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Editing Text Wrap With the Pen Tool

InDesign offers five kinds of Text Wrap: No Text Wrap, Wrap Around Bounding Box, Wrap Around Object Shape, Jump Object, and Jump to Next Column.

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Most of the time, one of these will give you the right results for your layout. But once in a while, you might find that none of them gives you the exact look that you need.

Fortunately, the shape of text wrap is defined by a vector object that you can edit just as you would any other vector object in InDesign, with the Pen tool and the Direct Selection tool. Here’s how to manually edit a text wrap.

1. Apply a Text Wrap Option (something other than No Text Wrap).

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2. Select the object with the Selection tool (you should see a thin line around the object).

3. Select the Pen tool (or press P).

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4. Now you can click on an anchor point to delete it, click between anchor points to add a new point, or hold Option/Alt to access the Convert Direction Point tool and click to convert smooth points to corner points or vice versa, and drag to adjust control handles. Press Command/Ctrl to temporarily switch to the Direct Selection tool to move anchor points and reshape path segments.

With this kind of control over text wrap you can easily create a custom wrap shape like the one shown below where the text follows the shape of an object on the left side, but not on the right.

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Bonus tip: You can show/hide the Text Wrap panel with the keyboard shortcuts Ctrl+Alt+W on Windows or Command+Option+W on the Mac, and by choosing Window > Text Wrap. You can also invoke Text Wrap via Quick Apply, by pressing Ctrl+Enter/Command+Return, then typing “wrap”.

Eugene Tyson has over 17 years’ experience in the graphic design and print industry. Currently a senior graphic designer and prepress operator, he delivers InDesign training and also works as a consultant for various companies and individuals within Ireland. You can reach him via his dedicated Google+ community for InDesign users in Ireland. You can also follow him on twitter @Euge_Tyson
  • Love this tip … and great example of why/when you’d want to use it!

    I also use it to tweak how text is wrapping, like edit a portion of the path — move it out or in a bit, usually — so the adjacent text rewraps and looks better.

  • Eugene Tyson says:

    Thanks Anne-Marie!

  • Dario Failla says:

    I was just wondering if you could do that and you can!!! thanks lifesaver Anne-Marie :)

  • Mike Swan says:

    No doubt incredible tutorial. I was confused ago how to use the tool but you managed so easily that i got to know the working.

    Thanks

  • Eugene Tyson says:

    You’re welcome, Mike! Glad you found it useful!

  • Biju says:

    I’m not too familiar on In-design. But it can be the part of taking it soon… Very useful tutorial.

  • S Tiwari says:

    Thanks for providing such valuable information. Hope to have more post in future.

  • Chris Benge says:

    I’ve just made an irregular text wrap path around a shape inside an image. But when I update the image (changing it from RGB to CMYK in PhotoShop) the text wrap disappears. Have you any advice about how I can save the text wrap I’ve created so that it survives the image editing in PhotoShop?

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