Wrapping Type Around Irregularly Shaped Graphics

When working with an irregularly shaped object, select the object and choose Wrap Around Object Shape from the Text Wrap palette. The best way to prepare your image is as a Photoshop file (psd) with an Alpha channel or Layer Mask. In-Design supports Photoshop transparency, so you no longer need to worry about drawing pen paths around your image for a hard-edge vector-clipping path. From Contour Options, choose Alpha Channel. The text will use the image's transparency to define a wrap boundary. You can adjust the Top Offset field (you'll only have the one) to determine how close the text comes to the 100 percent opaque pixels in the image.

Figure 17.6. Contour Options.

Don't have/don't know Photoshop? You can still create a clipping path for your graphic within InDesign, which will knock out the background areas of the image. This works best if the image has a flat background, preferably one that contrasts with the foreground.

Figure 17.7. Creating a Clipping Path within InDesign. The opaque white of the image background is "knocked out" using Detect Edges. The text wrap is set to Wrap Around Object Shape, causing the text to wrap around the clipping path. Use the Direct Selection tool and click the image to see the new path and the text-wrap offset, both of which can be adjusted.

[View full size image]

Using the Direct Selection and the Pen tool, you can manipulate your path to exactly the shape you want the text to wrap around. Select the image with the Direct Selection tool to show the text wrap path. Now drag any of the anchor points to adjust the text-wrap shape. To add or delete anchor points, switch to the pen tool. Click on the path where there is no anchor point to add one, or click on an existing anchor point to delete it. You can also use the Pen tool to convert smooth points to corner points and visa versa.

Tip: Reset your text wrap.

If you've adjusted your text wrap and don't like the result, you can start again by choosing Wrap Around Bounding Box, then choosing Wrap Around Object Shape once more.

Figure 17.8. Wrapping around a circular shape. In example A, the text wrap at the poles of the circle is larger than that at its center. In example B, the Direct Selection tool is used to pull the text wrap offset at both poles toward the center of the circle letting the text hug the circle shape.

[View full size image]

It's best to evaluate text wraps by eye rather than rely on the numbers in the Text Wrap palette. For example, a text wrap around a curved shape may appear to have a bigger offset at the top and bottom of the shape than at its center, even though the wrap offset is set to a uniform distance from the graphic.


To see a "live Text Wrap," click on the graphic and pause for a moment before you move it to a new location. The text will wrap as you move the graphic into position.