I want to look at two parts of an InDesign document simultaneously. Is it possible to "split" the view in one window so that I can see the two parts together in one window?

edit: In CS5 at least, I can open a second window with the same document and arrange them side-by-side, which would really be good enough, except that command-tab application switching doesn't properly return focus to the active window in InDesign—when I command-tab back to InDesign, most keystrokes still go to the text frame that was active, but spaces in particular do not, until I click somewhere in that window or text frame.

  • are you working on a Book?
    – Jack
    Commented Apr 4, 2011 at 4:55
  • @Jack: I am working on files that are in an InDesign Book. The two parts I want to look at are in the same file, though.
    – Isaac
    Commented Apr 4, 2011 at 6:53
  • Are you in CS5? Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 14:11
  • @GoofyMonkey: Yes, I still use CS5.
    – Isaac
    Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 14:36
  • Ok thanks. I still have it too, I just didn't want to offer an answer that wouldn't be possible in CS5. Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 14:37

6 Answers 6


What you're looking for is in Window > Arrange > New Window. That opens up a second window with the same document in it.

  • Right—as I intended to indicate in my edit, I know I can do that, but when I do that, switching from another app back to InDesign doesn't properly put the focus back into a text frame: spaces and possibly other special keystrokes aren't put into the frame, while letters and most other keystrokes are. This leads to a substantial slow-down in my workflow.
    – Isaac
    Commented May 11, 2011 at 4:27
  • Ah. Missed that, sorry. I can't reproduce the problem, so either it's a Mac-specific bug or you may need to trash your preferences file and retest. I've not heard of this coming up as a bug, either, but you might check the Adobe InDesign User to User forum in case someone else has seen it. Commented May 11, 2011 at 6:54

Nope. I really wish we could, however. There are strategies for managing and maintaining consistency in design and layout—text styles, object styles, swatches, and libraries (objects).

  • Unfortunately, consistency isn't what I'm working on (I've got that nailed with styles, as you suggest). I have questions on the first page of each document and solutions several pages later and when I'm writing the solutions, it's kind of helpful to be able to look at the questions (and I write it all straight into InDesign).
    – Isaac
    Commented Apr 4, 2011 at 16:51

What you could do is export your document to a PDF file and reference the PDF file while you work on the INDD file. That would be the most simple and effective way to look at two parts of the same document at the same time.

  • Not a bad idea, but it wouldn't let me edit both parts of the document. As I'd mentioned in a comment, I've got questions in one part and am writing solutions in the other part. With some frequency, writing the solutions causes me to catch errors in the questions, so it's useful to be able to edit there, too.
    – Isaac
    Commented Apr 15, 2011 at 5:19
  • Do they need to be separate files or can you break it into two documents? Because if you can break it into two documents without too much hassle, you could switch to tile view. Commented Apr 15, 2011 at 15:18

The only way to do it is with Window>New Window.

You'll just have to be careful that you are in the right window with the correct text frame selected. There is no other way.


Ok, I don't think what you are asking for is possible in InDesign CS5, unless you open the same document twice and split the view, as other people have mentioned.

In CS6 however, there is an option that is part of the Alternate Layouts set of features that allows you to Split Window to Compare Layouts. It does exactly what you are asking for.

In CS6:

1. Open the pages palette.

2. Just below the Master pages on that palette is a title for your layout, click the arrow to the right to get the Alternate Layout fly-out.

enter image description here

3. Choose Split Window to Compare results. This works without creating an Alternate layout, and will allow you to compare different parts of the same document.

enter image description here

Sorry this won't work in CS5. The Alternate Layout features came with CS6.


Althought newer versions of InDesign support the Split View option (using CS6) I still prefer the old way of Window > Arrange > New Windows for "document name".

This is so because it allows Ctrl + Tab to work to cycle between both the views which are basically working like two different documents open in a tabbed format. The Split View option won't let you use the keyboard to cycle between both the views.

  • That's basically what I do, but as described in my edit section, there seems to be a bug at least in Mac CS5 where some keypresses (in particular, the space bar) aren't sent to the text frame after switching back to InDesign from another application.
    – Isaac
    Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 5:56

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