I'm creating styles for my book (to print) in InDesign. I'd like my "chapter title" to be somewhere lower on the page, not on the top, but can't do it. How do I set the paragraph style, in this case for the first paragraph – the chapter title – to add space before, since InDesign does not allow that?

  • I can't think of a scenario where that would make sense to even do, but I guess you could just change the height of the text frame. Just bring it down a little bit and there you got your space before the first paragraph.
    – Joonas
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 11:44

4 Answers 4


Enable the Paragraph Rule: Above for your style. Set its weight to 0 and (you never know) its color to [None]. Check "Keep in Frame"; then, use "Offset" to move the paragraph down.

rule above system for space above

Apart from using the Rule Above (which you may need to, ehm, draw a rule above), the only drawback is that the Offset is calculated from the baseline of your paragraph. That means that to get an exact distance to the top margin – say, you want 10 mm of white above the capitals – you have to draw a horizontal guides first, and then align the text by eye.

  • 1
    This is ingenious! I’ll have to remember this one. You shouldn’t need to draw guides and stuff, though – just add the point size to the space you want and that should do it. Commented Mar 18, 2021 at 23:41

One solution is to vertically offset the text negatively as much as you need and set a space after enough to compensate.

Paragraph Style - Vertical Shift

Paragraph Style - Space After to compensate

This isn't the cleanest of workarounds—To edit the text you need to select the text where it should be, not where you can see it, for example—but it works. A better option would probably be creating a new master page, as @herrklaseen's answer suggests. This option would work as-is though, without the need for changing master pages if your copy changes.


For answers that are better for your question, a screenshot would be helpful. Something that helps others see what you're trying to achieve.

Possible solution

Create a separate Master Page for the chapter title page and let the main text frame start lower on the page. Adding space before a paragraph that is first in the text frame is not possible, as I recall.

In all fairness, what you are trying to achieve is more a "layout" task than a "typography" task, so I think it makes sense that adding space before a paragraph that is first in text box is not doable. It makes that paragraph style less useful.

  • Thank you, these are all great ideas! I'll use either one, tried them all! :)
    – Neno
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 17:44
  • I don’t see why the ability to force spacing even at the top of a frame would make the paragraph style less useful. It would make it more useful, since we wouldn’t have to muck about with extra master pages (that you need to reapply and fix whenever the text moves). Paragraph styles are just as much about layout as typography – and even if it weren’t, I don’t see why that would make it make sense that you can’t do this easily. It’s simply annoying behaviour. Commented Mar 18, 2021 at 23:46

I had this same issue for a poems book we are working on. I created a new paragraph style with a font of 10 pt and space after of 62 pt (1" = 72pt) and applied that style to a new first paragraph.This moved our title down to 1" from the top of the page.

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