This has been bugging me a while. I am working on a photo book with a lot of full page spreads.

I have 2 master templates:

  • A-master, with a full spread graphic frame
  • B-master, with a 2/3 graphic frame and some room for text next to it

I have a few pages filled with images (based on A-Master). When I edit the width of the graphic frame in A-master, all instances on excisting pages scale, so they are not detached from the master. But when I apply B-master to them, the pages stay the same and it seems to add the new graphic frame from B-master below.

Is there any way to apply B-master to the existing pictures on the pages without deleting and placing the images in the new frames?

  • 1
    Hi Lezz, there is something unclear in the process and some information is missing like if it is a single or facing pages doc. Could you include some screenshots of the two master-pages please?
    – user120647
    Commented Jul 26, 2018 at 14:14
  • Also... what version are you using?
    – Vinny
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 6:42
  • You need to use sub masters, as in go to the master page options and set a master to be based on some other master. So if I understood your setup right, you need to have 1 master with the repeating image in it and then base the 2 graphic frame masters on that master. That way whenever you place either of the graphic frame masters, it'll also include the repeating image. You just have to make sure the repeating image is on a higher layer than the graphic frames, because otherwise the stacking order of the sub masters dictate the... stacking order, so layer stacking is needed to reverse that.
    – Joonas
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 7:51
  • @Joonas I don’t see how that can work. The frame is different sizes on the two masters, which cannot (as far as I know) be achieved without overriding the inherited item. What repeating image are you talking about? Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 12:30
  • @JanusBahsJacquet, it's very likely that I didn't understand the question.
    – Joonas
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 13:08

1 Answer 1


Apart from a scripting solution, I don't see how you can do this natively.

As a matter of fact, many users misunderstand how Master pages and master elements behave. And overriding master elements usually leads to many trouble and headaches...

In your case, overriding A-Master placeholder before applying B-Master leads to the dissociation of the placeholder from any Master. This is the expected behavior...

Now, your layout seems pretty simple and I think we can think differently in order to find a convenient and easy workflow. So here's my suggestion:

First, I would create a unique Master spread, placing a guide (or margin) where the image should stop. Then I would create my full page image placeholder. Finally I would create a new layer for the text, drag it down under the "images" layer and create a (primary) text frame.

Now, you are ready for a full page layout by default. And if you want to change a spread layout, all you have to do is to resize the image frame to snap the guide. Automagically, the primary text frame is ready for your text.
To go back to a full page layout, resizing back is as fast as applying a master. You can even leave the text frame if you are as lazy as I am ^^

Of course, an object style set up with automatic image fitting would be handy.

See what I mean? See the animated illustration:


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