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Flowing text

The process of taking imported text, such as that from a word processing program, and placing it across several linked text frames is called flowing text. InDesign lets you flow text manually for greater control, or automatically to save time.

Flowing text manually

To flow text manually, you first select a word processing file to import. You can then drag to create a frame, or you can click anywhere on the page to create a text frame in a column. In this exercise you will use both methods to flow the text into the columns on the first page of the newsletter.

In the Pages palette, double-click the page 1 icon to center the first page in the document window. Click on a blank part of the page to deselect all items.

Choose File > Place. In the place dialog box, make sure that Show Import Options is selected, locate and select 04_c.doc in the Lesson_04 folder, and click Open.

Make certain that Remove Styles and Formatting from Text and Tables is not selected in the Import Options dialog box. Deselecting this option causes the text to be imported with the same formatting that was applied in the word-processing application. Selecting this option would remove any formatting that was applied to the text. You want to keep the formatting, so you will keep this option deselected, and click OK.

You will now create a text frame between the light blue guides below the banner on the left side of page 1.

Create a text frame in the left column of page 1 by positioning the loaded text icon () next to the left margin at the 21p (21-pica) guide and dragging down to the right side of the first column at the 30p guide.

Dragging to create a text frame.

Notice that the text frame includes an out port in the lower right corner. The red plus sign indicates that there is overset text. There is more text than fits into the existing text frame. You will now flow this text into the second column on page 1.

Using the Selection tool (), click the out port of the frame you just created.

If you change your mind and decide you don’t want to flow overset text, you can click any tool in the toolbox to cancel the loaded text icon. No text will be deleted.

Position the loaded text icon in the upper left corner of the second column just below the sidebar frame, and click.

The text flows into a new frame from where you clicked to the bottom of the second column. The out port in the new column contains a red plus sign, again indicating that there is still overset text.


While you can create separate, linked frames for each column, it is also possible to work with one large column that is divided into multiple columns using Object > Text Frame Options. Each method has its advantages in certain types of documents.

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