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Allowing text frames to grow and shrink

From: InDesign CS6 Essential Training

Video: Allowing text frames to grow and shrink

Text frames seem never to be exactly the size you want them to be especially when you need to add text at the last minute. Fortunately InDesign offers some great and easy ways to control the size of text frames quickly and even automatically. In this roux_flyer document from the exercise files I can see that this text frame is slightly too large. It doesn't technically matter that it is too large but if I'm trying to clean this up I may want to make this text frame a little bit smaller. And when I do so the text becomes overset, I made it too small.

Allowing text frames to grow and shrink

Text frames seem never to be exactly the size you want them to be especially when you need to add text at the last minute. Fortunately InDesign offers some great and easy ways to control the size of text frames quickly and even automatically. In this roux_flyer document from the exercise files I can see that this text frame is slightly too large. It doesn't technically matter that it is too large but if I'm trying to clean this up I may want to make this text frame a little bit smaller. And when I do so the text becomes overset, I made it too small.

So how big should the text frame be? I'll make it larger here and I'm going to use a feature that will fit the frame exactly to the size of the text. I'll go to the Object menu, choose Fitting and then choose Fit Frame to Content. You'll see that there's actually a keyboard shortcut there for that, but honestly I never use the menu item or the keyboard shortcut, instead I use the really cool shortcut of double-clicking on a corner or side handle, that's all you need to do. When I double-click on that lower-right corner handle it automatically fits the frame exactly to the size of the text.

Let's see this in action in a different way. I'll select this text frame in the upper-right corner, Option+Double-click on it or Alt+Double-click on Windows to open Text Frame Options, and I'll change the Inset Spacing to something like 9 pt. Now when I click OK, it adds nine points of space all the way around but the text frame is overset, so I'll make it a little bit larger. Well, now I have too much space at the bottom of the frame, how do I make sure that I have the same amount of space at the top and bottom? Just double-click on the lower-center side handle.

If I double-click on that side handle at the bottom, it snaps it up so that it's exactly the right amount of space to fit the text in. Not too much, not too little, and now I'm sure that I have the same amount of space at the top and bottom of that frame. The problem of course is when I need to edit the text in here. If I need to come in here and add some more text I know that it's going to become overset again and I'll have to make it larger and then fit it again, and so on. What I really want is for the text frame to grow or shrink accordingly so that it always fits the text inside of it.

And now introduced in InDesign CS6 is a feature that does just that. That also was in the Text Frame Option dialog box, so I'll Option+Double-click or Alt+Double-click and click on the Auto-Size tab of the Text Frame Options dialog box. Right now Auto-Size is set to Off, I'm going to change it to Height Only, that means it'll make the text frame taller or shorter based on how much text it has in it. Next I need to tell InDesign what to anchor, whatnot to move with this text frame. Right now it is set to the top, so the top will stay where it is and the bottom will move down or up based on how much text I have in it.

I'm going to do just the opposite, I want to anchor the bottom point and have the top of the text frame grow or shrink. I can also choose a Minimum Height by turning this checkbox on, which means InDesign should never let this frame get smaller than a certain height. I'll set it to something like 10 picas. I'll click OK and it doesn't look like anything has changed, but if I double-click inside the text frame and then start typing, I'll just hit Enter and then start typing and typing and typing and typing, you'll see that the text frame grows automatically. If I remove that text it shrinks again, that text frame will grow and grow until it's pushed all the way off the pasteboard and only then will I get overset text.

I'll do the same thing to this text frame that says REINVENTED at the bottom. I'll place my cursor in it or I could choose it with a Selection tool, doesn't matter. I'll open the Text Frame Options dialog box with the Command+B or Ctrl+B on Windows, change Auto-Size to Width Only, because I don't want to change the height, in this case I want to change the width. And I'm going to say anchor it in the center, keep the center of the text frame where it is and change the left and right sides. I'll click OK and I'm going to put the word super at the beginning. You can see that both the left and right sides of this text frame move and all the text fits, it won't overset.

If you're creating an InDesign template for someone else to use, making good use of these auto-size frames can be so helpful. It minimizes the chance of overset text and it maximizes their efficiency.

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This video is part of

Image for InDesign CS6 Essential Training
InDesign CS6 Essential Training

113 video lessons · 81620 viewers

David Blatner
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 23s
    1. What is InDesign?
      1m 23s
  2. 2m 38s
    1. Welcome
      1m 0s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 38s
  3. 21m 19s
    1. Getting started
      3m 33s
    2. Adding or editing text
      3m 23s
    3. Adding or replacing graphics
      4m 31s
    4. Moving objects around
      4m 55s
    5. Printing and creating a PDF
      4m 57s
  4. 26m 6s
    1. Exploring the application window
      6m 25s
    2. Navigating and magnifying pages and objects
      6m 24s
    3. Setting rulers and measurements
      2m 35s
    4. Working with panels
      3m 58s
    5. Setting the view quality of artwork
      2m 31s
    6. Adjusting view and preview settings
      4m 13s
  5. 27m 52s
    1. Creating new documents
      7m 39s
    2. Saving and reverting documents
      4m 2s
    3. Saving for CS4 and CS5 with IDML
      2m 24s
    4. Setting the margin and column guides
      4m 29s
    5. Putting ruler guides on the page
      5m 7s
    6. Bleeding colors or images off the side of the page
      4m 11s
  6. 23m 37s
    1. Inserting, deleting, and moving pages
      4m 32s
    2. Changing page size
      4m 38s
    3. Creating and applying master pages
      5m 18s
    4. Overriding master page items
      2m 43s
    5. Adding page numbering
      2m 22s
    6. Changing page numbering with sections
      4m 4s
  7. 52m 47s
    1. Understanding text frames
      3m 38s
    2. Typing and editing text
      4m 48s
    3. Inserting special characters
      4m 1s
    4. Importing text
      3m 47s
    5. Threading text frames
      3m 12s
    6. Setting text frame columns
      4m 31s
    7. Setting text inset and vertical justification options
      3m 48s
    8. Allowing text frames to grow and shrink
      4m 5s
    9. Putting text on a path
      5m 50s
    10. Using the Story Editor
      5m 10s
    11. Checking spelling
      5m 12s
    12. Using Find/Change
      4m 45s
  8. 28m 19s
    1. Importing graphics
      8m 20s
    2. Using the Links panel
      7m 17s
    3. Editing graphics in their original app
      3m 10s
    4. Fitting graphics to the frame
      5m 1s
    5. Taking advantage of image transparency and clipping paths
      4m 31s
  9. 35m 49s
    1. Selecting objects
      5m 2s
    2. Applying basic strokes and fills
      5m 6s
    3. Colorizing images
      1m 59s
    4. Adjusting transparency
      4m 4s
    5. Adding drop shadows
      3m 33s
    6. Using other transparency effects
      5m 15s
    7. Copying and formatting with the Eyedropper tool
      5m 59s
    8. Finding and changing object formatting
      4m 51s
  10. 18m 34s
    1. Creating color swatches
      4m 33s
    2. Understanding the danger and power of unnamed colors
      5m 46s
    3. Creating gradient swatches
      3m 53s
    4. Applying gradients
      4m 22s
  11. 15m 27s
    1. Editing frame and path shapes
      5m 8s
    2. Adding rounded corners and other corner options
      4m 8s
    3. Making polygons and starbursts
      1m 59s
    4. Creating text outlines
      4m 12s
  12. 37m 56s
    1. Positioning objects with the Gap tool
      3m 54s
    2. Stacking objects
      2m 5s
    3. Creating and controlling layers
      5m 27s
    4. Managing objects in the Layers panel
      3m 33s
    5. Grouping and locking objects
      3m 10s
    6. Nesting objects
      3m 23s
    7. Aligning and distributing objects
      4m 20s
    8. Understanding text wrap
      5m 51s
    9. Using anchored objects
      6m 13s
  13. 26m 16s
    1. Duplicating objects
      5m 37s
    2. Collecting, conveying, and placing content
      8m 58s
    3. Rotating objects
      2m 22s
    4. Scaling objects
      4m 21s
    5. Skewing objects
      1m 8s
    6. Mirroring objects
      3m 50s
  14. 24m 19s
    1. Applying basic character styling
      7m 31s
    2. Applying advanced character formatting
      4m 28s
    3. Changing case
      3m 23s
    4. Using Find/Change for text formatting
      5m 3s
    5. Using Find Font
      3m 54s
  15. 32m 51s
    1. Applying formatting to a paragraph
      4m 4s
    2. Spanning a paragraph across multiple columns
      2m 10s
    3. Splitting a paragraph into multiple columns
      1m 52s
    4. Using drop caps
      3m 26s
    5. Setting tabs
      7m 36s
    6. Adding rules (lines) above or below a paragraph
      3m 23s
    7. Adding automatic bullets
      4m 10s
    8. Numbering paragraphs
      6m 10s
  16. 19m 47s
    1. Creating and applying paragraph styles
      6m 10s
    2. Using character styles
      4m 45s
    3. Editing and redefining styles
      2m 20s
    4. Using object styles
      2m 47s
    5. Applying styles with Quick Apply
      3m 45s
  17. 39m 59s
    1. Creating a table
      4m 29s
    2. Adjusting rows and columns
      4m 36s
    3. Adding and deleting rows and columns
      3m 0s
    4. Formatting a table
      4m 32s
    5. Formatting cells
      6m 2s
    6. Applying table styles
      5m 33s
    7. Placing graphics in cells
      3m 1s
    8. Importing Microsoft Word and Excel tables
      8m 46s
  18. 16m 45s
    1. Building a multi-document book
      7m 27s
    2. Creating "continued on..." jump lines
      3m 51s
    3. Constructing a table of contents (TOC)
      5m 27s
  19. 23m 8s
    1. Exporting EPUBs
      6m 12s
    2. Creating an interactive PDF
      12m 49s
    3. Building a Flash SWF
      4m 7s
  20. 28m 1s
    1. Checking a document with the Preflight panel
      5m 26s
    2. Packaging for output
      3m 34s
    3. Using the Print dialog box
      4m 52s
    4. Printing a small booklet
      2m 46s
    5. Exporting a PDF
      7m 56s
    6. Exporting text
      3m 27s
  21. 1m 25s
    1. Next steps
      1m 25s

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