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Adobe InDesign: Customizing Guide Colors

by Barb Binder

As a novice PageMaker instructor (a hundred years ago), I was startled the first time a student commented that they couldn’t distinguish between the pink (margin) and purple (column) guides. Even though my spouse is red/green colorblind, it never occurred to me that it anyone would struggle to follow my directions when it came to calling out colors. Sadly for that student, and for the numerous PageMaker students who followed him, there was nothing I could do, other than to modify my instructions to eliminate color references.

Luckily for those with color issues, or even just color preferences, this is simply not a problem in Adobe InDesign. You don’t like a guide color? So change it!

  1. Start with InDesign > Preferences (Edit > Preferences on Windows) > Guides & Pasteboard
    Adobe InDesign: Preferences > Guides & Pasteboards
    Adobe InDesign: Default colors on the left, custom colors on the right.
    Original guide colors on the left, customized colors on the right.
  2. Can’t see the background color you selected? Try View > Screen Mode > Preview (or Slug/Bleed)!
    Adobe InDesign:  Set the screen mode to Preview to see the custom background color.
  3. If you are one of the few InDesign users who activate baseline grids and/or document grids, you can change those colors, too. InDesign > Preferences (Edit > Preferences on Windows) > Grids
    Adobe InDesign: Grid Colors
  4. What’s still missing a color control? If you guessed Ruler Guides, you are right. For some reason, Adobe put that option in Layout > Ruler Guides.
    Adobe InDesign: Ruler Guide Colors

Now there’s no reason to struggle with the colors. If you can’t see ’em, change ’em! (And students, here’s my chance to remind you to let your instructor know when you are struggling to see any thing on the screen. There are so many ways to customize the user interface these days. You just have to let us know…!)

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