How do people handle margins and gutters when designing a tri-fold brochure in InDesign? When a brochure is folded in three, the inside flap ends up being smaller than the other two flaps, so if I want things to align exactly, I can't just use the margins and columns panel and be done with it. You can see in this image how the automatic gutters don't line up with the fold lines that I have put in: enter image description here

Do you set up your columns manually within your adjusted fold lines, or do you use the default columns and gutters, or perhaps some other method? I know I can accomplish this manually, but I'm just looking for the most straightforward way to do it.

2 Answers 2


I set up two master pages - outside and inside.

I then place guides manually where folds are for each spread.

I find the text frame columns unworkable because they are always even. I use threaded text frames rather than a single frame with columns.

Save as a template..... never have to do it again.


  • Awesome. How do you set up your gutters? Do you create your text frames at the full width of each panel and add inset spacing, or do you just adjust the width of the entire text frame to create gutters?
    – Tim Mackey
    Aug 2, 2013 at 0:16
  • 1
    I tend to set the guide for the master page, then add a guide for the fold, then two additional guides offset from the fold to match the overall page guide distance. I.E. if page has 1p0 guide, I place a guide 1p0 away from the fold guide on either side (creating a 2p0 gutter). Then place a text frame within those guides.
    – Scott
    Aug 2, 2013 at 0:25

Make the margins twice as thick as the gutter, place a ruler guide in between. Create a spot rgb swatch to denote fold lines in the slug.

Here is an example on an A5.

edit: Note that this solution works for an accordion fold but is inappropriate for a barrel fold.

correct method

  • Trifold brochures do not have 3 panels of equal widths though.
    – Scott
    Oct 6, 2018 at 23:12
  • Scott you are correct if the fold for the job is a roll fold; however, my solution works perfectly for an accordion of z fold Oct 7, 2018 at 4:15

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