How to Control Text Flow in iBooks Author - dummies

How to Control Text Flow in iBooks Author

By Galen Gruman

iBooks Author doesn’t handle text flow in the same way that a traditional desktop publishing program does: You can’t link existing text boxes however you want to specify the order in which text flows from text box to text box. Instead, iBooks Author limits linking to certain text boxes on certain types of pages.

Here are the limits and possibilities:

  • You can’t link text between text boxes that you create.

  • You can’t link text from linkable text boxes to existing text boxes.

  • You can’t link text boxes in the layouts from one section to another, from one chapter to another, or between chapters and sections — all linked text boxes in a particular section or chapter layout can link only to text boxes in the same section or chapter layout. The same is true for book pages: You can link text boxes only across pages within the same section or chapter.

  • The mainbar text boxes that are predefined in the layout for chapters, sections, and pages are automatically linked to the text boxes in pages you create in the book from the layout templates.

  • The text boxes in the first pages of chapter layouts and some section layouts don’t have a linkable text box, so text from that first page can’t flow to other text boxes. If you want text to flow from the first page of such layouts, you need to add a linkable text box to those pages and get rid of the original unlinkable text box if you no longer need it for other text.

  • You can create new text boxes that link from these linkable text boxes, both in layouts and in book pages.

If you select a linkable text box, an input indicator (a blue triangle in a box) appears at the upper-left of the text box’s boundary. That triangle input indicator means that text box is the source for the text flow. An output indicator also appears at the bottom-right boundary. If that output indicator is a blue triangle in a box, the text box isn’t linked to any further text boxes. If an indicator is a solid blue square, that means it’s already linked to another text box.

If you don’t see those indicators, click the boundary itself. If you still don’t see those indicators, your text box isn’t linkable.

To link a linkable text box to another, follow these steps:

  1. Select a linkable text box.

  2. To create a text box that precedes this text box in your text flow, click the input indicator at the upper-left of this text box.


    Or if you want to create a text box that follows this text box in your text flow, click the output indicator at the bottom-right of this text box.

    The pointer gains a + (plus sign) symbol.

  3. Click anywhere outside the source text box to add a new text box.

    The pointer displays an X while you hover over another text box, indicating you can’t create a new text box there.

    If you created the new text box after clicking the input indicator of the source text box, the new text box is now the source for the text box whose input indicator you clicked, and the text now begins in that new text box and flows to the original text box.

    If you created the new text box after clicking the output indicator of the source text box, the new text box contains any overflow from the text box whose output indicator you clicked, and the text now flows into that new text box from the original text box.

  4. Format and position the new text box however you like.

    You can click and drag the corner handles to resize the text box, drag the text box to move it, and format it by using the Inspector.

When you’re working in book pages, the overflow indicator appears, shown at the bottom of the topmost text box. This indicator looks like a + (plus sign) in a black-framed square and lets you know that the flow contains more text than can fit in the text boxes. In other words, your text is cut off. You can create another text box by using the output indicator for that text to flow into, whether on this page or another in the section or chapter. Or you can edit the text to fit. That’s up to you!