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Adobe FrameMaker: Creating Custom Master Pages

by Barb Binder, Adobe Certified Instructor on FrameMaker
Updated: Nov 14, 2017
[Author’s Note: to watch a video on using custom master pages in Adobe FrameMaker 11, check out FrameMaker for Word: Master Pages on Adobe TV]

New FrameMaker documents have default Master Pages. Single-sided documents have one, called “Right”, and double side-documents have two, called “Left” and “Right”. We use these pages to place the objects we want to repeat on all the Body Pages, like our running heads, page numbers and repeating graphics. But what do you do when you need a different look for a Body Page, on a repeating basis? For example, you’d like to turn off the page number on the opening page of each chapter? You set up a custom master page. Here’s how:

  • View > Master Pages
  • Special  > Add Master Page. [Use Insert > Add Master Page in FrameMaker 2017 and later.] Pick which master you’d like to base the new one on, and give it a logical name.
    Adobe FrameMaker: Add Master Page
  • Make any changes that you like to the new master (i.e., remove the page number for the opening page), and return to the Body page 1 with View > Body Pages.

Did that work? No! FrameMaker is very powerful, but still can’t read your mind. If you are going to create custom master pages, you will also have the obligation to apply them to the Body pages. Here’s the easiest way:

  • Format > Page Layout > Master Page Usage
    Adobe FrameMaker: Master Page Usage
  • Pick your custom master from the drop down list at the top, and the page range from the bottom, and pick Apply.

There you go. You are allowed 100 master pages in a single FrameMaker document, so you can make as many as necessary. I usually create one for the opening page of my chapters, one for the “This page intentionally left blank.” pages, and one each for left and right landscape pages in my portrait documents.

If you find it to be too much work to manually apply your custom master pages (and who wouldn’t) you will certainly want to check out our post on Adobe FrameMaker: Automatically Assigning Custom Master Pages.

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