Join David Blatner for an in-depth discussion in this video Span and split paragraphs, part of InDesign CC 2018 Essential Training.
- [Instructor] We looked at how to split text frames into multiple columns in an earlier chapter. For example, here in my Magazine file from the Exercise Files folder I'm going to jump down a couple of spreads by pressing Option + Page Down twice. Now I'll select this text frame and I'm going to go to the Object menu and choose Text Frame Options. I can see right here inside the Text Frame Options dialogue box that this frame is split into two columns. So that's great, I'll click OK. But now, I want this heading to span across both columns.
Now I could select and cut that paragraph out and then put it into a different text frame, one that's only a single column wide. But there's a much easier way to do this. Here, let me show you. I'll switch to the type tool by double clicking inside this frame. Then I'll select all the paragraphs that I want to effect. Now I'm going to head up to my control panel and I'm going to look for a feature called Span Columns. I don't see it up here because my screen isn't wide enough right now, but on your screen you might see it. Or, if you don't see it like me, you can still get to this feature by opening the Control Panel menu and then choosing Span Columns down here.
When you choose that up comes the Span Columns dialogue box. And now, open up the Paragraph Layout pop up menu and choose Span Columns. Next you can choose how many columns do you want it to span, two, three, four? In this case, I only have two columns in my text frame so it doesn't really matter which I choose. I'll just leave it set to all. And now I'll click OK and you can see all of those paragraphs are spanning the two columns inside my text frame. Now, I should point out that this Span Columns feature only works in multi-column text frames.
If this were two different text frames that were threaded together then Span Columns would not work. Okay, now I want to show you this Span Columns feature works in the middle of a frame, too. Like this frame over here. I'm going to click my cursor inside this heading, and then I'll go back to Span Columns and I'm going to turn on Span All. Now what happens isn't immediately obvious, so let me explain. When you use Span, it breaks all the other text into zones. So, for example, I have this zone up here at the top which is some text that I already set to span the columns.
Then I have another zone here which is just this little bit of text. It's set to two columns because the text frame itself is set to two columns. Then I have a third zone which is the headline that I just changed, that goes all the way across. And finally, I have the story down here which is, once again, set to two columns. So, that looks pretty good, but the Span Columns feature is also hiding another feature called Split Columns. So, see how I have this bulleted list down here? Let's select that and zoom in on it.
Command + 2 or Control + 2 on Windows. Now this is fine, but it's not a very good use of space because the column is so wide. I wish I could split that list into two little, mini columns. And that's what Split Columns lets me do. So, once I've selected those paragraphs I can go back to the Span Columns feature here inside the Control Panel menu. This time, though, instead of choosing Span Columns I'm going to choose Split Column. I'll just leave set to split into two columns and I'll click OK.
Now you can't really see the columns, but obviously the text is flowing from the left all the way down, and then into the right side. In the old days, before we had a Span Columns feature, you had to go through all kinds of crazy work arounds to span or split columns. But now, it's just a quick menu item away.
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