Add Columns to an InDesign CS5 Text Frame - dummies

By Jennifer Smith, Christopher Smith, Fred Gerantabee

Columns can be added to any text frame in an InDesign Creative Suite 5 publication. As many as 40 columns can be inserted in a single text frame. If you already have text in a frame, the text is automatically divided among the columns you add.

You also can specify the number of columns in a publication when you first create it. These kind of columns allow you to snap new text frames to the columns so that they’re properly spaced on the page.

  1. Create a rectangular text frame on the page.

    Use the Text or Frame tool to create the text frame. You can create columns in text frames that are rectangular, oval, or even freehand shapes drawn on the page.

  2. Select the text frame and enter some text.

    You can type some text, paste text copied from another document, or add placeholder text by choosing Type→Fill with Placeholder Text.

  3. With the text frame still selected, choose Object→Text Frame Options.

    The Text Frame Options dialog box opens. Be sure to select the Preview check box in the dialog box, which enables you to immediately view the changes your settings make to the frame on the page.

  4. In the Columns section, change the value in the Number text field.

    For example, if you enter 2 in the Number text field, the the text in the frame is divided into two columns.

  5. Change the width of the columns by entering a new value in the Width text field.

    The width of the columns is automatically set, depending on the width of the text frame you created. However, you can change the width manually, by entering a value in the Width text field.

    The text frame will change as well, after the columns are adjusted. When you click in a different text field in the dialog box, the text frame updates on the page to reflect the new value setting.

  6. Change the value in the Gutter text field.

    The gutter value controls the amount of space between columns. If the gutter is too wide, change the value in the Gutter text field to a lower number.

  7. When you finish, click OK to apply the changes.

    The changes are applied to the text frame you modified.

After you create columns in a text frame, you can resize the frame by using the handles on its bounding box. The columns resize as necessary to divide the text frame into the number of columns you specified in the Text Frame Options dialog box.

If you select the Fixed Column Width check box in the Text Frame Options dialog box, your text frames are always the width you specify, no matter how you resize the text frame. When you resize the text frame, the frame snaps to the designated fixed width.