I'm relatively new to designing on a grid and was wondering if some more senior designers could share how they go about creating column guides to keep a visual consistency in their InDesign docs.

Specifically, I'm working on a landscape-oriented letter sized page with 0.5 in margins. If the gutter size matches the margins, there isn't room on the page for a 12 column system, but the design needs to accommodate both three column layouts and 4 column layouts. Does anyone have some insight into the best system to use?

  • What system are you looking for to divide a page into columns when Indesign do everything automatically?
    – user120647
    Commented Jun 25, 2018 at 8:07
  • I don't understand the question...
    – Joonas
    Commented Jun 25, 2018 at 8:33

1 Answer 1


0.5 margin is quite large and there is no reason to have gutters the same as margins. Short answer is make the gutters much narrower. What I would do is not use a grid at all, sorry if its sounds too radical, but you don't really need one unless you have a specific reason.

Otherwise, just put down a 10x7.5 inches text box, make the X and Y positions "0.5", then hit Ctrl+B and make it 3 columns with a 0.25 gutter.

On the next page, paste in place the same text box, hit Ctrl+B again and make it 4 columns with the same 0.25 gutter.

Then as you move along the document, either replicate the 3-column or the 4-column text box as needed and that is basicly your "grid".

If you really must use an actual grid via 'Layout → Margins and columns', I would recommend 2 master pages, each set up as 3-column and 4-column with the 0.25 gutter and then apply each master to pages individually as needed.

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