I currently have importing XML in InDesign working, but I'd like to work with multiple masters so that the page design alters every other spread.

Something like: [ A-left | A-right ] [ B-left | B-right ] [ A-left | A-right ] ..... [ B-left | B-right ] [ A-left | A-right ] [ B-left | B-right ]

Where content on the A masters is something like: Heading | ---------------| Description | Project Image ---------------| Author Details |

And the B master would be a reflection of the A master: | Heading |--------------- Project Image | Description |--------------- | Author Details

I tried moving my XML structure from my first page, to one of the A master pages, but this seems to mess up the XML structure, with multiple root elements, one per page with the master applied.

My current XML structure looks like: students \-- student |-- heading |-- description |-- project image \-- author details |-- forename |-- surname |-- supervisors \-- major

1 Answer 1


First of all, getting a "module" (see it as an elementary set of objects to be repeated) to be repeated require some specific tagging and layout preparation.

You need to have a primary text-frame that will be tagged with the parent node (students). Adding students tag to main frame

Then, you need to add a student tag inside the main frame. Adding the student node

Now put your cursor inside the student tag and add a page break character. That will be useful later. Adding page break inside student node

Now create a textFrame and tag it with "box". Anchor that tagged frame inside the "student" node but before the page break. Use editor node if necessary. Adding the anchored text frame

Use anchored object options to set the frame so it's opposed to the spline. That way, it will always be moved whatever the page it's on. Editing anchored text frame options

Use an anchored objects into which will come the student data. Use object styles as you may want to make later changes to the frames.

Now, add the extra tags inside the box. Adding final tags inside the anchored text frame

Have your xml compliant with this indesign xml structure or use XSLT to make it match the existing structure. Or it won't produce the expected results.

Now import checking "Clone repeated text elements" Setting import options

Et voilà, Final import result

  • Yes, but what about multiple masters? This gets me half-way. Imagine every odd spread where the "box" frame is aligned to the outside edges instead of inside edges, and content inside the box similarly aligned reverse to the A-master in your example. Basically, B-master would be A-right | A-left in essence.
    – jessicah
    Jan 31, 2018 at 0:28
  • 2
    InDesign XML flow won't let you call different masters during the import. In other words, you can't tell InDesign to use master A for content on page 1, B on page 2 and so on. So basically, you can either have multiple boxes with different behaviors regarding to the spline or use a script to apply the right master on the specific page.
    – Loic
    Jan 31, 2018 at 9:27

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