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InDesign 101: Flowing Text

InDesign Magazine issue 59 coverThis article appeared in Issue 59 of InDesign Magazine.

Importing text seems simple: You choose File > Place (or press Command/Ctrl+D) and navigate to a text file to place it onto your page.

But once that place cursor is loaded, what are your options? What’s going to happen if you click, click and drag, click inside an existing frame, or click on the pasteboard? You’ve got a lot of decisions to make, and—as always—the more you know about these basic functions, the more productive you’re going to be in InDesign.

Remember that InDesign can import only plain text, RTF, or Word documents, so if you have some other format (such as Open Document Format), you’re going to have to convert it to something InDesign can read. And I’m not going to go into the options you get when you choose “Import Options” in the Place dialog box—that’ll have to be a topic for another day.

Instead, I’m going to focus on that place cursor. Here’s a rundown of all your options.

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Sandee Cohen is a New York City-based instructor and corporate trainer in a wide variety of graphic programs, especially the Adobe products, including InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, and Acrobat. She has been an instructor for New School University, Cooper Union, Pratt, and School of Visual Arts. She is a frequent speaker for various events. She has also been a speaker for Seybold Seminars, Macworld Expo, and PhotoPlus conferences. She is the author of many versions of the Visual Quickstart Guides for InDesign.
  • Daniel says:

    Thanks for the detailed run through.

    Wondering if you have a solution to this: I’m creating name tags for a few hundred people and have four tags/text frames on the master page (primary frames). I’d like InDesign to add new pages when I’ve loaded the cursor but when I do (through shift click) it creates new text frames on the pages – it doesn’t load the text into my existing frames.

    My workaround is to add the 50 pages or so required and then manually link them from page to page which is a bit onerous.

    Thank you.

    • erin says:

      I also would like an answer to Daniel’s problem. I am setting up addresses and have to link each page. Takes forever!

  • Fred says:

    Thanks! Well explained. Very helpful!

  • shadab husain says:

    if i have many text boxes with full of text.
    then how i link that all at a time.
    like 20 text boxes those are not linked each other.
    plead helpppp……..

  • Kafeel says:

    If the cursor is at right top and text is flowing from right top to the left bottom , how can we fix it ?

  • Kevin Scharnhorst says:

    The link for the image in Figure 12 is down.
    Very well written article with excellent use of images.

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