Question: Can InDesign split a story threaded through text frames in two while leaving the text in the current frames?
Short Answer: There is a script that can do this, and there is a simple process to do it manually as well.
In most ways, InDesign excels at managing text flow. it is easy to thread text through a series of frames, and even see the flow by showing text threads (look for “Show Text Threads” in the View menu; depending on your version it will be in a different sub menu). You can even break the connection between threaded frames by clicking the out-port of a frame and then clicking that same frame; the text becomes overset in the frame and the connection to the next frame is broken.
In InDesign there is a clear separation between the content (the text) and container (the frames). Deleting, resizing, or rethreading the containers (frames) will have no affect on the content (text). Many beginning users have expressed frustration when trying to delete unwanted text by deleting a threaded text frame, only to see the text pop up in the next frame in the thread. The only way to change the content is to edit the text with the type tool, or to delete every frame in the entire thread which of course deletes all the text too.
A Tool for an Imperfect World
Occaisionally we don’t realized text would be more easily managed as two or more separate stories until after we have laid it out. In this situation, what we’d like to do is sever the text thread while simultaneously separating the text into two different stories. InDesign does not have a tool that can easily do this.
In a perfect world, we’d always know beforehand that the text would be best managed in individual pieces. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s impossible to know. We’re importing somebody’s messy word document and designing the template as we go along; several hours down the road we realize it would be nice if several of those fully formatted text blocks were a bit more independent. If that’s ever happened to you, and if you struggled with the best way to resolve the issue, then this article is for you!
Custom Script (or Manual Process) to Split Stories
Remember, separation of content and container. There are actually 2 things that must be done here: (1) the threading of the text frames must be broken, and (2) the text content from the original story must be cut and pasted as a second story into the other set of frames. These two steps can be done manually or can be automated through the use of a script.
The script was developed by Adi Ravid and is available at the Adobe Exchange. It allows splitting of all frames in a story, splitting before selected frame, or splitting after selected frame. I’ve used it in CS4 and CS5 (not yet in 5.5) and it has worked perfectly.
In my experience, the easiest way to do this manually is as follows:
- Break the text thread between the frames by clicking the out-port of the last frame in the first story, then clicking that same frame. All the remaining text becomes overset, and the rest of the frames are now empty, ready to receive the new story.
- Edit the story in Story Editor (click in the text with the type tool, go to the Edit menu, choose “Edit in Story Editor”).
- You’ll see that all the overset text is clearly marked and easy to select in the Story Editor. Select and cut it. Close the Story Editor.
- Paste the text into the empty frames.