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Here's an issue that relates to text flow, and it's the way we construct our text frames. What's the difference between this spread, and this spread? Trick question; there is none. Visually, they are exactly the same, but they're constructed in different ways. This first spread is made up of one text frame that is divided into three columns. The first paragraph and the intro paragraph both have span attributes, so that they span, in the case of the first paragraph, the headline, all three columns; in the case of the intro paragraph, two columns, and then the text flows in single columns.
The second text frame, the text is divided into three columns, and the text is flowing into those three columns. We divide our columns either using this option on the control panel, the option the beneath sets the gutter width, or space between those columns, or we can come to Text Frame Options, and split the columns there. An alternative approach to this is to have each of the text frames be a single column, but be threaded; one frame, two frames, three, four, five, et cetera.
Is there any advantage to this? Generally speaking, no. It does arguably give you a little bit more flexibility, because I could, if I wanted to, select the second of these three columns, and adjust that column independently of the other two. That something I can't do here. If I pull up the bottom of the text frame, that's going to affect all three columns, although we could achieve the same look in a different way. So for the most part, I'd recommend this approach. If you do want to have your headlines span columns, then span command is this one right here on the control panel. You can also find it here on the panel menu, and you can also, and this is the best option of all, incorporate it into a paragraph style definition.
Right there I am saying Span All columns, and I'm also adding two picas of space beneath the span. In the case of this paragraph, we can see that this spans two columns. Just a word of warning about the span; they can sometimes cause problems. They're great, and this is a CS5 and above feature, by the way. If you're working with CS4 you do not have the option to use the span command.
If you try and apply the span within a text flow, as I'm about to do now to a subhead, things can get a bit weird. So if I come up to here, and as I Span All, that's the problem that we are going to get. And you can see, I've just typed in there, this is the text that precedes the subhead, but visually it no longer looks like that. It looks like this is the text preceding the subhead, and this is the text that follows the subhead. So be careful about where you use them.
You want to restrict their usage to the beginning of articles. So when would there ever be an occasion to use this method? Well if, for example, you are working with InDesign CS4, and you need a headline to span, that would be one example. But also, whenever you're working with an irregular number of columns, as I am here, then dividing your frame into what I would like to be three columns, but it's actually skipping a half column measure, that's not going to work.
What I've had to do here is divide this one into two, and then thread that with this one, which is a single column. Here we have two, we skip a half column, and then the text threads continue in this last column. So how will we do this? Well, I'm going to sort deconstruct this by deleting that text frame, and that causes all sorts of problems. We now have massively overset text caused by the fact that this paragraph, our headline, is constrained within a column that is far too narrow.
To manually span this headline across all of my columns, I can come and click on the Import to load the story from the beginning of my cursor, and then come above where my story currently starts, and click and drag to drag out a text frame, and then my headline will flow into the text frame. And if it's not big enough, then enlarge it, and I also want to move up a bit.
So that's how we can manually span columns, and if you are going to use this approach, this is a seven column layouts, with each of my text frames occupying two column widths, and this single column being used for pictures, whitespace, and although it's not being used for that here, it would also be used for captions. So if you like this sort of layout, then you do have to work a bit harder with threading you text frames, and spanning your headlines manually.
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