Threading Text Frames

Continuing the text flow from one frame to another is called Threading. Here are some typical Threading techniques:

  • Adding a frame to the thread: Select the text frame with the Selection Tool, then click its out port to load your text cursor. Move to the next column or page and then click or drag to create another frame. The text flows from the frame you clicked into the new frame.

  • Delete a frame from the text thread: Select it with the Selection Tool and press the Delete key. Don't worry about losing textyou are only deleting the container, not the content.


When creating a series of threaded text frames you can speed things up, by holding Option/Alt as you drag out a new text frame. The new text frame will be automatically threaded to the previous frame.

  • Making a headline span multiple columns: In addition to the out port at the bottom right of a text frame, there is another port at the top left, which can be used to load text from the beginning of the story. This is useful when you have a multicolumn layout and you want the headline to stretch across the columns rather than being squashed into a single column. Some people just cut and paste the headline into a separate story, which works, but threading the text is more efficient because it maintains the headline as part of the story, meaning that it can be text selected, spell checked, and viewed in the Story Editor as one story, rather than as two distinct pieces.

    1. Pull down a horizontal guide from the Horizontal Ruler to approximately where the first paragraph will begin.

    2. Resize the text frame so that it begins at this guide.

    3. Load your Type Tool from the out port at the top left of the text frame.

    4. Click and drag to create a text frame that spans the depth of the headline and across the width of the two columns.


    To see the bounding box of your text frames, even if they have nothing in them, make sure View>Show Frame Edges (Cmd/Ctrl+H) is checked.

  • Showing Text Threads: Choose Show Text Threads from the View menu, and linking arrows will indicate the flow of the text for a selected text frame.

    Some people prefer to map out their layouts, drawing and linking text frames before they have the real text. To create a series of linked text frames, draw your frames with the Rectangle Frame Tool, then click the first frame with your Type Tool to designate it as a text frame. Click the text frame's out port to link it to the next frame in the thread and continue to link the frames as necessary. Optionally, you can fill these text frames with placeholder text.

Figure 2.8. Threading a headline across columns.

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