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What I'm trying to achieve

I'm designing a book that will need to be printed and also exported to Interactive PDF for viewing on the web. Ultimately, I want to be able to use the same InDesign file to export to Interactive PDF (for viewing on screen) and bundle to send to a printer (with correct spine margins for binding).


The issue I'm running into

The printer template has built-in margins for the spine of the book (green in the image below) which is causing content to shift from side-to-side when viewing as a PDF.

Example showing margins for the spine.

When I export this document to Interactive PDF and view it in my PDF reader the content is shown one page at a time as usual. Because of the spine margin the content shifts from side-to-side as you scroll. Below is an example of the alternating spine margin when viewing as a PDF. I realize this is necessary for printing, but for viewing on screen it is jarring to see the content shift every single page - ideally it should be centered when viewing on screen.

Example of alternating spine margin when viewing as PDF.


What I've tried

I've googled a pretty exhaustive list of words to try and come up with a solution for this, but nothing has popped up. It could be that I'm just not using the correct terminology to bring up the results I need. I've also fiddled around with InDesign margin and bleed settings for a good amount of time but haven't been able to solve this one myself yet. Am I missing something simple here?

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  • You need to have two separate designs one for print and one for screenviewing.
    – joojaa
    May 24 at 14:27
  • @joojaa So, two completely separate files? There's really no easy way to trim that inner spine margin when exporting? Or, designing for screen and then adding in the margin for print in export?
    – mcriecken
    May 24 at 14:30
  • Well sure. The problem is it would perform badly in many cases and graphic design is more a artisanal thing so thats how they would do it. You can obviously change your pages but...
    – joojaa
    May 24 at 14:36
  • Doesn't page numbers also jump from side to side? That's just how it is. You've designed something to be seen in spreads, but you also want it to look like it was designed for single pages. If the only problem you have is the inner margin, you could make another indd document where you place your original indd document and adjust the position/size of pages. Once set up, it will update when you save the original file. Btw: inner and outer margins in a booklet/book are often not the same. Not only to account for spine, but also for aesthetic reasons.
    – Wolff
    May 24 at 15:01

2 Answers 2

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I have a solution for you, but I fear you might find it cumbersome. If you have many pages, it's a quick way to fix them all in one go though.

  • Export an interactive PDF of your book.
  • In the Scripts panel, locate Application > Samples > JavaScript > PlaceMultipagePDF.jsx and double-click to run it.
  • Choose the PDF you've just exported and set Place PDF in to New Document. Press OK in the alert.
  • Enter File > Document Setup, tick on Facing Pages and click OK.
  • In the Pages panel, right-click the A-Parent and select Parent Options for "A-Parent", set Number of Pages to 2 and press OK.
  • Double-click the A-Parent.
  • Select the Page Tool.
  • In the Control panel (in the top), set Liquid Page Rule to Off and tick on Objects Move with Page.
  • Select the left page. Set the Reference Point to the left side and subtract the spine margin from the width.
  • Select the right page. Set the Reference Point to the right side and subtract the spine margin from the width.
  • Enter File > Document Setup, untick Facing Pages and click OK.
  • Export an interactive PDF.

Now you should have a PDF without the extra width towards the spine.

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Here's another solution using Acrobat.

  • Export an interactive PDF of your book.
  • Open it in Acrobat.
  • Open the Set Page Boxes dialog.
  • Set Page Range to All and set Apply to to Odd Pages Only.
  • For each option in Margin Controls > Apply to (CropBox/ArtBox/TrimBox/BleedBox), set Margin Controls > Left to the width of the spine margin you want to remove.
  • Press OK.
  • Open the Set Page Boxes dialog.
  • Set Page Range to All and set Apply to to Even Pages Only.
  • For each option in Margin Controls > Apply to (CropBox/ArtBox/TrimBox/BleedBox), set Margin Controls > Right to the width of the spine margin you want to remove.
  • Press OK.
  • Save the PDF.

The only downside to this method is that whatever you crop away will still be present in the PDF. A user will be able to revert the action using the Set Page Boxes dialog.

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