Import Text into an InDesign CS5 Publication

You can import text into an InDesign Creative Suite 5 publication you’ve created or edited using other software. Importing edited text into InDesign is a typical workflow activity because using dedicated text-editing software (such as Adobe InCopy or Microsoft Word) to correct manuscripts before layout is often easier.

  1. Choose File→Place.

    The Place dialog box opens. Choose an importable file (such as a Word document, an InCopy story, or a plain text file) by browsing your hard drive.

  2. Select a document to import and click the Open button.

    The Place Text icon, the cursor arrow, and a thumbnail image of the text appear. Move the cursor around the page to the spot where you want the upper left corner of the text frame to be created when the document is imported.

  3. Click to place th e imported text.

    This step creates a text frame and imports the text.

If you select a text frame before importing text, the text is automatically placed inside the text frame — so, in this case, you wouldn’t have to use the cursor to place the text. You can move the text frame anywhere on the page after the text is added or resize the frame, if necessary.

Control text flow when placing text

Control the flow of the text you are placing by using simple modifier keys while placing text. Start by choosing File→Place, selecting the file you want to import, and clicking Open.

  • Hold down the Shift key, and when the loaded cursor turns into a curvy arrow, click the document. The text is imported and automatically flows from one column to another or from page to page until it runs out. InDesign even creates pages, if needed, to hold all the text.

  • Hold down the Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac) key. Then click and drag a text area. (Do not release the Alt key or Option key!) As you continue clicking and dragging additional text frames, your text flows from one text frame to another until you run out of text.

If you check the Show Import Options check box in the Place window, a second window appears in which you can choose to remove styles and formatting from text and tables. This action brings in clean, unformatted text to edit.

Add placeholder text

Suppose that you’re creating a publication but the text you need to import into it isn’t ready to import into InDesign. (Perhaps the text is still being created or edited.)

Rather than wait for the final text, you can use placeholder text and continue to create your publication’s layout. Placeholder text is commonly used to temporarily fill a document with text.

The text looks a lot like normal blocks of text, which is more natural than trying to paste the same few words repeatedly to fill up a text frame. However, placeholder text isn’t in any particular language, because it’s just being used as filler.

  1. Create a frame on the page by selecting the Type tool and dragging diagonally to create a text frame.

  2. Choose Type→Fill with Placeholder Text.

    The text frame is automatically filled with characters and words.

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Copy and paste text into a publication

You can move text from one application into a publication by copying and pasting the text directly into InDesign.

  1. Highlight the text you want to use in your publication and press Ctrl+C (Windows) or Cmd+C (Mac) to copy the text.

    When you copy text, it sits on the Clipboard (until it’s replaced by something new) and you can transfer this information into InDesign.

  2. Open InDesign and press Ctrl+V (Windows) or Cmd+V (Mac) to create a new text frame and paste the text into it.

    A new text frame appears centered on the page with your selected text inside it.

You can also click in a text frame and press Ctrl+V (Windows) or Cmd+V (Mac) to paste text from the Clipboard directly into an existing frame. You can do the same thing with an image.

All you need to do is double-click a text frame if you want to access or edit some text or type or paste it into the frame.

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