Adobe InDesign CC: Text Flow

Updated: a day ago

You may have noticed that sometimes there’s a little red cross thingie at the bottom right-corner of a text frame. Perhaps you’ve wondered what it is, and what it’s for? Well, here’s the info.

What are the circled bits in the image?

At the top left corner of the frame is a small empty square. That’s called the ‘in port’. The box in the bottom right is called the ‘out port’. If all the text fits in the frame, and it’s not coming in from somewhere else or continuing out somewhere else, both those boxes will be empty. But as soon as the text no longer fits in the frame, everything changes.

So what happens?

If you grab the frame handle at the bottom, in the middle, and pull up...when you let go you'll see a small red cross in place of the empty 'out' port. This means that there's more text, but not enough room in the frame to display it.

With the Selection tool, click once on the red cross. Don’t click and hold, don’t click and drag: just click and let go. Bop! Like that. The cursor appearance will change, indicating that it now holds the rest of the text. Then, don’t just click somewhere – it’s your design, so you tell it where to go: click and drag somewhere else and draw another text frame, where you want it, and the rest of the text will flow into it.

The two frames are now linked. Click and hold on the handle in the middle at the bottom of frame 1, and wait for a couple of seconds. Then, slowly drag up – and you’ll see a 'live' reflow of the text between the two frames. If you delete one of the frames, you didn't delete any of the text. It just re-flowed into the frame left behind.

There are quite a few moments in InDesign when you should 'click and hold' for a moment, instead of 'click and drag'. Like the above example, it can mean the difference between seeing a 'live preview' of what you're about to do, or...not.

So, that's what the little red cross means – and that's how to use it to create flow between text frames, and therefore between pages. It's seriously useful. If InDesign couldn't handle this, I wouldn't be able to use it to create books.

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