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Linked text

From: InDesign CS5.5 New Features Overview

Video: Linked text

Regardless of what type of document you are building, you'll often encounter situations where you need to reuse text elements in several places within the same document. Of course it's easy enough to simply copy and paste those elements to use where they are needed. But that can be time consuming and can lead to mistakes because when you change the content in one area, you have to change the content in each area, or copy and paste all over again. InDesign CS5.5 really comes to the rescue here. Using the new link text feature, you can repurpose text content in multiple areas of a document. And when you update the parent version of the text, all of the children or other text elements update as well.

Linked text

Regardless of what type of document you are building, you'll often encounter situations where you need to reuse text elements in several places within the same document. Of course it's easy enough to simply copy and paste those elements to use where they are needed. But that can be time consuming and can lead to mistakes because when you change the content in one area, you have to change the content in each area, or copy and paste all over again. InDesign CS5.5 really comes to the rescue here. Using the new link text feature, you can repurpose text content in multiple areas of a document. And when you update the parent version of the text, all of the children or other text elements update as well.

Let's take a look at how link text works. I'm beginning this video with the brochure.INDD file open on my computer. And I'm going to go ahead and navigate to page two in my document because at the bottom of the second column, I have a frame of text that I'd like to reuse in another area. Now just so you can see this, I'm going to zoom in, by holding Cmd+Spacebar on Mac, or Ctrl+Spacebar on Windows. And clicking, and dragging around this area. And you can see here that I have a block of text that has some basic information about registering for some new classes that are offered by this institution.

So what I'm going to do is I'm going click on this text frame, and I'm going to come up here to the Edit menu, and I'm going to choose place and link story and your going to see that right now I have the loaded place gun and InDesign is asking me where I would like to put a copy of this text. So, I'm going to go ahead and come down here to my page navigation area and I'm going to navigate to page three in my document. And I'm just going to hold down the space bar on my keyboard and click and hold with my mouse.

And I'm just going to navigate using this power zoom feature to the bottom left of the page. And then I'm simply going to click and drag to Create the Text Frame for this linked text. And you can see now that I have an exact copy of the original text that's on page one. Now, you'll notice right now that the text is wrapping slightly differently because the frame is a different size. But what I'm going to do is, I'm going to go to the Type menu and all the way down at the bottom I'm going to choose show hidden characters. And if I turn off preview mode I'm going to see that in this text there is a forced line break or a soft return that was put in that original text. That is forcing this text to break in the same way. And you may or may not want that.

So, here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to click on this text frame and press the delete key on my keyboard to delete that text frame. Press Cmd+0 to zoom back out, Ctrl+0 on Windows, and I'm going to navigate back to page two. So, once again, I'm going to click on this Text Frame. This time, what I'm going to do is I'm going to come up here to the Edit menu and I'm going to hover over the place and link story option. Before I choose that option, I'm going to hold down the Shift key on my keyboard, before I choose it and then when I click on that option you're going to notice that its going to bring up the link options for the story. Now this Link Options Dialog Box has three different options that allows me to control how this linked Text Frame is going to behave. So first of all, it gives me the opportunity to update the link when saving the document.

The second option is to warn if the link update will overwrite local text edits. So that means if I made changes in one, it's going to warn me about the other. And then the third option, as you can see, remove forced line breaks. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to choose that third option, and then I'm going to go ahead and click OK. And once again I have my loaded place gun. I'm going to navigate to page three in my document. And I'll zoom in, once again holding Cmd+Spacebar, or Ctrl+Spacebar on Windows.

And I'm going to click and drag, to draw a text frame, at the bottom of this area here. And now you'll notice that the text is not breaking at that area because it removed that forced line break. Now you may notice here that I'm missing a space, and that is because the original text has a forced line break but not a space. That's easy enough to fix though. First of all let's take a look in the Links panel to see what's going on here. And you will notice that with this text frame selected that there is a link that's highlighted in the Links panel.

And this is essentially showing me the text that is currently a child of the original text element. Now just like any other link in InDesign, with this link selected. I can click on the first button, which is go to link. And that's going to highlight the link that's being used. But what I can also do is I can click on this fourth button, which is edit original. And what this allows me to do is come in here, and make modifications to my text. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to switch over to my Type tool, and put a space before that forced line break. That way it will allow the text that is a child of this main frame, to be updated correctly.

In addition, we have a new phone number here, so I'm going to make a slight change. The new number is 888 Snow Camp. And in addition, we've got a new email address that we're using. We're now using info@KSC for kids snowboard camp.org. Now, you're going to notice that, in the Links panel, we have a modified icon which means that, the link to this master text frame has been updated. So I'm going to click on that link.

I'm going to click this second icon, which is go to link. 'Cuz it's going to show me the new text. And you can see that the text has not been changed in this frame. However, I can either double-click on this warning icon, or I can click the Update Link button at the bottom of the Links panel, and when I do so, it's going to update with the new content. Notice that the forced line break is not here, it stripped that out, but it put the space in there. The phone number has changed as well as the email address. Now what I'm going to do I'm going to make a slight modification to this frame. So I'll grab my Selection tool and what I'm going to do is I'll click on the Edit corners button and while holding Shift Option Cmd on Mac or Shift Alt Ctrl on Windows I'm going to change the radius of this corner. I'm going to do the same thing to the lower right.

And I want about a 0.25 radius, that's pretty close. Same thing up here. And you can see that we now have rounded the corners of this frame. What I'm going to do is I'm going to fill this frame with this dark blue color, think I'll change the text to paper. In addition I'm going to select this text, and change the font to MyriadPro-Bold.

I'll go back to my Selection tool and one last thing I'm going to do is apply a little bit of a text inset to this frame. So, while holding the Option key on Mac or the Alt key on Windows, I'm going to double-click on this frame and I'm simply going to increase the text inset while the preview is turned on to about an 8th of an inch. When I click OK, we can see that this new text Is formatted differently than the older text. Now, I should point out a couple of things.

In my Links panel, when I click on this linked text, I can go to the panel menu, and I could choose link story options after I've placed the text as well. So if I decided later on that I wanted to update this, I can do so very easily. In addition I should point out, that if I go to the original frame, we can make a slight change. And then if I come up to this link, and I go back to the link that this is coming from, you see that this is now modified.

And once again, if I update the link now, it's going to give me a warning, because I'm going to lose some of the formatting. So I'll go ahead and click Yes. And honestly, if you're going to do a lot of this, you want to make sure that you apply a paragraph or character style to your text as well. I'm going to change the text to MyriadPro-Bold, and I'm going to go ahead and change the text color to paper to make it look the way that I want it to appear.

Link Text, I often wonder where this has been all of my design career. As you can see, when you need to repurpose text elements in multiple areas within the same document, it doesn't get any easier than the new Link Text feature in InDesign CS 5.5. Try it for yourself, and I'm sure you'll agree that you can't live without this feature any longer.

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InDesign CS5.5 New Features Overview

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Chad Chelius
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