InDesign tutorial: How to link text boxes in InDesign

Continuing our beginner's guide to Adobe InDesign, in this tutorial we show how to link two text boxes so that text flows across the two. This enables you to spread a single article across two pages, or in text boxes either side of an illustration, and generally expands the range of InDesign projects you can take on.

How to link text boxes in Adobe InDesign
You may not wish to copy our text formatting, mind you

How to link text boxes in InDesign: Create a text frame

Open InDesign and, if necessary, create a new document (we explain how to do this in our previous InDesign tutorial, 'How to insert an image into an InDesign document').

The first part of the process is to create two text boxes. Select the Type Tool from the Tools bar (again, we talk about this in the first tutorial, but it's the floating, thin grey bar with about 20 tool icons). The Type Tool is a big letter T.

How to link text boxes in Adobe InDesign
If you click and hold the Type Tool icon you'll get the option to type on a path, but don't worry about that for the time being

Drag the cursor across the document to create the first text box (as with the picture boxes, you can select this box with the black arrowhead afterwards, and then move or resize it). Repeat below for the second text box.

With the Type Tool still selected, click on one of the text frames and type in some words. You can change the font and point size of the text you select (among other things) in the menu bar along the top of the screen, and change the colour in the Swatches palette. You can bring up the Swatches palette by going to Window > Colour > Swatches, or press F5.

How to link text boxes in Adobe InDesign
If you're interested, that font is called Mosquito Fiesta ITC

How to link text boxes in InDesign: Link text boxes

Now we'll link the two text boxes together. Select the black arrowhead and click on the first text box. You'll see little squares at the four corners and halfway along each side - clicking and dragging these will resize the frame - but also a yellow square near the top right of the frame and another slightly larger box near the bottom right. Click the one at the bottom right, and the cursor will change into an arrow with a few lines of text underneath.

Now simply click on the text box you want the first one to link into. (You'll notice that when the 'lines of text' cursor hovers over a legitimate target to link to, it changes into a chain.) Since there was already text in both boxes, the contents of the second box move into the first one - it's all part of one article now.

How to link text boxes in Adobe InDesign
The text from the second box retains its own formatting

How to link text boxes in InDesign: Fill the text boxes with words!

Now you can get on with the important business of writing. Type into the first text box as usual, and when you fill it up the words will carry on into the second text box.

How to link text boxes in Adobe InDesign
The copy may need work

To break the link between the boxes, just repeat the process: click the box at the lower right of the first box again, then click the second box.

If there was copy flowing across, you'll see it disappear from the second box, and the little box will turn red - this indicates what we call overmatter, or extra text that doesn't fit into the text box. You'll need to cut back the text, or make the first text box bigger - or link to another text box - to see it.

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