This lesson is exclusive to members

Adobe InDesign CC - Essential Training

How to bring in lots of text into InDesign at once

Daniel Walter Scott

Download Exercise Files Download Completed Files



We’re awarding certificates for this course!

Check out the How to earn your certificate video for instructions on how to earn yours and click the available certificate levels below for more information.

You need to be a member to view comments.

Join today. Cancel any time.

Sign Up

Hi there, in this video we're going to start our long document project. It's going to be annual report, it's going to be really long. You can see the pages here. Let's have a quick little look at it, page after page after page.

We're going to start with looking at Primary Text Frames, which is probably the most important thing you need to do when you're working with long documents. And also the first thing you need to do, which is great. So, let's go and do that now.

So when it comes to working with a long document, the most important part is getting something called the Primary Text Frame set up. And to do it, you need to do it at the document creation time. And to do it, you need to do it at the beginning, when you create a document. You can't retrofit a document to make this work. It's just too hard, and actually I think it just can't be done.

So if you have an existing document, and you're finding it hard to work on, you can just copy and paste it into a new document that has the Primary Text Frame set up. So to do it, let's go to 'File', 'New', or hit this little 'New' button. We're going to be doing ours for 'Print'. We're going to be doing 'US Letter'. And over here we're going to have facing pages. Just because we're going to do a long document, side by side pages. And this is the magical button, called 'Primary Text Frame'. We're going to have 'Pages' as 1, 'Columns', we're going to have 2. And the 'Gutter' is going to be quite thick, just to match our style. Remember, mine's stuck to millimeters because I keep doing jobs in between. The 'Gutter' in this case is going to be 0.6, quite big. If you're using metric numbers, put in 16mm. So quite big. We're going to have '0.6 inches', and 'Columns', '2'. In terms of the 'Margins', all the way around. I'm going to break that little link, so they're all not the same. The 'Top' in this case is going to be '1.2' I'll go through the 'Metric' in a second. The 'Bottom's going to be '2 inches'. The sides are each going to be '0.8 inches'.

If you want to do this in millimeters it's 30 for the 'Top', 50 for the 'Bottom', and 20 for the 'Inside' and 'Outside'. Remember, this is just because that's the way I want this document to look. You saw it at the beginning of this video. 'Bleed', who remembers what Bleed is? That's right, that's an 8th of an inch. So, '0.125', we have to use decimal places. All the way around, or '3mm', if you're using millimeters. And 'Slug', we never use, let's click 'Create'.

So what is this Primary Text Frame? Well basically it's a pre-made text box that goes on your Master page. I want page 1 here, and I can click on this. There's a text box ready to go. And the cool thing about it is, if I just throw in some place holder text you can see, it's got columns already matched into it. And the Gutter already matches the one set up on my new document. So it kind of preloads it with the text box, which is really cool. Whereas in previous tutorials we've created these columns, and just used them a guides, and then we've gone through and grabbed the Type tool. And drawn out stuff, and then gone up here and switched to 2 columns. It saves a little bit time that way.

What's really cool about it, is that when I add text to it, it's going to generate as many pages as I need. And that is what's really helpful. Let's go and do that. Let's grab the 'Black Arrow', make sure we got nothing selected, click in the background. Go to 'File', 'Place'. You can copy and paste from Word. But I'm going to use this way, because I'm going to show you a little trick. When we bring it in, we go to 'Options', I'm going to click on 'Show Import Options'. Then click 'Open'. This little box opens up, and by default it's going to remove the Styles.

So now to make it easier for everybody I've gone through in Word, and made all the titles bold. Just because otherwise it's really hard to figure out where the titles are. I'm going to change it from 'Remove all Styles' to 'Preserve Styles'. And click 'OK'. Now, my cursor is loaded, I can stick it anywhere I like. I'm going to stick it on this page. And what we're looking for is, see my Pages panel up, I got one page, if I click on this, kick back, relax, watch what happens.

So it's generated all of our pages. And you can see there's quite a few here, there's nearly 30. Wow, there's exactly 30. So that is the role of the Primary Text Frame. It doesn't seem like much, but the alternative is this. I'm going to create a 'New Document'. I'm going to do cool things, just real quickly. It's going to be the same as the last one but I'm going to turn Primary Text Frame off. And this is what you have to do. So there's no text box here, I have to grab the text box and that's no big drama. It doesn't take us that long, right? And I have to match the amount of columns. So I have to go to 'Paragraph', '2 Columns'. Match the width, I can't even remember what the width was. I think it was 16mm. So it's matching that now. Awesome.

Now I've to go and place my text file; 'Place'. It's exactly the same, except that when I manually create that box, they're not linked to all the other pages. So I go, do the exact same thing. Happy days. You'll notice there's no extra pages generated. So what we have to do is this. We have to go down to 'Create New Page', and then we should go to this top page. It's called the output, it's this little red cross down here. If I zoom in, that's him there. And this red, that's bad, means that there's text. We know that the text is like 30 pages, but it only stops here. That means that although we can see one page, a lot of the other pages are hidden. And it's this thing here, where this output is overset. It just means that there's too much copy in it, and it's gone red, this little + button.

So what we can do is, we can go through and create another Type box. We do it in here. Make sure it's the right columns. Make sure it has got the right gutter. 'Command', I can click it, 16. And what I'm going to do is, 'Black Arrow' click on this, click on the red thing. Come down here, click inside this. Hey, I linked up. So that one now flows from here, and flows down to here. But unfortunately it's still overset. So you're going to have to go and link all of these pages. You'll cry. To make a new document, make sure it has got Primary Text Frame, and it will generate this stuff for you.

Another nice thing is, because it's on the Master page, watch this, if I double click the Master page, either the left or right Spread, I go to right Spread. If I halve it down here, I want to do something like this, can you see, all the pages adjust as well, they're well controlled. So it's generated more, and because there's not as much room on every page, it's generated some extra pages. Remember, it was at 30, now it's 38. It doesn't delete them though if I make this big. You have to manually go and delete them afterwards. You see, it's sucked back up to page 29 or 30, but there's all these empty columns. You can go into 'Preferences' and turn the 'Setting' on. That will delete them when empty. It's not on by default, it's not hard to delete them. You just got to select them all, and hit the big trash can.

Last thing we do, whenever you bring in a lot of text - I'm going to go from the Master page to page 1 - is that I brought it in from Word, and we say, preserve the Styles. So what happens is, when you preserve the 'Styles', it goes to 'Window', let's open up 'Styles', 'Paragraph Styles', and it's put in all these Styles from Word, and they'll always be probably 'Normal'. 'Normal' is their body copy font. So all I want to do is, have nothing selected, click on this guy, say, go away. It says, we're deleting it, but it's being used in this document, what would you like to do? I say, 'Replace with' my basic paragraph, which is like nothingness. 'Replace with' none, basically.

So it's gone through, and even done the normal formatting. You might have a lot in here. It might have brought through heading, heading 2, heading 3, normal; bunch of stuff. You have nothing selected, delete them all. And you'll be back to be able to adjust them as you see fit.

That's a long explanation of what a Primary Text Frame is. So basically, you just need to file a new document, and you got to tick that little box. Now we know how it works, and how we could use it.

Let's get into the next video where we start laying out this long document, and look at some of the other features that's going to make long documents super easy for you to do.