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Smart Text Reflow is a feature that you can use to have InDesign automatically add or remove pages so that a document has no pages that are either empty or overset. And you can find the controls for Smart Text Reflow in InDesign's Preferences, so I'll press Command+K or Ctrl+K under Type and down at the bottom here is Smart Text Reflow. So I can enable it or disable it. I can choose where pages are added, so at the end of a current Story, a section within a document or at the end of the document. I can apply it only to master text frames or to other frames in the document.
I can preserve spreads and I can also choose to delete empty pages. I am going to select that and click OK. Now one other thing to note is that the Smart Text Reflow Preferences are document-specific, so changes you make to them only apply to a current document. If you want to set them up for all of new documents, make them part of your templates or do what I just did and set them with no documents open. So now with Smart Text Reflow enabled, I am going to create a new document. I am going to give it a master text frame, and it's only going to be one page long.
And I'll click OK and then in the Pages panel, I can see indeed it is one page long. So I'll press Command+D or Ctrl+D to get the Place dialog box. I'll navigate to an RTF text file, and this is a large text file with a lot of text in it, and I'll click Open. And I can place the text in my document, and I can see from the cursor that InDesign is busy, and now it's autoflowing text, and it's going to create enough pages to fill all this text. And in the Pages panel, I can see now instead of one page, I have 153 pages and 77 spreads.
So it fit all the text with no overset text. Now remember in the Preferences I also set Delete Empty Pages. So if I were to select all this text and change the point size up in the Control panel from, say, 12 points down to 10 points, I am going to make that type smaller. It's going to take up less space. That would make empty pages at the end of the document. But since I set the preference to Delete Empty Pages, they will be removed from the document. So let's see that happen. So now instead of 153 pages, I am down to 119 pages.
Now you can also use Smart Text Reflow with frames that aren't master text frames. So let's go back to the preference. I'll close this document and not save it. I'll press Command+K or Ctrl+K, Type > Preferences. I'll uncheck Limit to Master Text Frames and click OK. Now I'll create another new document, and this time I'll use two pages starting on page 2, so I have a nice facing-pages spread in front of me. I'll click and drag to draw a one text frame, and then I'll hold down Command or Ctrl to select the frame and click on the outport to get a loaded cursor, where I can click and drag a new text frame.
So now I have two linked frames in this story, and I want to flow that same long text into them. So I'll press Command+D or Ctrl+D to get place, select that same RTF document, and place it. And now you can see InDesign is busy autoflowing the text again, and this time it created 154 pages to accommodate the text. I can do the same thing by changing the point size. So I'll select all the text, go to the Control panel, decrease the point size, and then pages were removed.
Now I am down to 120 pages in this document. So the trick to getting Smart Text Reflow to work here is the fact that I had two frames linked across pages. It won't work if you have overset text on just a single page; it has to be linked across multiple pages. Smart Text Reflow can save you time, especially when you first pour a large amount of text into a simple InDesign document and also potentially at the end of a workflow, where you have to output multiple versions contained in a single document.
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