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Tip of the Week: Balancing Columns

This tip was sent to Tip of the Week email subscribers on November 12, 2015.

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Did you ever resize a multi-column text frame to balance out the depth of the text? Sure, that’s the quick and obvious solution, but you’ll just have to do it again if the text is edited to be significantly shorter (unbalanced columns redux) or longer (overset city!). And it can be a pain to deal with if you have lots of unbalanced columns in a long document. A better solution is to have InDesign do the work for you automatically, no matter how the text content changes.

More after the jump! Continue reading below
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To set a text frame so columns stay balanced, select the frame and open the Text Frame Options dialog box by pressing Command+B (Mac) or Ctrl+B (Windows). In the General tab, select Balance Columns.


Voilà. Now InDesign will handle the balancing of text, so you can spend time balancing other stuff, like piles of rocks, your checkbook, your tires, or your breakfast.


It even works with threaded frames and non-rectangular frames.


Bonus tip: Use the Balance Columns option in object styles and master page items to control the balancing of text throughout your document.


Editor in Chief of CreativePro and InDesign Magazine. Instructor at LinkedIn Learning with courses on InDesign, Illustrator, GIMP, Inkscape, and Affinity Publisher.
  • Rich Milham says:

    Not a beginner but I find your tips helpful. Thanks!

  • Isadora says:

    Is there a way to balance columns across a spread so that the baseline is the same from one text frame to the next?

  • Gabriel Menezes says:

    Is it possible to balance the columns on the Paragraph Style settings too?

  • Ken Turnbull says:

    I set up a three column text frame on my master page and applied the object style to it as per your example. I inserted a table into the frame and threaded it between columns 1 and 3…leaving column 2 for another item. Threading works fine, but the balancing does not happen.
    Any ideas??


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