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Editing the Default New Document Preset

Recently, one of our fellow InDesign users asked the following question:

Is there a way I can permanently turn off facing pages in InDesign? Right now, we have to uncheck the facing pages box on the new document dialog box. Most of the documents we create would not be appropriately set as facing pages.

In all versions of InDesign from CS on, the Facing Pages option is automatically enabled in the [Default] new document preset. This is fine if the bulk of the layouts that you create in InDesign include spreads. However, if the majority of the layouts that you create are single page designs, then you must always remember to disable Facing Pages in the New Document dialog box. Is there any way to change the [Default] new document preset?

The answer is yes. Thankfully, InDesign understands that the default new document settings may not be perfect for everyone. To edit them, you must first choose File > Document Presets > Define. When the Document Presets dialog box appears, select [Default] from the Presets list and click Edit. Doing so displays the Edit Document Preset dialog box. Proceed to turn Facing Pages off and click OK. From that point forward, every new document that you create using the [Default] preset will not have Facing Pages enabled.

Of course, the same principle applies if the majority of the documents that you create are not Letter size (8.5″ x 11″). Maybe you work for a magazine publisher whose pages print at 8.125″ x 10.875″. Rather than entering these values in the New Document dialog box every time you start a project, it makes sense to either change the page size in the [Default] preset, or else create a new preset all together.

To create a new document preset, choose File > Document Presets > Define. When the Document Presets dialog box appears, click New. Doing so displays the New Document Preset dialog box. Proceed to enter your preferred settings. When you’re ready to save your preset, give it a descriptive name, such as ‘8.125 x 10.875 magazine spread’, and click OK. After the preset is saved, you can access it from the New Document dialog box Presets list, or from the File > Document Presets submenu.

Ted LoCascio
Ted Locasio is a professional graphic designer and an expert in Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, InDesign, Illustrator, and QuarkXPress. He served as senior designer at KW Media and the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) for several years, and has created layouts and designs for many successful software training books, videos, and magazines. He is the author of InDesign CS2 at Your Fingertips, The InDesign Effects Book, and Combining Images with Photoshop Elements. He has contributed articles to Photoshop User magazine, InDesign magazine, and has taught at PhotoshopWorld. Ted is also the video author of InDesign CS2 Essential Training, Font Management, Illustrator CS2 Creative Techniques, and Creative Suite 2 Integration: Print Project Workflow--all available at He also teaches a Digital Graphics course at St. Petersburg College, in Seminole FL.
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26 Comments on “Editing the Default New Document Preset

  1. I think you can simply change the settings of the [Default] profile by clicking “Save Preset?” in the “New Document” dialog box and choosing “[Default]” from the dropdown menu. InDesign will then ask if you want to replace the existing default profile with your own, so no need to go all the way through the document preset manager.

    There is also a way to add additional sizes to the size dropdown, which is useful if, say, you have to create lots of posters in A2 or A1 format.
    If you go to your InDesign application folder, there is a text file named “New Doc Sizes.txt” in the “Presets > Page Sizes > en_US” (or whatever your locale is) folder, which you can edit with a simple text editor. You can then set that size up as your default size using the method described in the post.

  2. Peter’s tip FTW. New doc->Edit prefs, save preset, select [Default] from the pop-down and replace.

    I always set mine to include master page text boxes using this.

  3. You can also set the default simply by selecting File > Document Setup with no document open in InDesign and uncheck Facing Pages (useful method for setting InDesign’s defaults).
    Since Document Presets appeared in CS, this was the only way to set this default in that ancient prehistoric era of earlier versions (where Facing Pages was also checked as default).

  4. I tried to be clever but WordPress outsmarted me so my previous comment doesn’t use correct symbols.

    Anyway, x and quotes are no replacement for multiplication sign and inch sign

  5. @Weller:
    Well, I see it as I think you intended it to be, straight quotes instead of curled ones for the inches, and multiplication sign instead of x.

    So what’s the 3rd?

  6. 3rd is actually the second inch sign.

    I feel quite guilty now. I should have sent personal message instead of imapropriate comments

    Feel free to delete my comments for this post


  7. Ehh, no biggie. I think you can tell we encourage all sorts of comments even if they veer wildly off-topic. (and yours did not…)

    Yes the WordPress interpretation of certain characters you enter can really mess things up. I think if you use the blockquote tags before and after, special characters should remain intact.

  8. Thanks for the tip. I’ve had facing pages turned off, as well as some other custom page presets for quite a while now, but I forgot that you can edit the default directly. I was stuck in the mindset of saving preferences for that one (exit all docs, change settings and restart ID).

    {It’s easy to forget how annoying the “unnecessarily facing pages” can be when you have that setting fixed on your own computer.}

  9. This is probably not the right area for this, but I couldn’t find a more appropriate one. I have a 2-fold question:

    1.) I have an Indesign file that has many style sheets in it. How can I make all of these style sheets my defaults when Indesign starts?

    2.) Is it possible to add style sheets from one file to the default style sheets when Indesign starts?


  10. I know how to use the default document presets, but cannot figure out how to get new documents to open with inches instead of picas.

  11. How do I change the default setting so that it lists inches instead of mm? Every time I try to manually type ‘in’ on the document setup, it changes it back to mm.

  12. In CS 5.5, where are the InDesign document presets stored? I know how they are named, but a quick search in the Finder reveals no such files. I need to share some document presets, not print presets, and while I can save a preset to the desktop, I want/need to know where they actually reside.

  13. @BT: On the Mac, you have to open the user/Library/ folder and then do the search inside the Library folder. The files are in library/preferences/adobe indesign/version number…

  14. How do you change already facing pages to non facing pages or copy work so that no facing pages can be set as default?


    Will a PDF exported from InDesign with facing pages print individually on 8.5 x 11 paper in s standard at home inkjet?
    Thank you

  15. I found an easy way to change from pica to inches in CS5 … it doesn’t change the default I guess, but made my life easier to realize that if I right click the rulers to the left and above my document, and change them from pica to inches, then my text boxes also display in inches when I’m making adjustments to height and width.

  16. My Page Size in Document Presets is stuck on “custom2” instead of Letter. I tried to redefine and save [Default] but it doesn’t stick; it reverts back to “custom2.” I’ve also deleted prefs, to no avail. Help!

    • @hima: If I understand your question correctly, you would close all InDesign documents. With the program itself still open, click on the right-align button in the Control Panel at top or in the Paragraph panel. From then on, every text frame you create manually defaults to flush-right alignment. Or should.

  17. How do you setup a document in InDesign CC 2017 as 8.5×11 in. Is there anyway to change the unit of measurements as well. i’m trying to design a resume.

    • Benjamin, you can change your units on the New Document dialog box by first closing all existing ID documents, going to InDesign CC>Preferences in the menu and navigating to the Units tab. Changing them there will change the units for every new document going forward. If you want to change units only for one document, simply follow those instructions with a document open.

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