When deleting pages hide items behind spreads

UPDATED 2014/11/14 – A key detail of the story was left out (how the pages were deleted before the bug occurred).

Have recently had a situation where items on a right hand page have “disappeared” behind an item placed over the reader’s spread in a layout using facing pages.

For example, the spread of this work-in-progress is in one layer and effectively has 3 elements: a JPG of the window display on the left hand page; a vector map plus blurb of the restaurant (all grouped) on the right hand page; and a dessert photo spread over both pages.

Have realised that this document only needs four pages and not eight, but still want this spread to be pages two and three. Rather than move the pages in the pages palette, the process to demonstrate this fault will be to remove the last two pages first. Everything still looks good so far. Next, pages 1 & 2 will be highlighted in the pages panel and deleted by clicking the pages panel flyout and selecting “delete pages”.

Now, the first two pages are removed, and all of a sudden something unexpected occurs – the map and blurb have disappeared.

Upon further inspection, it becomes apparent that these items are now BEHIND background picture.

So why did this happen?

Perhaps this can better be explained by deleting the pages one at a time. Working once again from the original, this is how the file looks with page one deleted.

It appears that images which cross a spread within InDesign are actually based on a left hand page. Now the other page is removed.

Something even more unexpected happens – nothing has disappeared this time! However, when two pages were removed at once rather than one at a time, the background picture went above the items on the right hand page.

Once again starting from the original, all items on the spread are grouped. What will happen when the first two pages are removed this time?

Perfect… none of the images on the right have dropped behind the background image. As it turns out, if the SPREAD of 2-3 was deleted INSTEAD of pages 1 and 2, then the bug does not occur, regardless whether the images are grouped or not.

There are other ways to ensure the images on the right will stay above the background, such as:

  • putting the background on a master page or a layer lower than the artwork;
  • splitting the background picture so that the image in two halves – one for each page;
  • moving the pages in the pages palette rather than deleting them;
  • a more convoluted page trick described on the original thread which had detailed this bug:

In short, this was reported as a bug but whether it will be resolved or not is another matter, so forewarned is forearmed.  Deleting pages at the start of a document is something that most InDesign users would do from time to time, so to know that when combined with images which cross over spreads, then the results could be catastrophic.


    • This issue was tested using CS6 and CC 2014.1 on a mac. It is important to note that the issue only occurs when pages are removed in a certain way. The bug occurs if, in the following example, pages 1&2 were deleted from the pages palette. HOWEVER, if the spread 2-3 is deleted, the bug does NOT occur.

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