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In InDesign CS6, we have more flexibility when it comes to working with text frames. So, for example, here we have a spread from a magazine, and we a have normal threaded story running through two text frames. Each text frame has four columns. So if I select one of these and then I go to the Object menu and choose Text Frame Options, you can see that the columns are four, right? What is new here is, first of all, we now have a name for this kind of text frame; it's called a Fixed Number column.
So there are always going to be four columns, no matter what size we make the text frame. So if I make it smaller, there are still four columns; if I make it wider, there are still four columns. I am going to press Command+B or Ctrl+B again to get back here. The other option that we've always had is Fixed Width. So Fixed Width--we've had this for few versions--means that we can say the columns should always be whatever they are now or you can enter your own measure. Right now it's 10 picas 6 points, so that if I then make this text frame smaller, like I drag it over here, it automatically snaps up.
But if I cross the boundary, then it says okay, we'll only have three columns. So this is like really ideal for, say, a newspaper layout, where every page is heavily grided into eight columns and you can just resize text frames and they will always exactly match the column widths. So in those two existing ways of changing the number of columns in a text frame, we have either it can be completely loosey-goosey, where the text columns can be any width as long as they are the exact same number of columns, or it can be a little bit more regimented, where the number of columns changes and the width of the column cannot change.
But we have another method available to us in CS6. I am going to go back to Text Frame Options. We have Flexible Width. So with Flexible Width, you can change the size of the overall text frame to a certain degree. The number of columns will remain the same. The size of the column will change somewhat, until you hit the maximum, and then it will automatically add more columns. So let's say the maximum width that we want for this text would be, let's say 16 picas wide of the column. Okay, so I am going to click OK.
And now as I resize this smaller, you can see that it actually changed the number of columns, because we went below the existing width. And as I make it larger, now it says okay, well I will do three columns. And as I keep growing, 3 columns, 3 columns, and now it adds a fourth column because I went past the maximum. Let's look again at those settings. I press Command+B or Ctrl+B. So the maximum was 16 picas, and the current width right now is 12 picas.
You can do Flexible Width measures right here in Text Frame Options, but notice that you can also do them as an object style. So If I went to object style--I am going to Option+Click or Alt+Click here to create a new style--and went down to Text Frame General Options, you see that we can actually turn on Flexible Width right here. So you can set a maximum width for each column. That makes it even more powerful to be able to set up your text frames that are going to be used for different kinds of documents so that they always look great, no matter how wide or narrow you make the text frame.
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