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InDesign CC – Threaded Text Frames

If you happen to be working in Adobe InDesign on a magazine, newsletter or even a large book divided into chapters, it is a good idea to only thread together the text frames belonging to a single article or chapter. Depending on the size of the publication, threading together all the text frames in the layout could get overwhelming and possibly lead to text in the wrong place.

Managing Text Flow

Inevitably, text can end up flowing over several text frames and you will want to efficiently manage frames to ensure that each adjusts as you edit text contained within the frames. Threading your text through the frames will ensure this relationship flows smoothly so you can control and work efficiently with numerous pages of text in an organised fashion.

Threading Text

Once text becomes overset , we can connect (thread) what remains on to additional text frames in the document. To do this you will need to collect the text from the “outport”, indicated by the red plus sign (text overflow)  on the bottom right corner of the text frame. Click once to “pick up” the overset text, then either click and drag to create a custom size text frame, or click on an existing frame.

To view in real time how text treading works with each frame, go to View > Extra > Show Text Threads (or CTRL + Alt + Y / Command + Option + Y). This will clearly display the connected relationship between the InDesign text frames. It is worth switching on the text threads view, especially for a large publication, so as you click on a connected frame, you will see the threads and how they relate to each text frame.

InDesign Threaded Text Tutorial

A. IN PORT at the beginning of a story, top left of text frames.
B. OUT PORT indicating the thread to the next frame, bottom right of text frames.
C. Connecting text thread.
D. IN PORT indicating thread from the previous frame, top left of text frames.
E. OUT PORT indicating overset text (more text than visible) by the red plus sign.

Getting Started Threading Text in InDesign

Once you’re ready to import or place text, use the following command: File > Place… or CTRL + D / Command + D. From here select your text or Word document. Press Open and there are now four main options that control how text is placed.

  1. Manual Text Thread InDesign Manual Text Flow – Adds text frames one by one and the user must click on the red “overset text” icon InDesign overset text each time to pick up overset text and to continue flowing text.
  2. Semi Auto Flow Text InDesignSemi-Auto Flow – Hold down the Alt key (Windows) or Alt / Option (Mac OS) and then click and drag to flow the text. It works in a similarly to manual flow, except with the Alt/Option key held, the pointer becomes a loaded text icon at the end of each frame until all the text is flowed. This extra step keeps the red plus sign from appearing each time or having to click on it.
  3. Auto Text Thread InDesignAuto-Flow – The fastest way to flow text by holding down the Shift key. This feature will add pages and text frames automatically until all the text is flowed into the document. If any margins feature in the layout, the text frames will automatically attach to the margins.
  4. Fixed Page Text Thread InDesignFixed-Page Auto Flow – This method flows all text I do the document, adding frames as necessary without adding extra pages. If any text remains, it is overset (as indicated by the red plus sign). To do this, hold down Shift+Alt (Windows) or Shift+Option (Mac OS) when you click to flow the text. You can keep hold of the overflowing text and click away into as many frames as you like by simply holding the ALT key when placing text from the loaded cursor onto the page.

Adobe InDesign Threaded Text Tutorial

Threading Text with Adobe InDesign

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