I'm trying to figure out how to deal with subheads and baseline grid in InDesign. I want them to have different space before and space after values. But I also want my body text to have consistent baseline grid. It's pretty easy when you have only one subhead per page, but what to do if I have multi-level subheads?

I prepared something that pictures my problem.

In this example baseline grid is set to 15 pt increment. Space before value for both of subheadings is set to 15 pt and space after is set to 7,5 pt. This works fine, but body text is not aligned with the baseline grid. It's easy to loose control over the grid. Good margins And this is the second example. Body text sticks to the baseline grid, but this causes that the space before and space after values are not true (they're in fact equal because the text jumps to the next baseline. Bad margins Do you have any solution for this problem? Preferably one that doesn't require turning off the baseline grid for the body text? The only thing I came up with is to create margins that can be divided by baseline grid value (in this case: 15 pt). Then I could make the upper margin (space before) lets say 20 pt and the lower margin 10 pt. But sometimes it's too much, so I'm looking for a method that would give me more control over the whitespace.

  • 1
    I think you've covered both options in your question! Either you have the combined margins at a multiple of the baseline grid or you set the body to align to the baseline regardless.
    – Cai
    Commented Feb 28, 2016 at 15:32
  • This is in fact mathematically impossible. As long as you have only header at a time, you can use baseline shift as mentioned in Dritan’s answer, but as soon as you have a Header 1 directly followed by a Header 2 (or 2 followed by 3), it is no longer possible to maintain the same consistent spacing both above and below each level while also aligning body text to the baseline grid. Commented Feb 1, 2021 at 20:01

3 Answers 3


I think your last option is to work with baseline shift for subheads while keeping on the baseline grid. See image below. The subhead has baseline grid option ON, yet its above the line by 3pt

enter image description here


You can set up baseline grid 1/2 of the leading for greater flexibility.


¿Or maybe setting up baseline grid ⅓ of the leading value for extra flex but a cluttered baseline grid screen?

  • This completely negates the purpose of the baseline grid, though, which is to make sure that lines are aligned to each other across spreads. Commented Feb 1, 2021 at 19:59
  • Shifting the subheads position also depends of the number of lines that integrates them
    – Raul Feria
    Commented Feb 1, 2021 at 20:42
  • Yes, but if you then have a heading that takes up, say, 18pt in total, the lines following that heading will be 6pt off compared to the lines on the facing page if there’s no heading on that page. Commented Feb 1, 2021 at 21:25
  • I don’t see how that would fix anything. And what do you mean by “use a layer to complete the grid”? Commented Feb 1, 2021 at 22:50
  • Take a look at: designersbookshop.com
    – Raul Feria
    Commented Feb 1, 2021 at 23:24

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.