Starting a Document with Page 1 on the Left Side

[Note: This article applies only to InDesign CS4 and earlier versions. In InDesign CS5, you can simply add an even number for the Start Page # option in the New Document dialog box to start a document with a two-page spread.]

Here’s another buried treasure from the Help files. By default, documents you create with facing pages include a single-page spread to begin the document, like this:

spreadstart before.jpg

How do you start a document with a two-page spread, like this?


If you try to delete the first page, the other page numbers just move up, and page 2 replaces page 1. The Start a document with a two-page spread Help topic gives the answer:

Start a document with a two-page spread

Instead of beginning the document with a right-facing (recto) page, you can delete the first page and begin your document with a left-facing (verso) page that’s part of a spread.

Important: Because of the settings that make it necessary to keep a left-facing page as the starting page, it can be difficult to insert spreads into a document when following this method. To avoid this difficulty, it is best to work in the document with a right-facing page starting page (which should be left blank). When you have inserted all of the pages needed in the document, delete the first page by following the steps below.
Make sure page 1 of the document is blank.

1. Choose File > Document Setup. Be sure the document contains at least three pages and that the Facing Pages option is selected. Click OK.

2 In the Pages panel, select all the pages except page 1. (The easiest way to do this is to select page 2 and then Shift-select the last page of the document.)

3. In the Pages panel menu, deselect Allow Selected Spread To Shuffle.
Select page 1. In the Pages panel menu, choose Delete Spread.

TIP: To add a spread to a document that starts on a left-facing page, first make sure Allow Selected Spread To Shuffle is deselected and Allow Document Pages To Shuffle is selected. Then, insert three pages, and delete the extra page.

14 Responses to Starting a Document with Page 1 on the Left Side

  1. Lena says:

    Thanks! I finally figured it out.Though there really should be an option in Indesign for “view pages side by side” so that if we want, 1st page is the cover or the 1-2 pages are side by side.

  2. Dawn says:

    You’re a life-saver! Thanks!

  3. Student Designer says:

    Wow, this worked great! Thanks! Spent a lot of time trying to make this work and reading tutorials that didn’t answer my question. Phew!

  4. Nancy says:

    Is it possible to have doc open verso but have page numbering begin recto so that odd numbers are right and even numbers left? Thanks

  5. Charlotte says:

    When I start my document with these 2 pages, my pagenumbering does not follow… for example: Page 4 in the document, still has number 5 on it.How can solve this?

  6. Emily Shaw says:

    BLOODY GENIUS – saved the day!

  7. Jakob says:

    Thank’s a lot. Just what I needed. Simple and effective 🙂

  8. Martin says:

    Thanks a lot for this tip! Exactly what I was looking for.

  9. Jumee says:

    very simple and useful, indeed!
    thx Bob…

  10. LI says:

    Thank you! Saved my bacon for sure

  11. Diana says:

    I am having a problem when I place an article in InDesign, the rest of the article that doesn’t fit no longer shows up on the side, so I can’t find it to place it on another page. Can anyone help? It used to show up, and then I would highlight it and copy it onto the next page.

  12. Alin says:

    WOW! OMG! I CANNOT BELIEVE I FINALLY GOT IT! You’re A Life Saver Thank You Sooooo Much!

  13. Donji says:

    You are a life saver!

  14. Cédric says:

    Simple but crucial when needed, thank you for the tip!