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Creating text threads

From: Illustrator CS5 Essential Training

Video: Creating text threads

So we know that when working specifically with area text, I have an object or a shape that contains text within it and I also know that the text itself will reflow or adjust itself within the boundaries of that shape. Well, when you are working with area text object, there is also an additional functionality that you get, something called working with theatext thread. This is the ability to actually start text inside of one text frame and then have that text flow or continue into a completely separate text frame. What some people also refer to as linked text.

Creating text threads

So we know that when working specifically with area text, I have an object or a shape that contains text within it and I also know that the text itself will reflow or adjust itself within the boundaries of that shape. Well, when you are working with area text object, there is also an additional functionality that you get, something called working with theatext thread. This is the ability to actually start text inside of one text frame and then have that text flow or continue into a completely separate text frame. What some people also refer to as linked text.

However, in Illustrator we refer to this as a thread and before we understand how to create a thread, we need to focus on some of the user interface elements that appear anytime that you have an area text object selected. For example, I am going to switch to my Direct Selection tool here, and I am going to click on this area text object. Notice I can see the text and I can see the shape itself. I could see the anchor points that are used to define that shape. If I look at the upper left-hand corner of the object and the lower right-hand corner of the object, I also see these two bigger squares.

The name of these squares are ports and they help us control threading from one container or one area text object to another. To see how that works, we are going to create a separate area text object. But I want to copy some of this text so I don't have to actually retype it again. So I will double-click over here to change my Selection tool into the Type tool so I can now work on selecting this text. Here are a couple of pointers when working with selecting text. We already know that when I have a cursor blinking inside of text, I can press Command+A or Ctrl+A to select all.

No, it won't select all the elements inside of my document. Since my focus is now inside of this text object, it will just select all the text inside of this shape. But if I just want to select one paragraph, you'll find that you can do some interesting things with just clicking the mouse. For example, you already know that when you click on a word, Illustrator puts the blinking cursor at the point where you clicked. But if you double click on a word, Illustrator selects that entire word. If you triple-click with a mouse, you will notice that it will select the entire paragraph. Now that I have done that, I am going to press Command+C or Ctrl+C to copy that.

Now I want to create a new text frame, but notice that when I move my cursor outside of this frame, even though I would like to start clicking and dragging out to create a new shape, my focus is still in the existing area text object. So, in order for me to get out of that focus, I am going to hold down my Command key to temporarily switch to my Selection tool and I will click on the artboard. This will effectively deselect the text object and now I could start creating a new one. It is actually not that different from when you are using the Pen tool for example. So I am going to start over here and click and drag to draw a frame and with my cursor now inserted inside of that frame, I am going to press Command+V to paste.

I will switch to my Selection tool and let's take a closer look at what we are dealing with right here with this new text frame that we just created. First of all, when I click on it, because I have the bounding box turned on, I do see the handles that will allow me to resize the frame itself and remember, since text reflows inside of a frame, as I resize that frame, the text will reflow inside of it. Now I'll switch to the Direct Selection tool for just a moment here because I want a clearly focus on the other UI elements, mainly the two ports that we spoke about. The port that appears in the upper left-hand corner of a text frame is called the in port.

Text always flows into a text frame through its in port. The port that appears on the lower right- hand side of the object is called the out port. As you can probably guess, text flows out of a text frame through its out port. As we start to work with threads inside of Illustrator, we are going to use these ports to control how the text flows. Illustrator will help us there by putting certain icons inside of these ports. Currently both the in port and the out port of this frame are empty. That means that my text starts here and that at this point in my frame there is no more text.

So my text ends here as well. However, if I switch back now to my regular Selection tool and I resize the frame so that it is not really big enough to contain all the text, let's now take a closer look at what the ports look like. In fact, I am going to disable the bounding box for just a few moments here by choosing Hide Bounding Box in the View menu, so we could take a better look at these icons. Notice that on the upper left-hand corner the in port is still empty. Again, that means that my text begins here. However now in the out port, I now see a red plus sign.

This indicates that I have something called overset or overflow text. It means that currently my frame is not big enough to contain all of this text. So Illustrator only puts in as much as will fit. The rest of the text still does exist inside of my document. Only it is not visible. While I can certainly resize my frame in order to remedy the situation, I also have the ability to create a brand-new frame and have any overset text simply continue on and flow into the second frame. In order to do that I'm going to be using my Selection tool and I am going to be focusing once again on the ports themselves.

With my Selection tool, I am now going to click on the out port or in this case here the red arrow. When I do so and move my cursor away, I can see that a new icon appears. This is called the loaded text cursor. It means that Illustrator now has loaded up all that extra overset text and put it into my cursor and now Illustrator is waiting for me to now either click on another shape, at which time Illustrator will convert that shape to an area text object and flow the text into it, or since I don't have another shape right now to work with I can click and drag as I had done before to create a new frame.

Now we will see that Illustrator starts the text off inside of one area text object. That text now flows into a brand- new text frame and finishes here. Let's select both of these objects here and take a look at the icons inside the ports. At the beginning of my thread, my port is filled wide or it is empty. This means this is now the start of my text. The out port identifies now a blue arrow. This means that text is currently flowing out of my frame and this text frame has a blue arrow in its in port. That means that the text that I am seeing right here is actually coming in from a previous source.

Illustrator connects these two ports with a line to let me know the direction in which this text is going. Finally, if there is no more text left anymore and I have room left inside of this frame, I now see this is the end of the text, which is identified by an empty out port. One of the really nice things about working with threads inside of Illustrator is that it is really easy to edit the threads themselves. For example, I am now going to go ahead now and select just this one object right here. I am going to move it over to this part of the page. Maybe I want to add now a third text frame, but I want it to be in the middle between these two.

So I want text to start off in this frame, flow into a new text frame here, and then finally finish off on this one. In fact maybe in this case, I am going to draw a separate shape first. For example, I am going to use my Ellipse tool to click and drag and draw some kind of an oval shape. Next, I will use my regular selection tool to select the first text frame. I will click on the out port. Notice now that I get that loaded text cursor. I will now mouse over this shape and as soon as I do so, it becomes highlighted, meaning I can now click on it. When I do so, Illustrator converts it to an area text object.

But it also inserts it into the middle of the thread. So now I see that text starts here, flows into this new shape that I created and then continues on to the shape right here. I'll turn the bounding box back on now by going to the View menu and choosing Show Bounding Box. You'll see now that if I resize any of these frames, the text simply moves across all these other frames accordingly. Perhaps one of the biggest benefits or reasons for using area text objects that are threaded inside of Illustrator is how easy it is to work with that text when you're actually editing it. For example, I am going to double-click now inside of this text and notice now if I want to quickly move across these three objects, I can just use the down arrow on my keyboard to move across that text.

So often when you're thinking about text overall, we probably think about working with flowing text and text threads as being something that InDesign does or working on large documents or brochures or even newsletters. However, when working with projects inside of Illustrator, you might find that instead of using multiple point text objects, which are tedious to select, you might think about structuring your document using multiple area text objects that are threaded together in a single thread. As with almost any project if you know you going to be using a lot of text, it might make sense for you to take just a few moments in advance to better plan out how you might implement that text inside of your document.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS5 Essential Training
Illustrator CS5 Essential Training

126 video lessons · 81254 viewers

Mordy Golding
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 3m 35s
    1. Welcome
      1m 18s
    2. What is Illustrator CS5?
      1m 46s
    3. Using the exercise files
      31s
  2. 12m 37s
    1. What are vector graphics?
      6m 3s
    2. Path and appearance
      3m 42s
    3. Stacking
      2m 52s
  3. 32m 6s
    1. The Welcome screen
      2m 23s
    2. Creating files for print
      6m 7s
    3. Creating files for the screen
      2m 55s
    4. Using prebuilt templates
      2m 40s
    5. Adding XMP metadata
      4m 18s
    6. Exploring the panels
      6m 33s
    7. Using the Control panel
      3m 11s
    8. Using workspaces
      3m 59s
  4. 43m 44s
    1. Navigating within a document
      9m 15s
    2. Using rulers and guides
      7m 26s
    3. Using grids
      3m 6s
    4. Using the bounding box
      3m 37s
    5. Using Smart Guides
      5m 56s
    6. The Hide Edges command
      3m 22s
    7. Various preview modes
      3m 47s
    8. Creating custom views
      4m 3s
    9. Locking and hiding artwork
      3m 12s
  5. 28m 46s
    1. Using the basic selection tools
      8m 50s
    2. Using the Magic Wand tool
      5m 22s
    3. Using the Lasso tool
      2m 28s
    4. Selecting objects by attribute or type
      3m 37s
    5. Saving and reusing selections
      2m 15s
    6. Selecting artwork beneath other objects
      2m 13s
    7. Exploring selection preferences
      4m 1s
  6. 1h 16m
    1. The importance of modifier keys
      1m 52s
    2. Drawing closed path primitives
      11m 38s
    3. Drawing open path primitives
      5m 47s
    4. Understanding anchor points
      3m 43s
    5. Drawing straight paths with the Pen tool
      7m 37s
    6. Drawing curved paths with the Pen tool
      9m 47s
    7. Drawing freeform paths with the Pencil tool
      5m 33s
    8. Smoothing and erasing paths
      3m 8s
    9. Editing anchor points
      7m 21s
    10. Joining and averaging paths
      10m 9s
    11. Simplifying paths
      4m 55s
    12. Using Offset Path
      2m 17s
    13. Cleaning up errant paths
      2m 32s
  7. 48m 26s
    1. The Draw Inside and Draw Behind modes
      7m 34s
    2. Creating compound paths
      5m 56s
    3. Creating compound shapes
      8m 0s
    4. Using the Shape Builder tool
      10m 28s
    5. Using Pathfinder functions
      8m 6s
    6. Splitting an object into a grid
      1m 16s
    7. Using the Blob Brush and Eraser tools
      7m 6s
  8. 49m 5s
    1. Creating point text
      4m 2s
    2. Creating area text
      8m 13s
    3. Applying basic character settings
      7m 44s
    4. Applying basic paragraph settings
      4m 28s
    5. Creating text threads
      8m 25s
    6. Setting text along an open path
      6m 29s
    7. Setting text along a closed path
      6m 24s
    8. Converting text into paths
      3m 20s
  9. 18m 55s
    1. Create a logo mark
      11m 26s
    2. Add type to your logo
      7m 29s
  10. 42m 42s
    1. Using the Appearance panel
      8m 21s
    2. Targeting object attributes
      4m 42s
    3. Adding multiple attributes
      4m 25s
    4. Applying Live Effects
      5m 18s
    5. Expanding appearances
      4m 42s
    6. Appearance panel settings
      4m 33s
    7. Copying appearances
      4m 51s
    8. Saving appearances as graphic styles
      5m 50s
  11. 34m 0s
    1. Applying color to artwork
      5m 57s
    2. Creating process and global process swatches
      8m 54s
    3. Creating spot color swatches
      3m 19s
    4. Loading PANTONE and other custom color libraries
      4m 49s
    5. Organizing colors with Swatch Groups
      3m 31s
    6. Finding color suggestions with the Color Guide panel
      4m 24s
    7. Loading the Color Guide with user-defined colors
      3m 6s
  12. 50m 23s
    1. Creating gradients with the Gradient panel
      8m 12s
    2. Modifying gradients with the Gradient Annotator
      4m 37s
    3. Applying and manipulating pattern fills
      5m 33s
    4. Defining your own custom pattern fills
      9m 13s
    5. Applying basic stroke settings
      5m 22s
    6. Creating strokes with dashed lines
      3m 41s
    7. Adding arrowheads to strokes
      2m 45s
    8. Creating variable-width strokes
      4m 35s
    9. Working with width profiles
      2m 36s
    10. Turning strokes into filled paths
      3m 49s
  13. 32m 46s
    1. Creating and editing groups
      8m 18s
    2. Adding attributes to groups
      12m 17s
    3. The importance of using layers
      5m 9s
    4. Using and "reading" the Layers panel
      7m 2s
  14. 12m 13s
    1. Creating and using multiple artboards
      7m 52s
    2. Modifying artboards with the Artboards panel
      2m 2s
    3. Copy and paste options with Artboards
      2m 19s
  15. 31m 10s
    1. Moving and copying artwork
      3m 55s
    2. Scaling or resizing artwork
      6m 47s
    3. Rotating artwork
      2m 44s
    4. Reflecting and skewing artwork
      2m 34s
    5. Using the Free Transform tool
      2m 15s
    6. Repeating transformations
      3m 39s
    7. Performing individual transforms across multiple objects
      2m 10s
    8. Aligning objects and groups precisely
      4m 27s
    9. Distributing objects and spaces between objects
      2m 39s
  16. 35m 40s
    1. Placing pixel-based content into Illustrator
      5m 14s
    2. Managing images with the Links panel
      4m 49s
    3. Converting pixels to paths with Live Trace
      8m 44s
    4. Making Live Trace adjustments
      6m 9s
    5. Controlling colors in Live Trace
      6m 4s
    6. Using Photoshop and Live Trace together
      4m 40s
  17. 14m 42s
    1. Managing repeating artwork with symbols
      4m 38s
    2. Modifying and replacing symbol instances
      3m 8s
    3. Using the Symbol Sprayer tool
      6m 56s
  18. 16m 57s
    1. Cropping photographs
      1m 59s
    2. Clipping artwork with masks
      3m 22s
    3. Clipping the contents of a layer
      3m 31s
    4. Defining masks with soft edges
      8m 5s
  19. 26m 2s
    1. Defining a perspective grid
      7m 48s
    2. Drawing artwork in perspective
      8m 46s
    3. Moving flat art onto the perspective grid
      9m 28s
  20. 25m 8s
    1. Printing your Illustrator document
      3m 26s
    2. Saving your Illustrator document
      6m 39s
    3. Creating PDF files for clients and printers
      7m 30s
    4. Exporting Illustrator files for use in Microsoft Office
      1m 4s
    5. Exporting Illustrator files for use in Photoshop
      2m 31s
    6. Exporting artwork for use on the web
      3m 3s
    7. Exporting high-resolution raster files
      55s
  21. 2m 18s
    1. Additional Illustrator learning resources
      1m 36s
    2. Goodbye
      42s

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