#19 Threading Text Frames
Right away you'll notice that all your text doesn't always fit into one frame. Plus, you may not want all your text crammed into a single frame. To solve this dilemma, InDesign lets you link text frames to each other through a process called threading. When text frames are threaded, one long block of text—such as a newspaper story or a series of one-paragraph catalog descriptions—flows from one frame to the next.
All the text within a series of threaded frames is referred to as a story. Working with a story—as opposed to multiple unthreaded text frames containing text—has many advantages. You can edit stories in the Story Editor; limit a spell check or search-and-replace function to only the text in a story; or select all the text in a story to reformat it, export it, or copy and paste it. All the advantages of working with stories make threading text frames particularly important.
You can thread two or more empty text frames, and you can thread text frames to an existing frame. You cannot, however, add text frames to a thread if they already contain text. To thread text frames, use the Selection tool or the Direct Selection tool.
Preparing to Thread
To start threading text frames, you need to be able to see and understand what you're doing. Choose View > Show Frame Edges to see outlines of the text frames. Then, choose View > Show Text Threads so you can see the links between frames. With the Selection tool, click a text frame to identify its in port in its upper-left corner and its out port in its lower-right corner ( Figure 19a ). To link text frames, you need to click the out ports and in ports.
Figure 19a The upper-left corner of each text frame contains an in port (1) and the lower-right corner contains an out port (2).
Threading Two Frames
To thread text frames, click the out port of the first text frame and then click the in port of the second text frame.
- To thread two text frames, click the Selection tool or the Direct Selection tool.
- Click the text frame you want to start threading from—this frame may or may not contain text.
- Click the text frame's out port in the lower-right corner; the loaded text icon displays
- Navigate to the second text frame, even if it's on another page of the document. When the cursor is over the text frame, the thread icon displays
- Click the thread icon on the second text frame's in port to thread the two text frames (
). In addition to clicking an existing text frame, you can also click and drag to create a new text frame that is threaded to the first frame.
Figure 19b To thread text frames, click a text frame's out port using the Selection tool. Then, click another text frame's in port.
- Notice the line (or thread) between the two text frames ( Figure 19c ). To link additional text frames, repeat this process.
Figure 19c A line between two ports indicates threaded text frames.
Threading is not limited to text frames. You can thread type paths to each other, thread a text frame to a type path, and thread a type path to a text frame. For example, you can flow a headline along a type path and then thread to a text frame containing the article.
Working with Threaded Text Frames
Once you thread text frames, you're not stuck with them—you can add frames within a thread, reroute threads, delete threaded text frames without losing text, and break threads.
- To insert a text frame into a series of threaded frames, simply click the out port of the preceding text frame and click in the new text frame.
- To reroute threads, click an out port and then click the in port of the frame to which you want to reroute the text.
- To delete a frame within a series of threaded text frames, select it and choose Edit > Clear. Text is automatically reflowed into the remaining threaded text frames. Deleting a text frame from a series of threaded frames does not delete the text within the frame. Rather, the text is flowed into the remaining frames.
- To break a text thread, double-click an out port or an in port. The thread between the two text frames will be broken, and the text after the broken thread will become overset (see Recognizing Overset Text sidebar).
The master text frame, specified in the New Document dialog box (File > New > Document), is automatically threaded from page to page.