Join David Blatner for an in-depth discussion in this video Thread text frames, part of InDesign CC 2018 Essential Training.
- [Instructor] It's time to talk about threading text frames together. Now, I've opened up this magazine file from the exercise files folder, and I can see that I have two frames, one that has text in it, and one over here that's empty. Now, down here in the lower right corner of the frame that has text in it, I can see a little plus sign. It's a little hard to see, because it's overlapping the margin guide. But, that red plus sign is an indicator that this text frame on the left is overset. There's more text in this story that can fit into this frame.
Now, we could make the text frame bigger of course, but in this case, we want the text to flow from this frame on the left to this empty frame on the right. This is called "threading." You thread from one text frame to another. Now, you'd think that you'd use that Type tool to accomplish this. After all, you're dealing with text. But in fact, it won't work with the Type tool. Just a strange quirk of InDesign. Instead, you have to use the Selection tool. When you have the text frame selected with the Selection tool, you'll notice in the upper left corner of your text frame a little white box.
It's very similar to the one in the lower right corner, in this case, one that has that red plus in it. I'm not talking about the corner handle, I'm talking about the one right next to it. And those little squares are called "ports." There's an in port and an out port. All text flows into the in port on the left and out from the out port on the right. So, to get text out of this text frame, I'm going to click once on the out port with my Selection tool. Now, notice that when I do that, it loads the place cursor.
And this place cursor lets me thread from one frame into another. Or, it'll even let me create a new frame. Now, notice how the cursor changes depending on where I place it. Up here, where there's no other frames, I get these sharp angular edges to the cursor, kind of like a corner, and that indicates that it's going to thread into a new frame. All I have to do is click or click and drag, and it would make a frame and thread the text into it. But if I move the cursor down just a little bit on top of this empty frame, I get a completely different cursor.
Now I see a little chain icon. And this means it's going to thread from that frame into this empty frame here. That's what I want, so I'm going to simply click, and you'll see the thread happen. Now this story is threading from the frame on the left to the frame on the right, but it's kind of hard to tell that, there's no visual indicator, so here's what I'm going to do: I'm going to go up to the View menu, come down to Extras, and then I'm going to turn on Show Text Threads. When I do that, I get this little colored line that goes from the out port down here to the in port up here.
Now, what if I need to make this text frame on the right smaller? I'll use the Selection tool and drag the bottom handle up. Up to about here. Well, now I see we have that overset text again. So, let's thread that to another frame. I'll click that out port and it loads the place cursor. Now, I should point out that while this place cursor is loaded, I could navigate to a different page. Like, if I wanted to thread from this page to the next. But in this case, I'm just going to click once down here.
And InDesign makes a frame for me that fills from the margin guide to the column guide. Now I know I have all the text in the story, because the out port down here is empty. No overset mark. So, we threaded these frames together. But, what if there was a mistake? What if we didn't really want to have them threaded and we want to break it? How can we do that? Well, it's really easy. All you have to do is double-click on one of the ports. Doesn't matter which, the in port or the out port. In this case, I'll select that frame and then double-click its in port.
When I do that, it breaks that chain and you can see the text frame on the left is now overset once more. By the way, I should point out that some people call this "linking" text frames. Which, kind of makes sense because that cursor looks kind of like a chain link. But, linking actually means something different in InDesign. Linking means maintaining a link to files on your hard drive, so that if they change, then InDesign changes too. And I'm going to be talking about linking in much more detail in a later chapter. So, remember, whenever you're talking about text flowing from one frame to another, always call it "threading."
- 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