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In this series, David Blatner and Anne-Marie Concepción, co-hosts of the web's top resource for InDesign tips and tricks, InDesignSecrets.com, share some hidden and sometimes surprising workflow tips that will make working in InDesign more efficient and more fun. The course covers built-in timesaving features such as Quick Apply and auto-expanding text, but also little-known tricks, such as using the eyedropper to copy and paste character and paragraph text attributes and making accurate selections by selecting through or even into objects.
New techniques will be added to the collection every other week, so check back early and often. Find more tips and tricks at indesignsecrets.com.
I have a template here for a book that I'm laying out. And I'm going to go ahead and just import some texts for a couple chapters. So I'll go to the File Menu, choose Place and then grab my chapters in this RTF file. I'll click Open and InDesign gives me this little alert saying something's wrong with the font. I honestly don't know why it says that. It really shouldn't, so I'm just going to ignore it and say OK. So InDesign has loaded up my place cursor, and I can just click. And you'll see that InDesign creates a frame and flows the text into it. At the bottom, I see my overstep mark, meaning that there's too much text to fit in this one frame.
So instead, I'm going to undo that Cmd+z, or Ctrl+z on Windows. And I'm going to hold down the Shift key. And the Shift key forces InDesign to load the entire story in, even if it means adding additional pages and making text frames for it. And you can see, all those additional pages showed up here in the Pages panel. If I jump to page three by double clicking on it, we'll see that chapter one begins right here on page three. Now, I have two different master pages. One from my regular document pages and one from my chapter openers. So, of course I'm going to apply my chapter opener to page three.
I'll just drag that down, drop it on top of page three. And you'll see that very little happened, indeed. In fact, the running head disappeared. The footer changed a little bit. But the main thing that I wanted to change, which is for this text to be pulled down to the margin, did not happen. Why? Well, this is the way InDesign works. InDesign has always worked in a way that when you move from one master page to another, the objects on those pages do not change. That's really frustrating to a lot of us who have to do long documents like books.
The good news, however, is that that's changed in InDesign CS6. There's a new feature in CS6 called Primary Text Frame. And it's not entirely intuitive how it works. But it is very cool. Let me show you. First I'll undo this, just press Cmd+Z or Ctrl+Z a couple of times to go back to where I was, before I imported that. And I'm going to create some primary text frames. Now if I were creating a new document, by going to the File menu and choosing New Document. I could do this easily simply by turning on the Primary Text Frame check box.
That's all you need to do, it'll make Primary Text Frames for you. But in this case, I already have a template that I'm working with. And I need to add my own primary text frames. So this is how you do it. I'll double-click on the master page, to jump to it. I'll create a new text frame on my master page, just by dragging out with a type tool. I'll get one over on the left side, one on the right side. Looks good. Now I'll switch back to the selection tool, and I need to thread these two together so that when text flows in, it'll flow from the right to the left and left to the right and so on.
The way you do that is by clicking on the out port on the left side, and then just clicking over here anywhere on top of the right page text frame. You'll see that text thread lines show up there. Now, so far, all of this is the same as it's been in previous versions. The new thing in InDesign CS 6 is this little icon in the upper left corner. That icon lets you determine whether it's a primary text frame or not. If I click on it, you get this little black arrow, and that means this is a primary text frame.
Because I threaded these together, it will automatically make this a primary text frame, as well. Now let's go ahead and make the primary text frames on Master Page B. I'll double click on Master Page B. Jump to it. The frames are already there, you'll see the top line up here just dotted. That's the frame for Master Page A. It's just not in the right place. So I need to Cmd+Shift, or Ctrl+Shift click on it, that overrides that frame from Master Page A, so I can edit it here on Master Page B. I'll drag this down, and then come over here and drag this one down.
There we go, and you can see that now the primary text frames on master page B are slightly different than they are on master page A. That's all I really need to do. Set them up differently on A and B. Now let's see it in action. I'll jump back to the first page in my document by double-clicking on it in the Pages panel. And I'll go ahead and place that RTF file again. There's that crazy alert again. I'll ignore that. Now, because I'm using primary text frames, I don't have to Shift click on this, like I did before.
All I have to do is click. And because the smart text reflow is turned on by default in CS6, it will create a bunch of pages and fill them for me. For example if I jump down here to page four and five you see all the text is down here. I'll go back to pages two and three, and you'll see the beginning of our chapter. Alright, now what happens when I drag master page B on top of this third page? Perfect. The running head disappears, the footer changes, and the text frame changed as well. It actually swapped out one text frame, the big one, for the other one, which is smaller.
And it could do that because I told InDesign what the primary text frame was on both those master pages. Now, if your first thought is well, that's what it should have done all along, then you're absolutely right. That is the way that it should have worked all along. But it hasn't until now, in InDesign CS6. So, I'm very pleased that Adobe has finally added this feature into InDesign. You don't have to use primary text frames in InDesign, but when it comes to managing where your text goes when the master page changes, it's awesome.
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