What is Threading?
Threading is the process of tying multiple text boxes together so that when edits are made in one text box, the overflow will go into the next one in the threaded sequence. This automatic overflow means that there is no need to redo an entire page simply because you added a sentence in one text box; InDesign will automatically adjust everything for you. This feature can be especially handy when dealing with large posters, since text boxes have an upper size limit of 20 x 20 inches and may not be able to handle all the text on a poster.
To thread text, simply type into your text box until you feel it is too large. Then, with the selection arrow, shrink the text box in size. You will notice that a red sign will appear on the bottom selection bar. This icon indicates that text is hiding below it.
Click on the icon. A cursor will appear that looks like text with a black corner border. Position this cursor where you want the text to thread to, and click (or click and drag for a specific text box size). The remaining text will flow out, and you will see at the top a play box , indicating that a visible text box is hooked to it at the top. The first text box will show a play box at the bottom of the box.
To undo threading, simply expand the first text box with the selection arrow until it is a size that will accommodate all the text. You can also click on either play box and then the text frame that it is linked to. This will break the link between the frames.
Threading Large Amounts of Text
Sometimes you may want to paste multiple pages of text into a document. Before you begin, you need to make sure that you have the master page layout designed. Then, use File > Place, D (Win) or D (Mac), to import a text file and do one of the following to thread the text:
To flow text semi-automatically:
click (Windows) or click (Mac OS) on a page or frame. The text should flow one column at a time, as in manual flow, but the loaded text + icon will automatically reload after each column is placed.
To flow an entire story automatically:
With the loaded text icon displayed, hold down as you do one of the following:
- Click the loaded text icon in a column to create a frame the width of that column. InDesign will create new text frames and new document pages until all of the text is added to the document.
- Click inside a text frame that is based on a master text frame. The text will automatically flow into the document page frame and generate new pages as needed, using the master frame's attributes.
Note that pasting Microsoft Word documents into InDesign has been known to produce "strange effects." It's best to paste from a plain text source instead.