Create Text Frames in InDesign CS5 - dummies

By Jennifer Smith, Christopher Smith, Fred Gerantabee

Text frames contain any text you add to an InDesign Creative Suite 5 publication. You can create a new text frame in an InDesign CS5 publication in many different ways: with the Type tool, Frame tool, or by drawing a shape.

Text frames are sometimes automatically created when you import text into a publication.

Create text frames with the Type tool

You can use the Type tool to create a text frame. With the Type tool, you can create a frame to hold the text.

  1. Select the Type tool in the Tools panel and place the tool over the page.

    The Type tool cursor is an I-bar. Move the cursor to the spot where you want to place the upper left corner of the text frame.

  2. Drag diagonally to create a text frame.

    When you click, the mouse has a cross-like appearance. When you drag, an outline of the text frame appears, giving you a reference to its dimensions.


  3. Release the mouse button when the frame is the correct size.

    The text frame is created and an insertion point is placed in the upper left corner of the frame. You can start typing on the keyboard to enter text or to import text from another source.

Create text frames with the Frame tool

You can use the Frame tool to create frames that are rectangular, oval, or polygonal. Then, after you’ve placed the frame on the page, you can turn it into a text frame or use it as a graphic frame or simply a design object on the page.

  1. Choose the Frame tool from the Tools panel and drag diagonally to create a new frame.

    A new frame is created on the page.

  2. Select the Type tool and click inside the frame.

    The X across the frame disappears, and the frame is now a text frame instead of a graphic frame.

  3. Choose the Selection tool and use it to move the text frame.

    You can move the text frame if you click within the frame using the Selection tool and drag it to a new location.

Create text frames from a shape

In InDesign, you can add text to creative shapes you draw, thereby changing them into text frames. If you have an interesting shape that you’ve created with the drawing tools or copied and pasted from Illustrator, you can easily change the shape into a text frame so that it can be filled with text.

  1. Use the Pen tool or Pencil tool or a Shape tool to create a shape with a stroke color and no fill. Or, copy and paste artwork from Illustrator.

    A shape is created on the page that doesn’t have a solid color for the fill.

  2. Select the Type tool from the Tools panel.

    The Type tool becomes active.

  3. Click inside the shape you created in Step 1 and enter some text or import text.

    This step changes the shape into a text frame. Notice how the text is confined within the shape.