Join Chad Chelius for an in-depth discussion in this video Primary text frame and Smart Text Reflow, part of Creating an InDesign Booklet Using XML.
- If you recall, in earlier videos, I said that one document type that lends itself to the XML workflow is long documents that flow from one page to the next. This project that we're creating falls into that category, and because I want InDesign to do as much of the work for me as possible, I'm going to take advantage of a very powerful feature called the primary text frame. Now, I'm beginning this video with the PTF file already open and I just want to show you how we enable the primary text frame in InDesign, but I also want to show you the current situation that occurs when you don't have the primary text frame enabled.
So if I come up here to the Pages panel, you can see that I have two master pages up here, and if I drag the opener master onto page one, it looks, by all rights, that everything occurred the way I want it to. But, upon closer look, if I move this frame out of the way, and I hold down Shift, Command on Mac or Shift, Ctrl on Windows, and I click on the master behind it, you can see that the frame is still on the master page. So I end up, essentially, with two different text frames that could really be a problem later on down the road.
So I'm going to undo that and I want to show you how to enable that primary text frame. So I'm going to double-click on A master and I'm going to select this frame on the left-hand side. And you'll notice that there's an icon in the upper left-hand corner and you'll notice the tool tip that tells me that if I click this, it'll make this frame the master's primary text frame or text flow. So I'm going to enable that button. You can see the icon changed, and because these two frames are linked together, the icon appears on the other one as well.
Now, I'm going to go ahead and do that to the B opener as well. So go ahead and enable that primary text frame and that looks pretty good. So I'll go ahead and go back down to page one. Now, before I continue, I also want to point out that you can enable the primary text frame when you're creating a new document as well. So when you go to the File menu and choose New Document, you'll notice there's an option right here that allows you to create the primary text frame on document creation. So if you know you're going to be using that feature, go ahead and enable it when you're creating your new document.
So I'm going to cancel out of that. Now, let's take a look at the difference this time. So, again, here we have our frame and one of the challenges we run into here is that, because I enabled the primary text frame after the document has been created, this text is in a separate frame; we still have that situation. So what I'm going to do is I'm just going to reapply the A master to page one, and if we click on this frame once again, you can see that now we've got two frames again.
This is the original and this is the primary text frame. So I'm going to delete the original, and that way, whatever we do is going to be using the primary text frame. This is important. So I already have some content on my paste board, so I'm just going to paste that, and this is content that I just copied from another document. And you'll notice that, down here, we have the overset text indicator. So let's just take a look at how the primary text frame is working. If I drag the B opener onto that, it now takes the shape of that.
Let's double-check, make sure there's not another frame. No. And then I'll drag the A master back on there, and it takes the shape of that one. Again, no frame behind it, so it's actually using that frame from the master. Now, to take this one step further, I'm going to also enable another really powerful feature called Smart Text Reflow. And if I go to the InDesign menu on Mac or the Edit menu on Windows, and choose Preferences, Type, there's a section down here at the bottom of the dialogue box to enable Smart Text Reflow.
I'm going to go ahead and turn that on and this allows me to add pages either to the end of the story, the end of the section, or the end of the document. I'm going to choose End of Story for this project, and I'm going to limit it to the primary text frames, so it's only going to add pages if I'm utilizing my primary text frame. And then this is a personal preference: I'm going to leave the Delete Empty Pages check box enabled so that, if I remove some text, then it will remove any empty pages that are left over.
So I'm going to go ahead and click OK and that has now enabled the Smart Text Reflow. Now, I'm going kick-start that feature by simply reapplying the A master to page one. And when I do, that's going to kind of jump-start this feature, and you'll notice that InDesign simply adds as many pages as it needs to to accommodate all of the text that I have inside of that threaded set of frames. And so, now, for page one, I can apply the B master, so that will create my opener page.
And now you can see that I have other pages as well and I can apply the opener page to page three, since that's the Perennials page. And, moving on down, here's the Bulbs page. I can apply the opener to that page as well. So you can see that, utilizing the primary text frame along with Smart Text Reflow, our document will be able to ebb and flow as the length of our content varies from one issue to the next, and allows us to easily make adjustments to pages by applying a new master and having the content adjust as needed.
In these tutorials, Chad Chelius explains what XML is and then walks through the entire process in InDesign, from setting up the document and tagging the content, to cleaning the data and fine-tuning the layout. He also offers tips for saving your work in an InDesign template, to regenerate directories when new entries are added, update catalogs seasonally, etc. By the end of the course, you should be able to use this workflow to speed up data-heavy design jobs, big and small.
- What is XML?
- Transforming XML
- Displaying tag markers
- Setting up an InDesign document for XML import
- Creating styles
- Tagging content
- Mapping tags to styles
- Importing XML data in InDesign
- Applying master pages
- Creating a table of contents