White space distribution on automated documents

In the world of automated catalog creation, a common challenge is the management of white space. While InDesign is a go-to tool for many due to its built-in features like data merge or the versatile EasyCatalog plug-in, there remains one aspect of space optimization that can be improved, especially when dealing with the white space at the bottom of the page.

At Pagination, we approached this challenge many times. Through the years we’ve developed custom functions that seamlessly integrate with InDesign, ensuring that white space is distributed effectively across pages. These aren’t just technical solutions; they’re designed with the needs of our clients in mind.



Problem-solving approach

In this article, we’re presenting three case studies where we tacked the issue.
Even though the results are different, our approach to each challenge involves:

  • Identification: We begin by pinpointing a few pages that well represent the issue and exhibit white space.
  • Manual Refinement: Next, we roll up our sleeves and solve the issue manually, adjusting and noting our process, always aiming for adaptability.
  • Preparation for Automation: Occasionally, slight layout tweaks are needed to ensure our scripts work optimally. This could mean grouping elements or naming frames in Indesign so it’s easier to identify them via script.
  • Automation in Action: Our efforts are then transformed into efficient scripts, replicating the manual adjustments within InDesign.
  • Thorough Testing: We don’t rest on assumptions. Every script is rigorously tested on a variety of documents, ensuring reliability and precision.
  • Seamless Integration: Finally, we blend the scripts into the overarching pagination flow,
    so that the process from data to final document runs smoothly.

Ensuring Table Consistency and Page Count Accuracy

Client Challenge

Our client presented a project characterized by pages densely populated with tables, each showcasing a range of products and their variations. An added complexity was that the final document had to adhere to a specific page count post-pagination.

Our Solution

We coded an algorithm that has two steps, one general for the document and one to fine-tune every page:

  • Page Count Evaluation: Our script initially assesses whether the number of pages post-pagination matches the client’s target. If not, it automatically adds pages and adjusts the cell padding in the tables. This expanded padding allows the tables to occupy more space, helping the content naturally flow to meet the intended page count, all while ensuring uniform spacing throughout.
  • Table End Alignment: The script then iterates through every page, adjusting tables to ensure they conclude precisely at the page’s bottom margin.

With our adjustments, every table row across all pages maintains a uniform height, and each table aligns perfectly with its respective page margin, ensuring visual consistency and meeting the client’s page count specifications.

Distributing space within product margins

Client Challenge

Our client presented a product layout spanning the entire width of the page. On the left side, is the product image, and on the right, is the product textual information (product’s name, description, and a table listing its variants). A separation line distinctively marks the boundary between products. Additionally, certain products have lines both above and below them to indicate their novelty or association with a specific brand.

The challenge? Distributing space effectively. The space needed to be allocated below the product details (image and description) but had to remain above the separator lines, ensuring visual clarity and aesthetic appeal.

Our Solution

We crafted a specialized script for this task. Here’s how it works:

  • Grouping: The script scans every element on a page, grouping each product (text and images) with the line(s) present above its title. This ensures the space distribution doesn’t disrupt the visual cues indicating brand-specific or new products.
  • Space Distribution: Leveraging InDesign’s distribute element function, the script evenly spaces out these grouped product elements between the page margins.
  • Single Product Evaluation: We introduced a condition in the script to assess if a page contains only one product. If so, the script recognizes that distributing space is unnecessary and skips that page, maintaining the intended design.

The outcome? A layout that not only adheres to design principles but also ensures each product shines in its allocated space, offering the reader a seamless browsing experience.

Independent Distribution of Images and Product Information

Client Challenge

Our client’s layout presents products that span the entire page width. On the left, we see the product image, and on the right, there’s a combination of the product title, a description, and a table with variants. Unique to this layout is the referencing system: each product image and title is marked with a corresponding number or letter, making direct alignment between them unnecessary.
However, post-pagination, both these elements (the image and the text block) align with each other.

Our Solution

To address this, we developed a script with two distinct components:

  • Text Block Distribution: The script scans each page to locate the text blocks.
    Utilizing InDesign’s distribute function, these blocks are evenly spaced from the top to the bottom margins. This ensures a consistent distance between each block, optimizing readability.
  • Image Adjustment and Distribution
    • Initially, the product images are resized. By design, there’s space allocated next to each product image for icons. However, when a product doesn’t require icons, the script enlarges the product image to utilize that space, making the image bigger.
    • Following this resizing, the script spreads the images evenly between the top and bottom page margins.

The result? A balanced layout where product images and textual information coexist harmoniously, yet independently, providing the reader with an organized and visually appealing experience.


In the ever-evolving world of document design and pagination, the challenges are as diverse as the solutions required to address them. From managing white spaces in product layouts to ensuring tables align seamlessly with page margins, the intricacies can be myriad. But as our case studies illustrate, with the right blend of innovative scripting and a deep understanding of design principles, these challenges can be transformed into opportunities for aesthetic and functional enhancement.

At Pagination, we pride ourselves on our ability to combine technological expertise with a keen design sensibility. Each project, no matter how complex, is an invitation to push boundaries, innovate, and deliver layouts that not only meet but exceed client expectations. As the landscape of design continues to evolve, we remain committed to providing solutions that merge form and function, turning every page into a testament to excellence.

Automatic document creation?

Creating visually balanced documents is a challenging task that can put pressure on even the best marketing teams.

You can use Pagination to automatically create beautiful documents in just a few seconds.

view more

Create your automated document!

Use one of our free InDesign Templates or upload your own layout. Create documents anytime and from anywhere.