Text Flow

Before using any of the text-flow methods, first "load" your cursor. To do that choose File>Place, navigate to the text file you wish to import, and then click Open.

For those of you who remember PageMaker, InDesign's text-flow methods will feel comfortably familiar. Those more familiar with QuarkXPress may be tempted to say something like, "You mean I don't have to draw a text box?"because InDesign's text-flow methods are fast and fluid.

Once you have a loaded type cursor, the size of your text frame is determined by the document's column and margin settings. Simply click at the top of the column to flow a single column of text. Note that the arrow in the loaded cursor icon will change from black to white when the cursor is over a guide. If there's more text to comeoverset textyou'll need to click on the red arrow at the bottom left of the text frame to "reload" your cursor. Then move to where you want the over matter to goeither a new column or a new pageand click at the top of the column or page to flow another text frame.

Figure 2.2. The Place Menu (Cmd+D/Ctrl+D).

Careful Where You Point that Thing: What to Watch for When Flowing Text

Replace Selected Item in the Place dialog box: If this is checked and you have a text frame selected with your Selection Tool, the text file you choose will replace your selection. If you have your Type Tool inserted within a text frame, your new story will be flowed from that point in the story. These results may be what you're after, and both are useful techniques, but if they are not what you wanted, you can either press Cmd+Z (Ctrl+Z) after the fact to restore your selected text frame and give you a loaded type cursor. Better yet, make sure his option is not selected in the first place. Alternatively, choose Edit>Deselect All Cmd+Shift+A (Ctrl+Shift+A) before you place a file.

When you hold the loaded text icon over an existing frame, parentheses appear around the icon. If you click, you will replace the contents of the frame with incoming text.

Canceling a loaded text cursor: Should you decide you don't want to flow that text after all, just choose any tool from the Tool palette or press any tool letter shortcut to "unload" your cursor. No text will be deleted.

Alternatively, if you don't want the width and depth of a text frame determined by your document's columns, click and drag the loaded type cursor to the size you want. When you release the mouse button, text will flow into the area you have defined. If there is more text to be placed, click the out port to reload your cursor, then click in the next text frame to continue the text flow.

Each text frame contains an in port and an out port, which are used to make connections to other text frames. An empty in port or out port indicates the beginning or end of a story, respectively. An arrow in a port indicates that the frame is linked to another frame. A red plus sign (+) in an out port indicates that there is overset textmore text than will fit in the current text frame(s). To flow the overset text, select the frame with the Selection Tool, click the out port, and then flow another text frame.

Figure 2.3. Anatomy of a Text Frame. A. Text frame containing a whole story. B. The same text frame resized so that the text is overset.

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Types of Text Flow

Manual text flow adds text one frame at a time. The text flow stops at the bottom of a text frame, or at the last of a series of linked frames. You'll need to reload the text icon to continue the text flow. Manual text flow is most appropriate for short bodies of text.

Autoflow (Shift) flows all the text, adding pages and frames as necessary. Autoflow functions best when working with single-column documents containing one main storylike a novel or short story.

Semi-Autoflow (Option/Alt) works like manual text flow, except that your cursor is reloaded at the end of each frame, saving you the trouble of having to click on the red plus symbol. You then continue the text flow by clicking or dragging to create a new text frame, or clicking an existing text frame to add it to the text thread. Semi-Autoflow is most appropriate when working with long text files that are one story of several in a documentlike a magazine or newspaper article.

Fixed Page Autoflow (Shift-Option/Shift-Alt) flows as much text as will fit without adding pages. This option is useful if your document has a fixed number of pages.

Figure 2.4. Manual Text Flow icon.

Figure 2.5. The Autoflow icon.

Figure 2.6. The Semi-Autoflow icon.

Figure 2.7. Fixed Page Autoflow icon .