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Create Threaded Frames to Easily Flow Text in Adobe InDesign Layouts

When tasked with designing a print publication such as a book, magazine or catalogue, the last thing you want to do is make the process more difficult when importing text into frames.

Workflow can be drastically improved with flowing and linking frames by creating threaded text frames when working on big print design projects.

In this tutorial, I will go over how to apply threaded text frames to your layout and demonstrate how seamless this process makes flowing large bodies of text. Once you discover this tip, you'll find yourself using it consistently.

I will also demonstrate how to build your own colour palette swatch using the Color Theme Tool, which allows designers to create their own custom swatch themes.

Create Threaded Text Frames

  1. Click the Type Tool and draw a frame on the workspace, only when you left click and drag, also tap on the right arrow key on your keyboard once to increase the column thread.

  2. You can continuously tap on the right arrow key to add the more columns to your frame. Don't worry, if you added too many columns, tap on the left arrow key to draw back.

  3. Go to File > Place to choose a text file to import and you will notice the type will flow nicely in the threaded frames that you created.

Now, what if there is overset text and you want to carry over the copy to another frame? If you have text that will jump from one page to another or multiple pages, repeat the same process to add threaded frames. Only, before you import the text, link all the threaded frames by going to the bottom right-hand corner of the text frame and clicking the out port icon (little white square) and clicking the next threaded frame to link the two.

You also have the option to import the text and link the threaded frames after to jump the copy to another page(s).

You will notice in the layout I designed for this tutorial, I created color palettes on each page. I accomplished this by sampling colours from the images using the Color Theme Tool.

Color Theme Tool

  1. Place an image on your page by going to File > Place to import an photo or simply drag an image from your desktop or CC Library.

  2. Select the Color Theme Tool. It can be accessed in the Eyedropper Tool flyout or using Shift + I as a shortcut.

  3. With your Color Theme Tool, click inside the image you want to sample colors from. This will build a color swatch theme for you.

  4. Next to the colour lineup, InDesign allows you to select a different theme — Colorful, Bright, Dark, Deep and Muted.

  5. When you are satisfied with your colors, click the icon to the right of the theme selector to to add the swatch group to your Swatches Panel.

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