How Do I Unlock a Footer in InDesign? Here’s How!

InDesign gives you the ability to have items on pages that are locked. Let’s look at the different ways of unlocking these items.

Unlock a footer in InDesign by clicking on the Master Page and editing the item here or by holding Ctrl + Shft and clicking on the object to unlock it on a particular page.

InDesign is great for designing brochures, books, multi page documents. It is ideal because you can set your document to have certain items on all pages. But how do you unlock an item if you don’t want it to appear on a certain page? Here’s how.

Master Pages

The best way to have multi items, ie footers, page numbers, in InDesign is to have master pages. This allows for the same details or continuity of details to appear on each page.

If you have received a document that has a footer on each page they are more than likely contained on your Master Page.

You can tell if it is a master page through a couple of options:

In the pages panel, the page you have selected (or are working on) will have a letter at the top right (as above).

The item on your page is contained within a dotted box.

In order to unlock the item on the Master Page you will have to go to the Master Page and remove it. To be honest I wouldn’t recommend this as it will remove it on all master pages.

You can create an alternative master page or insert a blank page.

Copy and paste the items you want to be on the new page. If you are unlocking the item to alter it I would definitely recommend this method.

You need to be mindful of what Master Page you are using. You don’t want to be half way through your job and then realise you have used the incorrect master page. I find the best way to keep on top of this is to have Left and Right Masters – A and B

Selective Unlock

There is another solution to unlocking a footer but I would be very cautious about using it.

If you have a particular element on a page, that is part of a Master Page, that you wish to remove, alter or move location within the page you can hold Ctrl + Shft and Click on the item.

As you can see when you do this the dotted lines disappear and it becomes like any other item on a normal page.

You can then move, delete or alter it.


I would strongly advise against this option. If you remove the page number and then move this page, your numbering will be incorrect. And any other items you may have unlocked on a particular page.

It’s very easy to forget to check items before you send a document to print.

Although it seems like a quick fix at the time it can cause layout issues later on when you are finished your file.

Over riding Master Pages

You can temporarily override Master page items.

Open Pages Panel

In the top right hand corner click and select Override All Master Options.

This will allow you to move and alter and items on the selected page. However as with the selective Unlock this will no longer be a Master Page.

But you can restore it to a Master Page, but it will not keep the changes you have made, it will override them again.

So these are all options to unlocking footers but they are all risky options.

Something to consider is a quick workaround. It is sometimes easier to just put a white box over what you are trying to unlock rather than interfering with your masters.

This is not always possible, as your page may not have a white background or even a solid background.

If it is patterned or a gradiant this will not be possible.

It is a quick but very effective fix if you have a solid or white background.


If you have checked out your Master Pages and the items you are looking for are not there it is possible they are in a locked layer.

Open your Layers Panel and Show All

If there is a lock beside any of them click to unlock.

Try and see if your item is now available to select. If it is then this is the solution to your locked footer. You can make any changes you need to on that page and relock the layer or generate a new Master Page.

Locked Items

If the item is not on a layer or Master Page it may be that it simply is a locked item.

Go to Items

Unlock all Items on Spread

If it was locked it will now have a highlight box around it.

However all items on the page will unlock with this move.
If you only want one item unlocked.

Go to Items
Unlock All Items on Spread

And Click and Hold Shift to deselect your chosen item and then go to Items – Lock all on Spread.

This will then relock all other items, and allow you to alter any of your footer items.

Here are some other posts you might find useful:

Too much white space in InDesign

InDesign hyperlinks not working

Tara Cunningham

My name is Tara. I am a Graphic Designer for the last 25+ years. Designing everything from Wedding stationery to Magazines. I have been using Adobe products since I was in college and know all the tips and tricks that make life a little easier when completing a project. Hopefully you will find the answer to your question on

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