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Understanding text frames

From: InDesign CS5 Essential Training

Video: Understanding text frames

While there are a few people who use InDesign for pictures only, most of us need to put text on our pages. Well, you can't have text without a text frame. But the good news is that there are a lot of ways to make text frames in InDesign. Let's look at a few of them. The basic method is to use the Type tool, the Type tool lets you edit text inside of a text frame, but it also lets you create new text frames. For example, if I want a text frame here on my page, I simply click-and-drag out an area. Now I have a rectangular text frame and I can start typing some text.

Understanding text frames

While there are a few people who use InDesign for pictures only, most of us need to put text on our pages. Well, you can't have text without a text frame. But the good news is that there are a lot of ways to make text frames in InDesign. Let's look at a few of them. The basic method is to use the Type tool, the Type tool lets you edit text inside of a text frame, but it also lets you create new text frames. For example, if I want a text frame here on my page, I simply click-and-drag out an area. Now I have a rectangular text frame and I can start typing some text.

Just simple as that. A second way you can make a text frame is by making any kind of other frame or shape in InDesign. For example, I am just going to grab this Graphic Frame tool and draw something out on the pasteboard here. Now this is technically a graphic frame. It has a big X in it, which means it's expecting a graphic to be put into it. But I can grab the Type tool and click inside of it. Notice what happens to the Type tool when I hover over it. Out here the Type tool cursor is square which means that it will make a new frame.

But as soon as I hover on top of a frame it becomes circular kind of like parenthesis and it means that if I click now it's going to put the type into this frame. In fact, if I do that it literally converts that Graphic frame into a Type frame. So it's changing from one type to another, and then I can just type some random text in there. So that's another way you can make a frame. Once again, any frame can turn into a text frame simply by clicking on it with the Type tool. In fact, I could even use the Pencil tool, just to kind of do some kind of crazy shape, doesn't even need to be closed.

Grab the Type tool and click on top of it and all of a sudden I have a text frame in this wacky shape. So anything can be turned into a text frame in InDesign. Now some people don't like that fact, they want graphic frames to stay graphic frames, they want weird pencil shaped things to stay weird pencil shaped things without text going into them accidentally, and that's okay too. You can set up InDesign so that Graphic frames and regular paths do not get turned into Type frames and the way you do that is by changing its Preferences.

So I'll go to the InDesign menu on the Mac or on Windows, it's under the Edit menu and I'll scroll down to Preferences and I'll choose Type. That just is a shortcut to go to the Type pane of the Preferences dialog box. And there are lots and lots of preferences in here. I am not going to go through all of them but I do want to point out one of them here called Type tool Converts Frames to text frames. And if I turn that off then I've changed the behavior in InDesign, I'll click OK, I'll make a new graphic frame here, just draw a big graphic frame right in the middle of the page here.

Grab my Type tool and look what happens when I place the cursor over it. It no longer changes into those rounded parenthesis. I can click on it and nothing happens. It will not convert that frame into a text frame. So I have changed the behavior of InDesign. Okay, there is one more way that you can create a text frame in InDesign and that is by importing text, either by copying it from some other program and pasting it in here when nothing is selected on the page, or by using the Place command. I am going to go into a lot of detail later on in the chapter about importing text from Word processors like Microsoft Word, but I'll just do the really quick version right now.

I'll go to the File menu, I'll choose Place or you can Command+D or Ctrl+D on Windows. I'll select my text file, it's an RTF file and I'm going to click Open and it loads up something called the Place Cursor, it gives me a little thumbnail description of the first few words of that text file right next to the cursor. And this Place Cursor can create a Type frame for me as well. If I hover on top of an empty frame you'll see that the cursor changes to again those rounded parentheses, and that means if I click it's going to fill some frame in the background with my text.

But I can still click-and-drag out an area, and if I click-and-drag out an area it automatically makes a frame, that size, and fills the place text into it. Now that you know how to get a Text frame let's take the next step, editing that text inside the frame.

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This video is part of

Image for InDesign CS5 Essential Training
InDesign CS5 Essential Training

135 video lessons · 89623 viewers

David Blatner
Author

 
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  1. 5m 50s
    1. Welcome
      1m 33s
    2. What is InDesign CS5?
      2m 26s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 51s
  2. 54m 49s
    1. Understanding the Application window
      6m 0s
    2. Navigating pages
      6m 39s
    3. Zooming and magnifying
      6m 57s
    4. Managing more than one document window
      3m 36s
    5. Setting rulers and measurements
      2m 9s
    6. Positioning panels correctly
      6m 28s
    7. Saving time by making workspaces
      3m 24s
    8. Setting the view quality of artwork
      4m 9s
    9. Adjusting View and Preview settings
      4m 56s
    10. Rotating pages and spreads
      3m 2s
    11. Displaying a new view with the New Window feature
      3m 29s
    12. Setting application and document preferences
      4m 0s
  3. 21m 31s
    1. Using the Tool panel
      8m 1s
    2. Learning and editing keyboard shortcuts
      6m 24s
    3. Working with spring-loaded tool shortcuts
      1m 17s
    4. Using contextual menus
      2m 51s
    5. Choosing menu items with Quick Apply
      2m 58s
  4. 45m 25s
    1. Creating new documents
      7m 28s
    2. Saving and reverting documents
      3m 41s
    3. Using multiple Undo and Revert
      4m 28s
    4. Setting margin and column guides
      5m 16s
    5. Using ruler guides
      8m 10s
    6. Bleeding colors or images off the side of the page
      4m 29s
    7. Saving objects in libraries
      4m 49s
    8. Exporting and importing page snippets
      4m 29s
    9. Saving for CS4 with IDML
      2m 35s
  5. 31m 18s
    1. Inserting, deleting, and moving pages
      7m 23s
    2. Changing page size
      6m 14s
    3. Adding page numbering
      3m 43s
    4. Changing page numbering with sections
      5m 58s
    5. Creating and applying master pages
      5m 20s
    6. Overriding master page items
      2m 40s
  6. 1h 21m
    1. Understanding text frames
      4m 6s
    2. Typing and editing text
      4m 36s
    3. Filling with placeholder text
      2m 38s
    4. Inserting special characters
      4m 43s
    5. Importing text
      7m 49s
    6. Threading text frames
      4m 1s
    7. Setting text frame columns and insets
      6m 32s
    8. Setting vertical justification and first baseline position
      6m 9s
    9. Putting text on a path
      6m 51s
    10. Using the Story Editor
      8m 43s
    11. Checking spelling
      7m 42s
    12. Using Find/Change
      9m 25s
    13. Tracking text changes
      8m 1s
  7. 49m 50s
    1. Importing graphics
      8m 11s
    2. Importing from Mini Bridge
      5m 27s
    3. Using the Links panel
      6m 34s
    4. Embedding links
      2m 37s
    5. Editing graphics in their original app
      3m 14s
    6. Fitting graphics to a frame
      6m 12s
    7. Taking advantage of image transparency and clipping paths
      4m 53s
    8. Adding live captions
      5m 56s
    9. Colorizing images
      2m 1s
    10. Turning image layers on and off
      4m 45s
  8. 46m 15s
    1. Selecting objects
      5m 32s
    2. Applying basic strokes and fills
      8m 18s
    3. Using advanced strokes
      3m 28s
    4. Adjusting transparency
      4m 38s
    5. Adding drop shadows
      6m 41s
    6. Applying feathering
      4m 25s
    7. Copying formatting with the Eyedropper tool
      4m 35s
    8. Finding and changing object formatting
      4m 50s
    9. Making polygons and starbursts
      3m 48s
  9. 22m 56s
    1. Making interactive documents
      2m 6s
    2. Adding hyperlinks
      5m 52s
    3. Building bookmarks
      3m 38s
    4. Creating buttons
      8m 57s
    5. Animating an object
      2m 23s
  10. 23m 29s
    1. Creating color swatches
      5m 52s
    2. The danger and power of unnamed colors
      4m 47s
    3. Building tint swatches
      2m 18s
    4. Creating gradient swatches
      3m 56s
    5. Applying gradients
      6m 36s
  11. 50m 0s
    1. Positioning objects with the Page Gap tool
      2m 53s
    2. Stacking objects
      2m 13s
    3. Creating and controlling layers
      3m 53s
    4. Managing objects in the Layers panel
      3m 37s
    5. Nesting objects
      2m 46s
    6. Editing frame and path shapes
      4m 6s
    7. Adding rounded corners and other corner options
      3m 57s
    8. Grouping objects
      3m 14s
    9. Locking objects
      2m 39s
    10. Aligning and distributing
      5m 43s
    11. Understanding text wrap
      8m 13s
    12. Using anchored objects
      6m 46s
  12. 18m 49s
    1. Duplicating objects
      5m 39s
    2. Rotating objects
      3m 3s
    3. Scaling objects
      3m 57s
    4. Mirroring objects
      3m 46s
    5. Using the Transform Again feature
      2m 24s
  13. 25m 52s
    1. Applying basic character styling
      7m 8s
    2. Applying advanced character formatting
      4m 54s
    3. Changing case
      2m 51s
    4. Understanding OpenType features
      3m 19s
    5. Using Find/Change for text formatting
      3m 18s
    6. Using Find Font
      4m 22s
  14. 45m 27s
    1. Applying formatting to a paragraph
      4m 14s
    2. Spanning a paragraph across multiple columns
      3m 5s
    3. Splitting a paragraph into multiple columns
      2m 1s
    4. Using drop caps
      3m 16s
    5. Adjusting text hyphenation
      3m 21s
    6. Fine-tuning justified text
      4m 19s
    7. Setting tabs
      5m 54s
    8. Aligning to a baseline grid
      4m 24s
    9. Controlling orphans and widows with Keep Options
      2m 39s
    10. Adding rules (lines) above or below a paragraph
      3m 14s
    11. Adding automatic bullets
      4m 39s
    12. Working with numbered lists
      4m 21s
  15. 31m 3s
    1. Creating and applying paragraph styles
      6m 34s
    2. Using character styles
      5m 43s
    3. Applying styles automatically with Nested Styles
      7m 19s
    4. Using object styles
      3m 27s
    5. Using Quick Apply with styles
      2m 49s
    6. Cleaning up a local formatting mess
      5m 11s
  16. 37m 0s
    1. Creating a table
      5m 54s
    2. Adjusting rows and columns
      6m 35s
    3. Formatting a table
      8m 5s
    4. Adding headers and footers
      1m 58s
    5. Applying table styles
      5m 32s
    6. Adding Microsoft Word and Excel tables
      8m 56s
  17. 10m 26s
    1. Checking your document with the Preflight panel
      2m 54s
    2. Creating a custom preflight profile
      4m 45s
    3. Checking color with the Separations Preview
      2m 47s
  18. 31m 7s
    1. Packaging for output
      4m 13s
    2. Using the Print dialog box
      10m 22s
    3. Exporting a PDF
      8m 47s
    4. Exporting an interactive PDF
      3m 59s
    5. Exporting text
      1m 36s
    6. Exporting SWF files
      2m 10s
  19. 1m 32s
    1. Finding more information and help
      1m 12s
    2. Goodbye
      20s

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