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Well, 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 lots of ways to make text frames in InDesign. The basic method for making a text frame is to use the Type tool. You choose the Type tool from the tool panel and simply click and drag. Notice that as I'm dragging I get the measurements of that frame and a little gray field to the right of my cursor that helps me create just the size I want.
When I let go over the mouse button that text cursor's flashing inside the text frame ready for me to start typing. There are several other tools for making frames as well. Down a little bit farther on the tool panel you'll see several frames here like the Rectangle, Ellipse, and Polygon Frame tool. These technically make graphic frames, that is, if I choose this Rectangle Frame tool and draw out of frame, you'll see a big X in it, that means it's supposed to have a graphic inside of it. But you know what, InDesign doesn't care.
You can easily change one frame into another simply by grabbing the Type tool and placing the cursor on top of it. Now notice what happens to the cursor as I move on top of the frame. Out here when there's no frame at all, I get a kind of cursor that says I could make you a frame if you want, but if I move the cursor over on top of this frame that's empty, I get a different cursor. This cursor with its dotted kind of curved parentheses like lines indicates that when I click it's going to turn this frame, this empty frame, into a text frame.
So it's always a good idea to watch that little cursor. It's going to tell you what's going to happen next. When I click, it changes it into a text frame, and then I can start typing. There is also a set of frame tools down here and these frame tools technically make unassigned frames. That is, they are shapes, they are not really designed to have text or graphics inside them, but once again, if I click and then use the Type tool and click on top of it, it turns it into a text frame. Now, some people don't like it that their graphic frames and unassigned frames get changed into type frames, text frames so easily.
Well, the good news is Adobe gave us a preference so that you can turn that off if you don't like it. What you do is you go to the InDesign menu, choose Preferences, on Windows this Preference is under the Edit menu, but either way you go to the Type pane, the Type pane of the Preference dialog box has a checkbox called Type tool Convert Frames to Text Frames. If you turn that off, then your graphic frames and your unassigned frames will no longer change into text frames accidentally. I happen to like that feature that it turns into text frame, so I'm going to leave it turned on, but it's completely up to you.
And I'm going to clean up my pasteboard here by dragging over all of these with the Selection tool and then just pressing the Delete key. Now there is one more way that you can make a text frame in InDesign, and that is to import a text story, like a Word file or an RTF file. To do that I'm going to go to the File menu and choose Place, I'm going to go into much more detail about placing stories later on in this chapter, but for right now, all I'm going to do is select this Word document, click Open, and you'll see that it loads the Place cursor with the story.
At this point I could just click and it'll make a frame and load the story into it. Or -- let me undo that with a Command+Z or Ctrl+Z on Windows, I could just click and drag, and once again, I can control exactly how large that frame should be. The frame is made and the story is placed into it. Now that you know how to get a text frame, let's take the next step, editing the text inside that frame.
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