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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Adobe InDesign

What Is a Gutter in InDesign?

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Read Time: 4 mins
Final product imageFinal product imageFinal product image
What You'll Be Creating

When you create a new document in InDesign, you'll notice there are horizontal and vertical guides framing the page. These guides represent the margins of your document. The vertical space between these margins is what we call "gutters." You may have heard this term before, but what is a gutter in InDesign, and how do you change it? In this tutorial, I will show you what gutters are and how to use them to create a magazine template.

If you would like to follow along, head over to Envato Elements. Grab this Traveller InDesign Magazine Template, which features 28-pages of layouts with a simple and minimalistic layout.

Traveller indesign magazineTraveller indesign magazineTraveller indesign magazine

What You'll Learn in This InDesign Gutter Tutorial

  • What is a column gutter in InDesign?
  • How to adjust gutters 
  • How to change the margins in InDesign

1. What Is a Column Gutter in InDesign?

Column gutters are the spaces between columns of text. When you need to add space between two columns of text in a document, you can use a column gutter. The column gutter is a feature that creates a zone between two columns, so that they don't run into each other, keeping the information in an organized layout. Check out the image below to see what an InDesign gutter looks like.

Text column gutter exampleText column gutter exampleText column gutter example

Another way you can control gutters is by adding them to your document. A document gutter is a vertical space designed to separate the columns of text on the page. A document gutter typically runs vertically down a document. The space between columns can be measured in points, pixels, and inches, to name a few. Take a look at the image below, which shows an example of how your document gutters may appear. In the next steps, I will teach you how to adjust columns in InDesign.

Document gutter indesignDocument gutter indesignDocument gutter indesign

2. How to Adjust Gutters in InDesign

Step 1

Open the A4 Traveller Magazine Template in InDesign. To adjust the text column gutters, select the text frame and change the Number of Columns to 2 and the Gutter to 6 mm in the horizontal toolbar at the top of the document.

Add columns to text frameAdd columns to text frameAdd columns to text frame

Step 2

If you want to adjust columns in InDesign, go to Layout > Margins and Columns. Change the number of Columns to 4 and the Gutter to 10 mm.

Adjust document column gutterAdjust document column gutterAdjust document column gutter

Step 3

Creating page gutters in a new document is fairly easy. Go to File > New > Document. Set up your document using the dimensions 8.5 in Width, 11 in Height, 5 Pages, 3 Columns, and 0.5 in Column Gutter.

Indesign gutter using new documentIndesign gutter using new documentIndesign gutter using new document

Step 4

Your file should now look like the image below. If you need to change the size of your gutters, remember to go to Layout > Margins and Columns.

Indesign gutter pagesIndesign gutter pagesIndesign gutter pages

3. How to Change the Margins in InDesign

Step 1

I've talked about what a gutter is in InDesign and how to set up and adjust gutters. Now, I will show you how to change the margins in InDesign. Go back to the Traveller Magazine and select Layout > Margins and Columns. Change the Margins to 20 mm instead of 35 mm. Select the chainlink icon in the center so that once you add a value in one of the sections, all of the remaining sections will automatically adjust.

Adjust margins in InDesignAdjust margins in InDesignAdjust margins in InDesign

Step 2

If you wanted to create margins in a new document, go to File > New > Document. This time, change the Margins to 0.25 in and make sure the chainlink icon is selected.

Create a margin from a new documentCreate a margin from a new documentCreate a margin from a new document

Step 3

Your image should now look like the image below. If you need to adjust your margins, go to Layout > Margins and Columns.

Adjust marginsAdjust marginsAdjust margins

Interested in Learning More About InDesign?

Discover the power of Adobe InDesign. With these quick, easy tutorials, you can master the basics and quickly move on to more advanced techniques. The more you learn about InDesign, the more you'll be able to take advantage of its powerful tools and refine your skills.

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