in one fell swoop. YAY!

  8. I’m creating many chapters to a book and the pages are both portrait and landscape. I create two templates; one of each. Will this work for my chapters? The reason I ask is because that wasn’t the option. I have master template for portrait and master template for landscape pages.

    • Terri,that’s exactly what I do. I create master pages with all of the required page elements in both portrait and landscape orientation. Then, when I add a new page to my document and apply the appropriate master page, the document page orientation is adjusted automatically.

  9. Terri Did you have any trouble printing. I’ve created Master pages that are portrait and landscape. It looks right in Indesign but i cannot figure out how to get it to print correctly. It either prints all portrait or all landscape. Help!

  10. Yeah I’m having the same problem as Rachel Grzymkowski. Horizontal and vertical pages all print to PDF as one single size: vertical. How to mix in PDF?

    • I just happened to run across your comment, so I know you’ve probably gotten beyond it…but when you export to PDF, it maintains the orientation of the page. Is that not what was happening? Anyone else have the same issue?

  11. This is AWESOME!!! So thrilled to have found this tutorial. And THANK you for the great images, I understand better with images. LOL.

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