TransformMaster Manual

TransformMaster for InDesign CS5.x (formerly known as ‘EnslaveMaster’)

It is based on an idea put forward by David Blatner from InDesignSecrets during the InDesignSecrets Print and ePublishing Conference in Seattle, May 12-14, 2010.


Adobe® InDesign® CS5.x offers a host of interesting features.

For example, in InDesign CS5.x you can now have documents with multiple page sizes contained within a single file. A single .indd file could contain layouts for, say, letterhead, business card, and flyer, all using different page sizes.

Another cool new feature in InDesign CS5.x is the Page Tool. With the Page Tool you can shift the master page ‘behind’ the each individual page it is applied to. This allows you to reposition the master page with respect to each individual page – which comes in real handy when working with multiple page sizes.

With the page tool selected, you can click and drag the master page ‘behind’ the pages. You want the Show Master Page Overlay option enabled while doing so.

However, there’s an annoying limitation: all you can do is reposition the master page. It cannot be rotated nor scaled.

Yet, you’d probably want the contents of the master page, when shown on the business card layout, to be quite a bit smaller than what you’d want to show on the letterhead. Business cards don’t give you a lot of real estate, and to achieve a good fit, you want to scale down the shared master page content.

TransformMaster to the rescue! Use the Window – Extensions – TransformMaster menu item to make the TransformMaster palette visible, and use the Angle and Scale fields to rotate and scale the master page.

If the master page suddenly ‘vanishes’ when you do so – that’s normal. This happens when you put in some angle/scale parameters that cause the master page to move ‘outside’ the page area, and when that happens it becomes invisible. Click the Reset button to bring it back into view. I find I get the best results by first moving the master page downwards, then putting in the scale factor, then putting in the rotation, if any.

Now you can use the same master page for both the business card and the letterhead, and any change you make to the master page is immediately reflected on all pages that use that master page. Is that cool, or what?


After downloading, make sure InDesign CS5.x is not running. Expand the .zip archive, and find the .zxp file in the decompressed result. Double-click the .zxp file – that should start up the CS5.x Adobe Extension Manager.

You’ll get some questions thrown at you by Extension Manager – answer them in a positive manner.

Uninstalling TransformMaster is easy as well – fire up the CS5.x Adobe Extension Manager, find the entry named com.rorohiko.cssdk.transformmaster – that’s the TransformMaster. Click it to select it, and click the Remove button.