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Quick Tip: An Introduction to Threading Text in InDesign CS5


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This post is part of a series called Beginners Guides to InDesign.
Quick Tip: Importing Multiple Graphics using InDesign CS5
Quick Tip: An Introduction to the Page Tool in InDesign CS5

Threading text within InDesign can hugely improve the experience of editing and amending copy while working on layouts. The process of threading text is linking two or more text frames allowing text to flow from one separate frame to another. Lets take a look at the basics.

Step 1

Create a new document by going to File > New > Document and set the number columns to two or more and the remaining values to suit.

Step 2

Select the type tool (T) from the tool box and draw a text frame over two columns by clicking and dragging over the area you want to cover.

Step 3

Go to Type > Fill with Placeholder Text.

Step 4

Now reduce the text frame to one column. Do this by selecting the Selection Tool and dragging the middle handle that sits on the vertical edge of the frame until it snaps to one column.

Step 5

You will notice that a red box containing a crosshair has appeared at the bottom right hand side of the frame. This indicates that there is text overflowing and missing from view. Now draw another text frame as detailed in step two.

Step 6

Using the Selection Tool, click once on the red box (out-port) in the first frame. You will notice that the cursor will change it's appearance to a thread icon and a small preview paragraph will appear, the text is now ready for threading.

Step 7

With the cursor still loaded hover over the second text frame, the cursor will change to a link icon. Click once and watch as the text is flowed into the second frame.

Step 8

At this point you might still be left with an indicating red box on the second text frame. Instead of creating a new text frame with the text frame tool, select the Selection Tool, click on the red box and click and draw a frame with the loaded cursor. The new frame will contain the reminder of the text.

Step 9

To view text threads go to View > Extras > Show Text Threads.

Viewing threads can be useful when working with text heavy documents.

Step 10

To undo a thread use the selection tool and double click on the in-port of the text frame you wish to unthread.


Learning the basics of text threading will help to keep layouts and text frames simple and easy to edit. Remember to try it out on your next project.