I'm using InDesign to format a teacher's guide. Each activity will be based on an Activity Master Page (call it B).

So I set up B with the frames I want to appear on each activity page. Then, to add content, I override the master. This all works out well, but if I want to make a layout change to all the activities at once, modifying Master B does nothing to the activity pages because those have already overridden the master.

How can I set up my document so that I can quickly make layout changes to a group of pages all at once?

2 Answers 2


I have just tested to be sure I'm correct (we used this method at a client for which I worked some years ago generating school curricula) and in fact it works for me in InDesign CC.

Masterpage laid out, with filler text in text boxes.

Override just the textframe item (Cntrl/Cmd + Shift + mouseclick) not the whole masterpage. Do not move the text frame at all on the local spread.

Enter new local text into the text frame directly on the target spreads - again, being careful to not alter the location or size of the textframe itself, just the textual content - no problem.

Return to masterpage and alter text boxes layout - no problem.

Return to target spread - new layout retaining local text - no problem.

Masterpage X enter image description here

Spread w/ X Master applied, item over-rides on one red line and on text box - new content entered into text box with no other changes to text box: enter image description here

Return to Master X - alter text frame layout: enter image description here

Return to target spread - here we see locally-entered spread text still in place, but layout has changed with Master X as expected. enter image description here

If you accidentally do alter the text frame location or size on the spread with that item over-ridden, that item will no longer update with the changes to the master, unless you then re-apply the Master - which would defeat the purpose of this workflow.

Overall - your method as proposed does work - if you're adequately careful.

Hope this helps.

  • 1
    That's amazing, thank you! I was overriding the entire master on the page, rather than just the frames to which I added content. Perfect!
    – devinr
    Apr 24, 2019 at 15:49

This is not quite the purpose of master pages. I mean it sort of is, but once you start making overrides, the link is broken and any updates to the B master will not apply to those pages with master overrides.

You may need to critically adjust your workflow and only include fixed-position elements on the master pages, then you'll simply not need to do overrides. There's not enough detail provided to properly suggest alternatives.

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