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There's a couple shortcuts for placing text in InDesign. Let's begin by creating just a standard document here. Let me go ahead and create a one page document with say three columns, just change the number of columns to 3 and we'll go ahead and click OK. So there I have it. Nothing fancy. I'm going to place a text file into this document and start flowing it into these columns. So I'm going to bring up my Place command, Command+D or File>Place, Ctrl+D on Windows. There in my Exercise Files folder, I have a Links folder, and there is a document here called LongText.rtf.
I'm going to go ahead and click Open. That puts that story, or that text file into my Loaded Place cursor, my Loaded Place Text cursor to be specific. So by default, if I just click into a column, if I wanted to start at the top of the column, I just want to make sure I line up the cursor with the top, because if I click in the middle, it doesn't fill the whole column. It starts it from where I click. Okay. So I'm going to undo that, and that will reload the Place cursor. I'm going to start in the upper left-hand corner and just line up the cursor with the corner there and click. By default, InDesign just fills that column with text and then stops.
Then it takes you back to your regular Selection tool. Of course, by now you all know that the red rectangle or the red little Plus sign there means that there are more text, there is still more text that belongs to the story. So that's the overset text symbol. I will go back to Fit to Window, Command+0. Okay so the textbook method then is if I want to place the rest of the text in other columns, I click on the overset symbol. That reloads the cursor with the rest of the story and then I can proceed to click where I want to create another text frame for the story to continue.
I just rinse and repeat and keep doing that and clicking where I want the story to go, where the next thread to go and so forth. So I'm going to go back and undo this twice, Command+Z, Command+Z, until I go back to just having the Loaded Cursor again. Now if I hold down the Option key or the Alt key on Windows, notice how the cursor changes slightly. So here's just the regular Place cursor. If I hold down Option or Alt, I get a special icon, this is the Semi- Autoflow command or the Semi-Autoflow cursor. So again I'm going to line it up with the upper left-hand corner, holding down the Option or Alt key and clicking.
What that does is it saves me two more clicks, instead of stopping and switching to the Selection tool, and then having to go back and click on the overset text symbol to reload the cursor with the rest of story, it does both those clicks for me. So Option+Click or Alt+Click with a loaded cursor places the story into the frame or column that I clicked into, automatically reloads the cursor, and keeps the Place cursor available for me, so I can just keep clicking where I want. So that's pretty cool. So I'm going to undo that twice to go back to where we started.
If I hold down the Shift key, you'll see that I get another cursor, and this is the Autoflow cursor, because the difference with Semi-Autoflow versus Autoflow. Let's go ahead and do that again. I will do Autoflow with Option or Alt and just keep clicking. But here is the problem. I've only got a one-page document, and the Place cursor reloaded, so there's obviously more text to be placed, but I need to go in there and create more pages now. So we'll undo this a couple times, Command+Z, Command+Z, Ctrl+Z, Ctrl+Z.This time I'm going to hold down the Shift key, and you can probably guess what this is going to do, Shift+Click with a loaded text cursor is going to flow the text into all the columns on the page automatically for me and if there is more text beyond the last page, it actually creates new pages for you and continues to insert the text into columns on that page until it gets to the end.
So here I get to the last page, page 3, and I click on the last text frame and there's no overset text symbol. You can use just regular Place. You can use Autoflow Place or you can use Semi-Autoflow Place, just by holding down the modifier keys and just getting different behavior depending on what it is that you're trying to accomplish. If you're just doing one long continuous flowing story, Autoflow works out great. But if you're doing more like on a magazine layout or a newspaper layout, where you've got multiple stories on the same page, Autoflow may not just work the way you would want it to, to accomplish what you're trying to do with that particular complex layout.
So Semi-Autoflow might work better for you in that particular situation.
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