Join David Blatner for an in-depth discussion in this video Set text frame attributes, part of InDesign CC 2018 Essential Training.
- [Instructor] If you've ever framed a photograph, you know that it's all about managing where the image sits inside the frame, how far from the edge, and so on. Well, text is the same way, and you can control where InDesign positions text inside of a frame using the Text Frame Options dialog box. Let me show you. I'm going to select this text frame up here, and I'll zoom in to 200% by pressing Command + plus or Control + plus a few times. Now, you can see that the top of this text is pressed right up against the edge of the frame, which is kind of ugly.
I'd like to move it away from the edge of the frame just a little bit. To do that, I'm going to go to the Object menu and choose Text Frame Options. Or you could press Command + B or Control + B on Windows. The Inset Spacing section in the middle of this dialog box lets us control how much space there should be. It's sort of like padding or margins between the edge of the frame and the text. Now, if you want to have different amounts of spacing on each of the four sides of this frame, then you'd want to click this little button in the center to unlink the fields.
But in this case, we actually do want to have the same amount of space on all four sides, so I'll leave it turned on. Now, I'm simply going to change one of these fields, like the top field to, say, 10 points. As soon as I press the Tab key to jump to the next field, you can see that it updates. I can see it happening on my page, because the Preview checkbox is turned on in this dialog box. You might notice a very thin line inside the frame. That's the text inset. Now, this looks pretty good left to right, but I'd still like the top to be brought down a little bit, so it looks more centered in the frame.
I could just increase the top inset amount, but there's another way to do it. Down here, the Vertical Justification setting lets us tell InDesign where the text should sit inside the frame. Right now, it's aligned to the Top of the frame. Top means the top of the text is aligned with the inset at the top of the frame. But if I change this to Bottom, then you can see that the bottom of the text snaps to the bottom inset, and all the extra space goes to the top. We could also change this to Justify.
With Justify, the top line is pinned to the top of the frame, and the bottom line is pinned to the bottom of the frame. Then InDesign adds extra space between each of the lines in the story. Now, in this case, I just want the text to be centered, so I'll choose Center. OK, that looks pretty good, so I'll click OK. Now let's take a look at this text frame down here. Let's zoom out a little bit by pressing Command or Control + minus. See, one of the main problems with text frames is that they never seem to be the right size.
Like, see how there's all this extra space down here at the bottom of this text frame? Maybe I'll drag this bottom handle here to make it smaller. But now I see, there's an overset mark here because I made it too small, and there's overset text. How big should this text frame be? Well, I'm going to use a feature that will fit the frame exactly to the size of the text. Actually, I'll show you two ways to do it. First, I could double-click on this handle on the bottom side of the frame. That tells InDesign to fit the frame to the content, not too big, not too small.
By the way, that also works for both text and graphic frames. Of course, the problem is, if I have to edit this text later, I'd have to go in and change the frame size again. What I really want is for the text frame to grow or shrink accordingly, so that it always fits the text inside of it. Fortunately, InDesign can do that. Let's head back to the Text Frame Options dialog box. But this time, I'm going to click the Auto-Size tab up here at the top. Now, right now, Auto-Sizing is set to Off, so I'm going to change this to Height Only.
That means it'll make the text frame taller or shorter based on how much text it has in it. Next, I need to tell InDesign what to anchor, that is, what not to move within this text frame. Now, right now, it's set to the center. But in this case, I'm going to set it to the top by clicking on that icon. That way, the top will stay where it is and the frame will just grow downward. All right, I'll click OK and it doesn't look like anything's changed. But if I double-click to switch to my Type tool, and then select some text and then delete it, you'll see that the text frame updates automatically.
It moved up to here. Or, if I just start typing some gibberish in here, you'll see that it grows automatically as well. That text frame will grow and grow until it's pushed all the way off the pasteboard, and only then will I get overset text. I want to show you one last Text Frame Options feature. I'm going to jump down to my second spread just by scrolling down here, and right now, we only have one column on this page. But I'd like this text to fill both of these columns. Now, ordinarily, I'd probably just make another text frame and then thread them together.
But I want to show you a different way. First, I'll click inside this frame. Note that you can use either the Type tool or the Selection tool when you want to use Text Frame Options. Then I'll go back to the Text Frame Options dialog box. Now, I'm going to change the number of Columns. I'll set this to two Columns, and I'll click OK. You can see that when I do that, it split that single frame into two different columns. They're really narrow there, so let me go ahead and make this wider. I'll grab my Selection tool and drag this across the page.
Now you can see it looks almost right. I just need to adjust the amount of space between the two columns. I'm going to open that dialog box once more by pressing Command + B or Control + B on Windows, and I'm going to change the Gutter size. That's the amount of space between each column. I'll try 66 points, and hit Enter or Return to close the dialog box. There we go. Now, as you can tell, the Text Frame Options dialog box has a ton of features jammed into it, because text frames are such an important part of InDesign layouts.
With all these Text Frame Options, InDesign really helps you strike the right balance between creativity, flexibility, and a tightly controlled design.
- Creating a new layout
- Inserting pages
- Adding text
- Inserting graphics
- Applying color and transparency
- Drawing and editing frames and paths
- Formatting objects
- Formatting text
- Creating styles for uniform formatting
- Building tables
- Adding links and interactivity
- Printing and exporting InDesign documents