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077 Quickly threading frames together and unthreading frames

From: InDesign Secrets

Video: 077 Quickly threading frames together and unthreading frames

An essential skill of every InDesign professional is the ability to quickly thread a series of text frames and to unthread them, often incorrectly referred to as linking text frames. And in InDesign linking usually refers to this kind of link or a hyperlink. So we call them threaded. Threading text frames, these three frames are unthreaded, you can tell because in the in port is empty and the out port is empty.

077 Quickly threading frames together and unthreading frames

An essential skill of every InDesign professional is the ability to quickly thread a series of text frames and to unthread them, often incorrectly referred to as linking text frames. And in InDesign linking usually refers to this kind of link or a hyperlink. So we call them threaded. Threading text frames, these three frames are unthreaded, you can tell because in the in port is empty and the out port is empty.

That is where you see little triangles that appear if they are threaded. Compare that with this story where the first frame, the in port is empty and the out port has a triangle pointing to the second frame, where both the in port and the out port have a triangle, meaning it's in the middle of a threaded story. This is the last one in a threaded story. Now the point is sometimes you are working with a document with a threaded story and you need to unthread these. You need them to be stand-alone frames, and sometimes you're working with a document that has a bunch of unthreaded frames that you want to stitch together.

Let me show you some tips and tricks and some scripts that you will find very useful. Here is one example of when you might want to thread frames together. It is the beginning of a book, the title page, and we have three frames. As you can tell from the in port and out port, they are unthreaded, they are empty. We need to thread them together because when we the export this to ePub, we want to have the same amount of white space in between these chunks of information. And there's no way that we are going to be able to do that with three separate frames.

It's going to collapse the space. Instead, we want an all-in-one frame, and then we'll use formatting like Space Above or Space After to force this spacing to appear. So how do you thread frames together that are unthreaded? Well, the manual way is simply to select the first frame and then click in the empty out port. Normally, you'd click here if you had overset text that you want to flow somewhere, but you can click it even if it's empty, and it always puts in a preview of the first couple words of the story, pay no mind.

If you have just one other frame that you need this threaded to, you could just go to that frame, and when you see the link icon, you can click here and it will just thread these. But that means that if you also wanted to thread a third frame to the story, as we do here, you would have to repeat that action and click on the out port of the second frame and click here. If you have more than a couple frames that you need to thread, do what I just did for the first frame and then hold down the Option or the Alt key on Windows and click on each other frame that you want to thread together and that will save you a lot of time.

These three frames are threaded, but you see the problem. First of all, let's get rid of view. The problem is that the text got sucked up to the frame above it. So let's undo a few times. The problem is that this frame does not end with a frame-ending special character like a paragraph return or a frame break. Instead, we see the number sign or the hash mark which just means there is no more text in this thread. If you want to make sure that the text does not get moved from its current position, you need to end each frame with a Frame Break character.

So we click right here and then we can right click, go down to Insert Break Character > Frame Break, or we could press Shift+Enter which is the keyboard shortcut. We would do it here as well and Insert Break Character > Frame Break, we don't need to do it to the last one. Now, let's do the same action that we did before. Load the cursor from the first frame's out port and then Option-click, Option-click, and there you go. The text stays where it is. Now what that also means, though, is that if you edit this text, it's not going to flow smoothly because you have this Frame Break character, but the other option that you could do that I sometimes do is instead of a Frame Break, I will put a return in there.

So I'll make sure that there is a return at the end of every frame, and there is one there, is there one here, yes there is, and we don't need to worry about that one. So that will still make sure that this text does not end up in the same line as Art because it's going to be a different paragraph. But if I needed to start editing, then the text would flow smoothly from one frame to the next because I don't have any jumping Frame special characters in there. Here we have a spread of a business report, and for some inexplicable reason, these three frames which obviously belong to one story are not threaded.

So now we know that before we thread, we check the bottom of every frame, zooming in, make sure it ends with a return. And I will do our usual trick of loading the text cursor from the out port of the first frame and then Option-click or Alt-click on each one of these. Now, some of the text got sucked into here because that was a paragraph marker and not a frame break, but that's perfectly fine. This neat little trick of clicking to load the cursor and then Option-click or Alt-click, click, click on other frames is fine if you just have to do it a few times.

But what if you had a huge project that had dozens or hundreds or thousands of frames that needed to be threaded in order for you to do something with it? Or maybe this is something that you have to work with every day that you're constantly dealing with these kinds of publications, and I have talked with people who this is part of their daily task is having to do this threading. Well, there are some scripts that can help you out. So let's look at a couple. Let me revert this one so that we once again have unthreaded frames. There we go.

One of these scripts is written by a guy whose screen name is Jongware, and if you hang out on an indesignsecrets.com forums, you'll see his post there all the time or the InDesign forums on the Adobe website. And I've installed that script here, and I will show you where you can download it in a bit. I just called it Jongware-thread. I named it because he just posted it in a forum post. So I saved it out as a JavaScript file and installed it in InDesign. And the way that this works is you select the frames that you want threaded and then you double-click on Jongware-thread script and it threads them, the end, isn't it nice? And it automatically adds a Frame Break character when it needs to.

Zoom in here, see how it added a Frame Break character down here? So if it already ends with a Frame Break, it doesn't add that, which is nice. What I really like about this script is that you have lot of control. You can Shift-click just the frames that you want. Now the problem, though, is that what if the frames extend beyond one spread? You know, that you can't select more than one frame on different spreads, right? So Jongware's script is great as long as everything you need to do is limited to one page or one spread. If you need to thread lots of frames on different pages, then you have to move to more powerful script, and the one that I like is called TextStitcher from Rorohiko, which is a well-known InDesign developer.

Now, this is not a video on how to use this plug-in. It's a very powerful plug-in, but couple of things I should tell you, first of all it's free. Thank you Chris, who is the owner of Rorohiko. Second is that you need to download a couple things. One of them is called the APID ToolAssistant, it's a plug-in. So that means you need to quit out of InDesign, drop this into your Plug-ins folder, and then restart. And then Chris has a lot of free and commercial plug-ins that depend on APID ToolAssistant being there, and as his instructions quite clearly explain, you just drop this file into the same folder as this one.

So on my Macintosh, in the InDesign CS6 folder, in my Plug-ins folder, I made a folder for Rorohiko and then there I put the APID ToolAssistant, and then every time I download another plug-in from his site, I just drop it in here. You can color the folder in both Windows and Macintosh. So it's really easy to tell what came with the program, what didn't come with it. Very useful if you are troubleshooting, so you can remove the things that you installed. But let me just show you back in InDesign that I have installed it, and so that's why I have this API menu at the top, and if I click it, I can say Text Stitch, and under Configure, you visit here first.

This plug-in will work either on the current spread or the entire document, it cares not for your selection. Now if you are okay with it threading every single story in the document or every single unthreaded frame in the current spread, then this is the answer for you. It will show a Confirmation dialog box. If you want it to, it will insert those Frame Break characters while it's stitching. And then it also does Auto Unstitching, which I'll get to in a second. But I am just going to say On the current spread, click OK, and let's check it out, there we go.

Now let's talk about unthreading. There are actually a couple of free scripts that come with InDesign that have to do with breaking up threaded stories. And for that we look in the Samples folder in the JavaScript folder. One of them is called BreakFrame, and the other one is called SplitStory. What is the difference? Let's check it out with a third document that I have here, which is this art history book down here. Zoom out and see how this is constructed. You can see like many typical books that an entire chapter worth of text frames is threaded together and then here starts another text frame.

Let's say for some reason that we wanted just the first text frame, not this opening frame, but just the first text frame to be by itself. You could select this and then choose BreakFrame. So BreakFrame depends on your selection, you can double-click it and it puts that frame that you had selected all by itself unthreaded, and then for the rest of the threaded frames, it threads them. It just sort of skips by this one. So if I click this, you can see that this is still the first frame in the thread, but it just skipped this guy and went onto the other ones.

Now the reason it pulled the text inside here is because this story actually did start on the left, but part of the formatting for Chapter 1, for this line right here is that it's designed to always start on an odd page which is the right-facing page. Maybe if we look at a simpler example like in the business report, we select this frame right in the middle, double-click on BreakFrame, now it's threaded from the first to the third and it's all by itself. That's what BreakFrame is.

Now SplitStory will split every single frame in the story into a stand-alone frame. Let's go back to Art History and revert and zoom out. Now let's say for some reason that you needed to start moving pages around in this document. Perhaps it wasn't a linear narrative story like this, maybe it's a workbook that you flowed in as one long story but each page is a stand-alone exercise for a class, and now you need to start reorganizing these. If I start dragging these pages around--let's do it to the first chapter--if I start dragging these pages around like here--and I will say I will move this one over here and now we look at the text threads--we start seeing this kind of thing happening.

Well, that would be a nightmare. What you want to do is you want to unthread all these frames so that they are stand-alone, move them around, and then re-thread them. So let's undo, there it is, nice and normal. And now we open up our Scripts panel, double- click on SplitStory, now it makes no difference which frame you have selected, you are just actually telling it which is the story. A story is what's contained in a series of threaded frames, and we double-click SplitStory and make every single frame stand-alone.

Now we can go ahead and move these pages around, move that one over there. We don't have to worry about crossing things. Then we just have to thread these frames back together, doing it manually like I showed you, or using the TextStitcher plug-in. Of course, I did mention that TextStitcher also does this Auto Unstitch, and you can read more about what it does when it auto unstitches. And it auto unstitches the selected story, which is the same as the Break Frame script as well. Again, this script is free, and if it's okay with you to go ahead and install a plug-in, I highly recommend that you work with this wonderful TextStitch, truly great.

And by the way, if you want to just grab that free script that Jongware created for us, if you go to http://indesignsecrets.com/downloads/ Jongware-thread.zip and download that and that will unzip it, it will give you JavaScript to put it in your Scripts folder, and again, that lets you select a series of frames, and Jongware's script will only act on those frames. So there you go, threading and unthreading frames in InDesign.

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InDesign Secrets

175 video lessons · 80395 viewers

Anne-Marie Concepción and David Blatner

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  1. 2m 34s
    1. 175 How to sort text in InDesign NEW
      2m 34s
  2. 51s
    1. 001 Welcome to InDesign Secrets
  3. 7m 7s
    1. 173 Making a character style change only the tint of your text
      2m 27s
    2. 174 Editing table set up from the keyboard
      4m 40s
  4. 12m 59s
    1. 170 All about All Caps (change case, open type option)
      4m 36s
    2. 171 Batch convert InDesign files to IDML and other formats
      2m 35s
    3. 172 Fun with placeholder text
      5m 48s
  5. 11m 52s
    1. 167 Creating blank entry spaces on forms
      3m 53s
    2. 168 Creative uses of the Slug area
      4m 45s
    3. 169 Change the UI languaging in InDesign CS6 and CC
      3m 14s
  6. 21m 11s
    1. 162 Keeping page numbers on top of master items
      3m 55s
    2. 163 Adding automatic currency symbols in a table cell or before text
      3m 50s
    3. 164 Make a pop-up footnote for your ebook
      3m 48s
    4. 165 Deleting tabs at the beginning of paragraphs and applying a paragraph style
      3m 10s
    5. 166 Five InDesign Presentation tips
      6m 28s
  7. 19m 54s
    1. 158 Sharing swatches (PS/IL/ID and ID to ID)
      3m 36s
    2. 159 Convert rounded corners to editable paths
      3m 15s
    3. 160 Convert local formatting to character styles
      5m 14s
    4. 161 Sort an index by page number
      7m 49s
  8. 16m 58s
    1. 154 When InDesign ignores your leading values
      4m 5s
    2. 155 Extracting images from a Word document
      3m 42s
    3. 156 Uncommon uses for Quick Apply
      6m 2s
    4. 157 Uncovering InDesign's magic font folders
      3m 9s
  9. 28m 47s
    1. 149 Cropping with paste into
      5m 18s
    2. 150 Using vertical justification to spread out text in a frame automatically
      5m 16s
    3. 151 Rotate text inside a frame, or the frame around the text
      2m 30s
    4. 152 Looking at snippets vs. libraries
      6m 49s
    5. 153 Import a folder full of pictures, one per page
      8m 54s
  10. 19m 1s
    1. 145 Lay out a front, back and spine for a book jacket
      6m 12s
    2. 146 Ghosting area of image behind text
      2m 53s
    3. 147 Make a transparency mask in InDesign
      3m 45s
    4. 148 Using preflight to find common document errors
      6m 11s
  11. 22m 35s
    1. 140 Faking bold and italic when the font family doesn’t have one
      5m 2s
    2. 141 Keeping the same scale size when updating or relinking to images
      3m 9s
    3. 142 Inserting glyphs
      6m 42s
    4. 143 Building richer, bolder color gradients
      3m 7s
    5. 144 Finding the right font with InDesign’s font menus
      4m 35s
  12. 21m 28s
    1. 136 Fitting text to a specific size
      4m 45s
    2. 137 Quick tips for making a small PDF file size
      6m 9s
    3. 138 Sharing presets, workspaces, and custom shortcuts sets
      5m 17s
    4. 139 Making a multi-level numbered list
      5m 17s
  13. 17m 21s
    1. 132 Changing the shape of polygons and starburst as you draw or afterward
      4m 17s
    2. 133 Contextual text and images that you only want sometimes visible
      4m 55s
    3. 134 Creating nav points in a movie
      4m 31s
    4. 135 Adding effects to your rule above and rule below
      3m 38s
  14. 22m 44s
    1. 128 Making automatic jump lines
      6m 52s
    2. 129 Turning off allow pages to shuffle in order to separate facing pages
      3m 40s
    3. 130 Dealing with parentheses around text size
      4m 19s
    4. 131 Make a fill in the blank label for contracts and forms
      7m 53s
  15. 23m 25s
    1. 123 Allow text frame to resize with text
      2m 43s
    2. 124 Mapping Word styles to InDesign styles
      5m 48s
    3. 125 Make two automatically threaded text flows
      3m 37s
    4. 126 Saving for Web in InDesign
      6m 7s
    5. 127 Numbering rows in a table
      5m 10s
  16. 13m 50s
    1. 120 Making alternative body text styles for fast typesetting
      5m 4s
    2. 121 Making InDesign patterns with the free PatternMaker
      3m 45s
    3. 122 Creating pull quotes the easy way
      5m 1s
  17. 13m 56s
    1. 117 Selecting text with the InDesign keyboard dance
      2m 0s
    2. 118 Including a total page count in your page numbers
      6m 19s
    3. 119 Making a custom arrowhead
      5m 37s
  18. 21m 53s
    1. 112 Packaging images on the pasteboard
      3m 32s
    2. 113 Automatically updating figure references for books
      6m 9s
    3. 114 Adding Tool Tips to your form fields in InDesign
      3m 21s
    4. 115 Setting poetry, flush left, center on longest line
      3m 54s
    5. 116 Use bookmarks to navigate long documents in production
      4m 57s
  19. 18m 26s
    1. 108 Using the same keyboard shortcut for two different commands with the Context feature
      5m 22s
    2. 109 Making a text highlighter
      3m 33s
    3. 110 Updating an interactive PDF without losing work done in Acrobat
      5m 31s
    4. 111 Adding custom text at the beginning of each line automatically
      4m 0s
  20. 25m 3s
    1. 104 Converting text to outlines the right way
      4m 30s
    2. 105 Turning InDesign into a speed demon
      8m 31s
    3. 106 Working with MiniBridge
      5m 45s
    4. 107 Customize your QR codes
      6m 17s
  21. 16m 34s
    1. 100 Aligning Objects tips and tricks
      5m 10s
    2. 101 Applying corner options to any shape
      2m 17s
    3. 102 Converting footnotes to endnotes with a free script
      4m 49s
    4. 103 Making tab leaders pretty
      4m 18s
  22. 24m 41s
    1. 096 Managing changing pages with primary text frames
      5m 23s
    2. 097 Secrets of the Info panel
      7m 31s
    3. 098 Surprising ways to do a word count
      5m 29s
    4. 099 Placing an object where you want it with an object style
      6m 18s
  23. 30m 33s
    1. 090 Three great Object Styles for any designer
      8m 1s
    2. 091 Choosing alpha channel image transparency
      2m 25s
    3. 092 Adding and reading metadata for InDesign files
      3m 25s
    4. 093 Adding ALT tags to your images
      6m 59s
    5. 094 How to Place & Link a text frame's text but not its formatting
      7m 4s
    6. 095 Setting the baseline position of a caption
      2m 39s
  24. 17m 58s
    1. 086 Using Illustrator to create InDesign gradient swatches
      4m 49s
    2. 087 Building a simple grep style to change character size
      3m 45s
    3. 088 Exporting a grayscale PDF
      3m 16s
    4. 089 Three ways to cheat text outside of its frame
      6m 8s
  25. 28m 38s
    1. 082 Creating a custom cross-reference format
      13m 53s
    2. 083 Putting different-sized pages on a single spread
      3m 7s
    3. 084 Formatting prices with nested and grep styles
      6m 21s
    4. 085 Checking out the Gridify tricks
      5m 17s
  26. 19m 15s
    1. 078 The secrets of formatting objects with Find/Change
      6m 34s
    2. 079 Using ruler guides: 10 great tricks
      5m 3s
    3. 080 Converting a clipping path to a frame
      4m 24s
    4. 081 Adding a drop shadow to a single word inside a frame
      3m 14s
  27. 31m 18s
    1. 074 Working with sets in the content conveyor tool
      10m 40s
    2. 075 Running text along the top and the bottom of a circle
      3m 51s
    3. 076 Creating a list using the Table of Contents feature
      3m 25s
    4. 077 Quickly threading frames together and unthreading frames
      13m 22s
  28. 29m 32s
    1. 070 Ten uses of the Story Editor
      11m 39s
    2. 071 Moving an object: Ten ways!
      7m 18s
    3. 072 Understanding optical margin alignment (and the quote trick)
      4m 23s
    4. 073 Changing the shape of any frame with the pen tool
      6m 12s
  29. 17m 47s
    1. 066 Customizing the story editor preferences
      6m 4s
    2. 067 Setting the size of text exactly with this free script
      3m 28s
    3. 068 Using Gravity to simulate perspective
      3m 15s
    4. 069 Fixing the overflowing text frame problem in EPUBs
      5m 0s
  30. 23m 37s
    1. 062 Embedding images
      7m 43s
    2. 063 Adjusting leading inside a paragraph
      4m 31s
    3. 064 Placing one InDesign file inside another
      3m 58s
    4. 065 Creating bookmarks for PDFs
      7m 25s
  31. 29m 16s
    1. 058 Text wrapping
      6m 54s
    2. 059 Inserting pages: Understanding the Pages panel
      4m 20s
    3. 060 Copying paths between Illustrator and InDesign
      5m 14s
    4. 061 Automating Find/Change with the Find/ChangeByList script
      12m 48s
  32. 35m 12s
    1. 052 Five things that should be in every new file
      5m 19s
    2. 053 Forcing EPUB page breaks with invisible objects
      6m 21s
    3. 054 Understanding component information
      6m 39s
    4. 055 Creating running heads using section markers
      4m 16s
    5. 056 Making a font with InDesign using the IndyFont script
      5m 20s
    6. 057 Finding where that color is used
      7m 17s
  33. 23m 41s
    1. 048 Specifying an exact amount of space between objects
      5m 17s
    2. 049 Fixing last lines that are too short
      8m 16s
    3. 050 Creating web graphics from your InDesign artwork
      7m 20s
    4. 051 Using “No Language” to suppress unwanted hyphenation, spell-checking, and smart quotes
      2m 48s
  34. 21m 30s
    1. 044 Formatting fractions correctly
      8m 11s
    2. 045 Fixing unwanted hyperlinks in an imported Word file
      5m 57s
    3. 046 Inline graphic tricks with invisible paragraphs
      4m 21s
    4. 047 Ensuring the first line of every chapter starts in the same spot
      3m 1s
  35. 29m 56s
    1. 038 Updating a linked table without losing formatting
      5m 38s
    2. 039 Creating electronic sticky notes
      4m 49s
    3. 040 Moving master page items to the top layer for visibility
      2m 48s
    4. 041 Five guide tricks that will impress your coworkers
      6m 18s
    5. 042 Letting InDesign add the diacritics
      4m 21s
    6. 043 Using single-cell table cells for custom paragraph formatting
      6m 2s
  36. 28m 19s
    1. 034 Importing a custom dictionary
      7m 8s
    2. 035 Changing document orientation and page size
      6m 45s
    3. 036 Numbering instead of using auto page numbers
      6m 23s
    4. 037 Setting story order with the Articles panel
      8m 3s
  37. 37m 59s
    1. 028 Creating running heads using variables
      5m 1s
    2. 029 Live Caption tips and tricks
      8m 3s
    3. 030 Making professional drop caps
      10m 37s
    4. 031 Making two-state buttons in interactive documents
      5m 5s
    5. 032 Moving pages from one document to another
      3m 15s
    6. 033 Wrapping bulleted text around a curve
      5m 58s
  38. 23m 50s
    1. 024 Using layer comps in Photoshop files to show alternates in InDesign
      4m 19s
    2. 025 Adding custom HTML tags to EPUB/HTML exports
      5m 32s
    3. 026 Tracking down type issues with the composition highlighter
      8m 13s
    4. 027 Managing your InDesign panels
      5m 46s
  39. 21m 34s
    1. 020 Using multiple windows for comparisons
      3m 35s
    2. 021 Putting images on a stroke
      5m 23s
    3. 022 Making your own motion path
      5m 43s
    4. 023 Copying objects between Illustrator and InDesign
      6m 53s
  40. 23m 9s
    1. 016 Aligning numbered lists by decimal points
      3m 10s
    2. 017 Running a script
      9m 33s
    3. 018 When text disappears from a text frame
      6m 18s
    4. 019 Preview and Presentation modes (changing color, etc.)
      4m 8s
  41. 25m 19s
    1. 012 InDesign's Easter eggs
      5m 0s
    2. 013 Three cool GREP styles everyone can use
      7m 35s
    3. 014 A field guide to special characters
      8m 2s
    4. 015 Trashing the application preferences to solve weird behaviors
      4m 42s
  42. 26m 7s
    1. 008 Selecting through and into objects using cmd-click and Select Above/Below
      5m 46s
    2. 009 Some great tips and tricks for the Swatches panel
      9m 40s
    3. 010 Saving down for backward compatibility with INX and IDML
      5m 55s
    4. 011 Using the INX and IDML formats to fix problems
      4m 46s
  43. 23m 26s
    1. 004 The indispensible Quick Apply feature
      5m 29s
    2. 005 Customizing the Links panel
      6m 53s
    3. 006 Magically building graphs with the Chartwell font
      7m 43s
    4. 007 Using the Eyedropper tool to pick up character or paragraph attributes
      3m 21s
  44. 9m 6s
    1. 002 The hidden "auto-expand text" feature
      5m 51s
    2. 003 Letting InDesign do the math for you
      3m 15s

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