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InCopy CS5 and InDesign CS5 have two new paragraph formatting commands that I like to show you. They're called Span Columns and Split Columns. This might be something that editors would actually find quite useful. Again, normally you would want your designers to include these things in a paragraph style, so that you would just be applying the style. Sometimes you need to apply your own kind of formatting, so let's look at both of these. First, we'll look at Span Columns, so we're going to look at this story that starts out with the word herbs.
I'm going to zoom in with Command++ or Ctrl++ a few times. Now this a two column story. It's a single text frame in two columns, and the Span Columns command only works in this kind of text file. It doesn't work in single text frames that are threaded together; just in the kind of text frame that has multiple columns within the same frame. So little hard to tell in InCopy, because we don't have the selection tool to tell us what is one single frame or not, but you'll get the idea as I use it.
So the point is, let's that this title is going to be a few words long. Herbs are great. And instead of breaking on to two lines we would like this to encompass the entire top of the story and normally this would be something that you'd have to ask the designer to please open this up in InDesign, create a text frame that goes all the way across, and then that way you could copy and paste it into there, and that text frame would push down the remainder of the text. But you don't have to do that. Even though you don't have any way to create a frame, this new feature creates kind of like a ghost frame. It's kind of neat.
So just click anywhere inside that line you want to span columns and then you'll find the commands in the Paragraph panel menu. Go down to the command that says Span Columns, and open that up, so we have a dialog box. I am going to turn on Preview, so we can see what it does and under where it says Paragraph Layouts, choose Span Columns, that's it. So it just spans the columns for that one paragraph; the remaining paragraphs are following the individual columns within that text frame.
Now, if you have a text frame that has a three or four or five columns, like let's say you are lying out a newspaper or something like that, or magazine, you could choose how many columns this paragraph should span. Maybe you just want to spend two or three columns of a six column text frame, so you can come up with some pretty neat effects in this way. If you need to, you can add additional space above and below the span itself, and that's what this is for. What I want to show you that even if you continue writing, "don't you agree with me," that you know the entire paragraph spans these two columns, not just where you started with.
So that's how Span Columns works. And now we'll talk about Split Columns. We have an example when you might want to use Split Columns over here to the left. Now this is a text frame that has the same width, but it is just one column. In other words, it's just sort of like a normal text frame. I guess I would say that most text frames in InCopy and in InDesign are just single column text frames. My thinking is that with the new span column feature that maybe design is going now and in the future, designers might be more inclined to create multiple column single frames, so they can use that feature, but for now this is going to be the typical kind of frame that you can just find, and the idea with Split Columns is what happens when you have a bunch of short paragraphs, as in this example? Wouldn't it be nice to be able to easily make this part three columns or two columns, so that you can have a few of these bullet points going across? Of course, you could do this manually.
You could laboriously open up the Tabs panel and set tabs, then tab over here and then add your bullet and tab over here and add your bullet, but then when the bullet point ran more than a few words, you'd have to redo all the tabs. Or you could insert a table from the Table menu, and I have a video about how to work with tables in InCopy, but that's also quite a bit of work. So instead what you can do is select these paragraphs that you want to automatically convert into kind of like ghost columns within this larger column, single column text frame and go to the Paragraph panel menu. Choose the same command.
I sort of grouped them together in the same dialog box, so go to Span Columns and under Paragraph Layout, this time choose Split, instead of Span. And it immediately splits them into two columns. That was pretty fast, wasn't it? But you could also say, well, I'd rather have three columns or four columns, and you see how it's sort of divvies them up as necessary. I think two columns. Now you can say how much they space should come before the split and after the split, but also it's very nice that you have this control over the gutter, like I might want to bring these in a little bit.
I don't want them going to the outside edges, so I'm going to just keep clicking on this top arrow, and that brings in the left margin and the right margin a bit. And there you go, so that was Spanning and Splitting Columns, two new paragraph formatting features in InCopy CS5.
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