What Is an InDesign Gutter?

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A publisher may use the Adobe InDesign desktop publishing software to develop a print-ready page layout for his publication. The software contains tools that provide control over typography and images.

According to Adobe, in addition to creating powerful print publications, the software also allows publishers to create better eBooks. Users of InDesign control spacing between columns of text and images with the InDesign gutter.


The term gutter commonly describes the spacing between two columns of text. The term originates from the time when pieces of metal, or gutters, were used in Linotype gallies to separate the metal slugs that contained text columns.

Changing Gutter Spacing

Adobe users edit gutter spacing through the Text Frame Options menu. This menu allows the user to establish the preferred number of columns, declare the width of the columns and determine the amount of gutter spacing between the columns of an individual text frame. Users may also insert spacing on the top, bottom, left and right of the column.


InDesign for PC users can call up the Text Frame Options menu of a particular text frame by pressing the "Alt" key and double-clicking the text frame. Mac users press the "Option" key while double-clicking the text frame.


Adobe CS5 includes a shortcut for changing gutter space while importing multiple files such as pictures. While dragging the new picture into place, PC users may hold down the "Ctrl" key and press the arrow keys to change the gutter space. Mac users must hold down the "Command" key.

Layout Guides

The InDesign user may also define gutters when creating a page guide through the Layout menu. Adobe's online help file advises InDesgin users to initially specify a low value gutter setting. The user should limit the first gutter to a space of 1 pica. Larger gutters may leave little space for the columns.