How to Set Margins or Guidelines


How to Set Margins or Guidelines

Why you need them:

Guidelines are a must for the generic setting up of the body of text on your individual book pages. They assist you in positioning the text in exactly the same location on every page. As documents in a vector program can only be worked on one at a time, each page is done separately.

Just like the guidelines on the PDF Template, these margins and guidelines can be removed or effectively turned off once each of the book pages are finalised and ready to go to print. A setting can be changed in a single click to hide the guidelines, when you are ready to resave your SVG files to PDF format. This is explained further down the page. There is also a link on the page that refers to the saving instructions for the PDF format.

Do NOT get the guidelines confused with the guides on the PDF Template. The types of guidelines or margins you will require:

  • Left hand margin
  • Right hand margin
  • Top margin (header)
  • Bottom margin (footer)
  • Guides for page numbers

Even if all your text is central to the page, you will still need a top and bottom margin for clearance.

Ensure you have a guideline set for the location of your page numbers, if you’re including them. Trying to add guidelines later is not advisable and will have to done for each page. Very time consuming. So incorporate all these guidelines in the beginning when you set up the master file.

as efficient so it is recommended  groundwork for your settings first and then proceed.

I found this out the hard way and am giving YOU the benefit of my hindsight.

If you are importing formatted text ready to go with no changes to size or font, you should be able to number your pages in word prior and then include when cutting and pasting text from Word to Inkscape. You must be exactly sure of your numbers if you plan to use this short cut. It is highly recommended to add numbers last, but being organised and making provision earlier when setting up the guidelines and margins.

Your call.


Inkscape should be open and you will also need to open your Book Page Master File:

File  >  Open

File to open dialogue box will appear

Select BOOK LAYOUT folder

Double click on file folder 


Click on file folder once then click Open

Select the Book Page Master File

e.g. 01BookPageMasterFile.svg

Double click on file


Click on file once and then click Open

You’ll need to go to the menu bar at the top.

Edit  >  Guidelines around page

Four guidelines will appear along all four edges of the document.

Resave your Book Page Master File


When you have some sample text set up and located in the correct position on your book page master file you can drag the corresponding margins or guidelines into position. These can then be used as generic margins and guidelines for each of your book pages.

Ensure you are completely happy with all parameters including sample text, before saving as your final Book Page Master File.

To move guidelines:

Click on Select Object tool

Hover mouse over guideline

The guideline will turn red.

Depress the mouse button and drag it to it’s new destination

Once guideline is in position, release the mouse button.

If you do not require a particular guide, simply drag it completely off the screen in either direction that it moves.

eg. For vertical guidelines drag towards left or right hand side tool box.

For horizontal guides drag towards top menu bar or bottom colour bar menu.

Once you have dragged the guideline out of sight, release the mouse and the guideline will be gone.

When you are satisfied with your master file, you are ready to embark on your individual book page set up.


When you need to hide the guidelines for the PDF saving process or if you wish to turn o the Snap tool at any time you will need to change a couple of settings:

File  >  Document Properties

A dialogue box will appear with a horizontal menu at top.

Click on Guides

Another dialogue box will appear with the settings for:

Snap Tool and Show or Hide Guidelines feature

Click the checkbox to turn on and off at your convenience


A page of sample text needs to be set up now so you can drag your guidelines into position and finalise your Book Page Master File.

The next step CREATE OR IMPORT TEXT will demonstrate what you need to do.

This is the time for you to explore the different fonts, styles and sizes to work out what is right for you. Then once it is set up and saved you can use that as a generic layout for text size, headers and spacings throughout your book. If you change your mind, along the way, things can be altered but it is highly recommended to make a firm decision and stick with it.

Be happy with what you’ve decided. Procrastinating ONLY delays your production.

Trust me on that one!

When you are happy with your sample page, then resave it as your Book Page Master File.

Use this Book Page Master File for each of your internal pages. This way you can utilise the page settings and parameters for each one, then Save as a new file name so that the Master File remains unaltered.

Saddle Stitched publications (under 80 pages) use the same Book Page Master File for the Book Cover Artwork.

Perfect Bound publications (44 pg minimum – 300 pg max)require a different template and guidelines which are supplied by your printing company.

If under 80 pages, you can use same master file for cover artwork on your Saddle Stitched publication.

Sounds simple, right?

Trust me, it’s a cinch.

Go to next stage CREATE OR IMPORT TEXT

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