Adobe® InDesign® Creative Cloud® Intermediate: Beyond the Basics


Lesson Info

Primary Text Frame & Smart Text Reflow

The last thing I want to show on master pages, and this is the primary text frame. I'm just going to open that up so we have that. When I create a new document, one of the options is primary text frame. And what a primary text frame is, is it just is something that sits on the master page, and you can have one primary text frame per master page and it kind of says, this frame, this is super important. There's something special about this master text frame. I'm gonna put text in it on the individual pages but when I change it on the master page, it will change on every page that you've applied it to. You can have regular text frames as well on the master page. So in this case, on this master page, let me actually turn on my edges here. I have nothing on this page except one text frame that's here set to size. So if I were to bring text in or I wanted to be on this master page that has A applied to it, I can either bring text in, and when I do and roll over this frame, it will automatica...

lly highlight and I can drop text into it, or I can shift command or shift, control click on that text frame and put some text in there. So I'm just gonna fill it with a placeholder text. So see it's still kind of connected to the master page but not exactly. But what I have, when I look at master page A and I select this item, I've got this little icon. If I roll over it, it says, this is the master page's primary text frame. And you can only have one, like I said, per page. You can have all the other text frames you want on a master page, but only one primary. Everything else will look a little different. In fact, if I click on this, it makes it not a primary text frame. I'm gonna put it back so it is one. And the reason that's important, if I have this text frame here and I decide to change to a different master page, I'm gonna look at this one. This one does not have a primary text frame applied to it. It's a wide page, because you can have different size pages in the same document. So this one's actually wide and I have two text frames here. It's actually a linked text frame, but it's not the primary one. It's just a regular text frame on the master page. So what I'm thinking if I have this document and I change it to this master page with those two text frames, well now my text should fit in those two text frames, right? I'm gonna drag this down and change it, and it says, go ahead and use the master page. It didn't. I still have this big text frame and I can see where those text frames are sitting in the back. That's not what I was hoping would happen. I was hoping it would suddenly fit into frames like this. This master page, when I select this master text frame, it is the primary text frame. So what we're doing is we're going to take a page that has a primary text frame here and a different setup that also has a primary text frame by telling it that's the important one. It says; oh, you'd like to take this and format it like this page. Great, let's do that. So I'm gonna grab that one and we're gonna just drag it on top. It's gonna ask me, do I wanna... Because I have different sizes, do I want to change it? Yes, let's use the master page. And when I do that it changed to fit in that and of course I ran out of text but look what happened. I didn't touch anything. As soon as I did that, not only did it add this page, but now, because I have smaller text frames, I had too much story. It created all new pages with that same layout to fill out that same text that was there. And that's because I have smart text reflow turned on. I believe it's on by default. It's in your preferences file, and I'm gonna come down to, I believe it's in type, yes, smart text reflow. And I can limit it to primary text frames if I want. I tend to do that. So if I'm changing the primary text frame and I have too much text, it will add pages as necessary. And it adds them to the end of the story. And here's another option we turned on: delete empty pages. So if I shorten up that story, it will delete all the pages at the end that doesn't need anymore, because there's no need for those extra text frames. So that's on. That's what happened here. So right now I have five pages. I'm gonna go to like page two and I'm gonna go ahead and delete a whole bunch. Let's delete this whole item that's here and I'm gonna delete from page two, and page five should disappear entirely. Let's give it a second. Let it think. There it is. Page five is gone because it no longer needs that it filled out the end of four and it was done. It didn't need anything else with that. So the primary text frame is great for flowing items into. So we say, okay great, let's create a new document. Primary text frames. We say okay. By default that primary text frame wants to sit to the size of your margin but maybe that's not really what we want. Let's just shorten this up. So on the master page I'm just shortening it up. Maybe I want everything to fit here. I'm gonna go to the document page. I can't really select it. Actually I can because it's a primary one. I'm going to just use a place command. We're gonna place some text in here. Let's do this one that's not too super long. I'm gonna roll over it, you notice it changes to that rounded bracket because suddenly it's sitting on top of that frame on the document. I'm just gonna click it and wait and suddenly, instead of the overflow text, because we're using the primary one in smart text reflow, it went ahead and created a text frame on every page until we didn't need anymore pages added. So if you can see if you have a lot of text and you're bringing it in, I'd say use the primary text frame. I almost always use that because then if I decide I don't like the way this fits or I have a whole new master that I need to change, I can just come in here, I can change this master. When you do that you'll even be able to see it change down in the thumbnails that are down here. The primary one I use more often than a regular one. Now you can do this with a regular one, but it's when you change masters, the primary one is the only one that will actually make it fit to the new master page item that's there. Does that make sense? So that's kind of master pages. That's called smart text reflow. Like I said, I believe it's on by default. I don't know if delete extra pages is checked by default. So go into your preferences to fix that.

Adobe® InDesign® Creative Cloud® enables you to create rich documents and layouts that combine graphic elements, images, and text. Advance your design skills with Adobe® InDesign® Creative Cloud® Intermediate: Beyond the Basics with Erica Gamet.

In this class, Erica will help you tackle complex design projects and share best practice techniques in Adobe® InDesign® Creative Cloud®

You’ll learn how to:
  • Manage multi-page documents and use master pages
  • Automate your workflow and save time
  • Select character and paragraph styles
You’ll learn about advanced exporting options and she’ll offer tips on taking advantage of the extensive selection of assets in the Creative Cloud® Libraries.

If you’ve mastered the basics are are ready to advance your design skills, don’t miss Adobe® InDesign® Creative Cloud® Intermediate: Beyond the Basics with Erica Gamet.

Level: Intermediate/Advanced. Recommended prerequisite: Adobe® InDesign® Creative Cloud® for Beginners

Software Used: Adobe InDesign CC 2015.1



  • As an absolute beginner to InDesign, I purchased both of Erica's classes and man was she helpful. I highly recommend this course to anyone unfamiliar with the software to give them some great footing. Thank you Erica and thank you Creative Live!
  • I am using Erica's videos to supplement my "Classroom in a book series" on Indesign. The beauty of this is that I can go through the sections of the book and when I get to something, like Master Pages, that I can't quite follow I jump to the video. I gain the understanding I need by listening and watching Erica and then go back to the book and finish the project with a lot more under my belt. The book gives me real examples to complete but does not give me that "personal" touch. Thanks Erica for being my personal coach. This has worked perfectly.
  • This was really helpful, although *very* fast paced! But gave me a lot of great ideas to take my InDesign use to another level. Thanks!