InDesign newbie here.

I have an ID document containing only a Table of Contents, and then a header page for each of the items on the table of contents. So far, I've been creating each of these pages manually.

Here's an example:

ToC: 1.) Chapter A 2.) Chapter B 3.) Chapter C

The header pages are as follows, and the [brackets] indicate special formatting. They serve as a kind of "You Are Here" map within the document:

Header Page 1: 1.) [Chapter A] 2.) Chapter B 3.) Chapter C

Header Page 2: 1.) Chapter A 2.) [Chapter B] 3.) Chapter C

Header Page 3: 1.) Chapter A 2.) Chapter B 3.) [Chapter C]

Ideally, I'd like to type out my ToC, and teach ID to create the subsequent pages and apply the special formatting sequentially. Is it possible to reduce the amount of work I am doing?

Thank you!

Edit: If there is a term other than "header pages" that I should be using, please feel free to let me know.

  • 8
    It sounds like you're talking about section title pages. I think you're looking at this backwards: instead of typing out the ToC manually and then creating the title pages, you would normally type out the specially formatted titles on the title pages and automatically generate the ToC from that. I don't think there's any easy way to get the special formatting applied automatically. Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 22:45
  • 2
    If I am understanding what you are trying to accomplish, it might be doable with running headers. But @JanusBahsJacquet is correct--InDesign creates TOCs by looking for text that is formatted in a certain way, and using that text to create a TOC. It sounds like you are trying to do the opposite. You might want to investigate "master pages" as well. They allow you to create a format and add page elements, like a page number placeholder, and then easily apply that format and add those elements to new document pages, which will then show the correct sequential page number.
    – magerber
    Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 23:31
  • I agree with magerber. I use Master Pages to create headers. I create the first set with a text box and page number holder. Then for every new section I have in the book, I copy the first set of master pages and change the text in the text box. Then I apply the appropriate master pages to the page icons in the Pages panel. Hope that helps! Commented Dec 9, 2017 at 6:06
  • Try to find guide videos on youtube, it can be useful Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 12:20

2 Answers 2


If I remember correctly, you can also (aside from letting Indesign format based on content after it’s placed) setup predefined styles for documents you work on. You can preset a Group of definitions for character and paragraph formatting based on cascading styles or not depending on choice when creating. You can then apply the group formatting to new documents you work on.

Type menu:

  • character, Ctrl + T
  • paragraph, Alt + Ctrl + T

Master pages and layers pallets are the place to be for setting up headers, footers and other repetitive layout blocks for the design your working on.

Import your content and extend the content box (small plus at the end of text area – click/drag to flow content) to flow through the pages as needed.


You could create a Master page for your section headers that would address everything except your "special formatting". You could then use the eyedropper tool to apply the special formatting. Keyboard shortcuts to toggle between eyedropper and Text tools would speed things up as well.


• Create a Master page with

Header Page 1: 1.) Chapter A 2.) Chapter B 3.) Chapter C

• Duplicate that Master for each section header you need

• For Header Page 2, use the eyedropper tool to sample the Chapter A formatting and then apply it to Chapter B, and then sample the Chapter C formatting and apply it to Chapter A. Make sure your eyedropper has the tiny "T" text icon next to it or it will apply the style to the container.

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