I'm about to create an A4 business brochure magazine style of 8 pages and i was wondering how to setup my document.

I have two options. 1 would be creating an A4 document, facing pages with proper margins and bleeds with page numbers on the left page and right page on my A master.

The problem with this option is that in my page panel, the pages are hierarchically organized as followed:

page 1 alone
facing 2-3
facing 4-5
facing 6-7
last page 8 alone

On the other hand, options 2 would make more sense i think and would be hierarchically organized as followed:

facing 8-1
facing 2-7
facing 3-6
facing 4-5

This way i'd have a real duplex document printed on both sides, i feel that would be the right way to go but is it? If so, how can i achieve that? And if not, how professionals usually do this montage?

Thanks a lot in advance for your enlightenment.

  • 1
    What are you asking by "how can I achieve that"? do you need to know how to create printer's spreads? (as horatio explained) Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 15:06
  • Yes that's what i'm asking. Sorry for my lack of knowledge in that area, i didn't know those terms until now :). I'm trying to figure how to build a printer's spread document with matching page numbers. That way all is done in one step and both designer and printer become friend again! :) Unless of course it's a complicated document that needs to use technical process as described by Horatio involving incrementally pages based on the thickness of the paper. In my case it's a very simple 8 pages A4 brochure. I don't think i need to consider the thickness of the paper. Commented Mar 21, 2013 at 2:01

3 Answers 3


As you figured out, the useful representation for laying out a document is different than the requirements for printing the document. In your example, version 1 is called a reader's spread and version two generally called a printer's spread.

In typical parlance, the process of rearranging pages for press is called imposition and a limited imposition feature for booklets is available in indesign called "print booklet" under the file menu. AFAIK, it is version specific. I am fairly sure cs5 and above it is available.

For a simple booklet, the pages must be rearranged and adjusted slightly and incrementally based on the thickness of the paper: as one gets closer to the center of the document, more and more of the gutter margin is eaten up by the paper thickness.

More voluminous books are typically printed on larger sheets and then folded in an origami-like process.

There are also simple programs which can take a reader's spread PDF and create an imposed booklet PDF as well, so it is possible to do what you want without using indesign.

(see: http://help.adobe.com/en_US/indesign/cs/using/WSa285fff53dea4f8617383751001ea8cb3f-704ba.html )

Note that in all my time doing books/booklets on the order of 40-150 pages, I have NEVER imposed my own documents: I leave that the the pre-press people at my printing supplier. I have only ever done it myself for dummies and hobby/home use.

  • I've mentioned elsewhere that in the design shop where I worked, we had a pre-press department which did the impositions so that when the files were sent to the printer, they were ready to go. My feeling from others here is that this is rare. Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 16:29
  • I have never taken any classes on the subject nor have any printing experience. My gut feeling was always that imposition was a plating step, and I felt that they knew better than I exactly how they need it to look when plated. They never seemed to mind, so I kept on working that way. Also, I am lazy :)
    – horatio
    Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 18:19
  • Thank you all for your answers. I notice that if i'd choose to build my document as a printer's spread, which seems to me more logical, indesign doesn't seem to handle the page numbering, does it? So 2 solutions, either i place my page numbers manually or i just build a reader's spread document. How come indesign didn't add an option to its page numbering feature that would enable to build a printer's spread in the first place in one step instead of making a reader's spread and doing the imposition using the print booklet? This is odd. Commented Mar 21, 2013 at 1:53
  • they probably didn't bother (they might have dealt with this I don't know) because it is a nightmare to do a booklet in printer's spreads. If you have to shuffle pages, it quickly becomes a monster project. 4 6 8 pages, maybe but anything more than that is just not worth it, especially considering one can easily batch convert it after it is made.
    – horatio
    Commented Mar 21, 2013 at 13:48

For an eight-page document, which doesn't have the issue of thickness towards the center margin:

Make each page a Section Start. (So each page number will be 1*, 2*, etc.)

Drag your pages into printer's spreads:


Please note the page order. It's not 1-8; it's 8-1.


Thanks to correct me Lauren, i've missed that! However I've finally opted for the easy way meaning reader's spreads. The reason is because InDesign doesn't provide a full printer's spreads option which is astounding regarding the fact that it's a software whose main goal is to help creating files for multiple supports. I suppose that, thanks to Horatio, creating a magazine or a book with a large amount of pages is quite tricky. So InDesign doesn't get into it for that reason. That's when professional printers come in. The best thing to do i think is to communicate with the printers before starting a project if possible. This way you know how he'll want to receive the file and you can build a proper file making the printer's work easier. A good graphic designer should consider that i guess. Anyway, in my case an 8 page A4 business brochure is quite simple compared to a magazine or even a book. So thank you all for these interesting techniques that i didn't know and i guess it might help others who also seek to work properly ;)

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