This topic explains what master pages do. To learn how to create and work with master pages, click a link in the See Also section of this topic.
What master pages do
Master pages contain the design and layout elements that you want to repeat on multiple pages in a publication. Using master pages for these common elements gives your publication a more consistent appearance. It also lets you create and update these elements in one place, rather than changing them on each publication page.
A master page can contain anything that you can put on a publication page, as well as some elements (such as headers, footers, and layout guides) that can only be set up on a master page.
Every new publication starts with one master page by default. However, in publications with more than one page, you can create multiple master pages to enable more versatility in your publication design. For example, the first page of a chapter is usually designed without a header or page number, although it may share other design elements, such as margins and layout guides. By creating multiple master pages, you can have a variety of layouts that you can apply to any of the pages in your publication.
When you need a new master page
You can create a new master page from scratch or duplicate an existing master page, which you can then edit to change just those elements that you want to be different.
You can create each master page as either a single-page or a two-page master. Usually, the kind of master page you decide to use depends on how you set up your publication. If you set up your publication to be viewed as two-page spreads, you should use two-page master pages. If you set up your publication to be viewed as single pages, you should use single-page master pages.
You can also convert a single-page master to a two-page master, or convert a two-page master to a single-page master.
Note: If you are working on a Web publication, you can view only single pages and can use only single-page master pages.