Editing text


Equitable Language: We are replacing non-inclusive language from InCopy 2022 (version 17.0) onwards, to reflect core Adobe values of inclusivity. Any reference to Master page is replaced by Parent page in our Help articles for the English, Danish, Hungarian, Spanish, Italian, Brazilian, Portuguese, and Japanese locales.

Select text

  1. Using the Type tool, do one of the following:
    • Drag the I‑bar cursor over a character, word, or an entire text block to select it.

    • Double-click a word to select it. Spaces next to the word are not selected.

    • Double-click a character to select contiguous characters of the same type. For example, when Roman text, kanji, and hiragana all appear in a paragraph, and you double-click on a kanji, the adjoining kanji in the same string will be selected.

    • Triple-click anywhere in a line to select a line. If the Triple Click To Select A Line preferences option is deselected, triple-clicking selects the entire paragraph.

    • If the Triple Click To Select A Line option is selected, quadruple-click anywhere in a paragraph to select the entire paragraph.

    • Quintuple-click to select the entire story, or click anywhere in a story and choose Edit > Select All.


If you select text that contains a note anchor, using any of the above procedures, the note and its contents are also selected.

If you cannot select text in a frame, the text frame could be on a locked layer or on a parent page. Try unlocking the layer or going to the master page. The text frame may also be beneath another text frame or transparent object. See Select text in a frame that is covered.

Change what triple-clicking does

  1. Choose Edit > Preferences > Type (Windows) or InCopy  > Preferences > Type (Mac OS).
  2. Select Triple Click To Select A Line to enable triple-clicking to select a line (this is the default). Deselect this option if you want triple-clicking to select a paragraph.

Select text in a frame that is covered

  1. Using the Selection tool  , hold down Ctrl (Windows) or Command (Mac OS) and click to select the text frame.
  2. Select the Type tool, and then click inside the text frame or select text.

Paste text

You can paste text from another application or from Adobe InCopy.

If the insertion point is not inside a text frame when you paste text into InDesign, a new plain text frame will be created. If the insertion point is inside a text frame, the text will be pasted inside that frame. If you have text selected when you paste, the pasted text will overwrite the selected text.

When you use Edit > Paste Without Grid Format to paste text into a frame grid, the pasted text retains its font, font size, and character spacing settings of the copied text. You can select text and choose Edit > Apply Grid Format to format the pasted text according to the character attributes of the frame grid.

Paste text from another application

  1. To preserve formatting and information such as styles and index markers, open the Clipboard Handling section of the Preferences dialog box, and select All Information under Paste. To remove these items and other formatting when pasting, select Text Only.
  2. Cut or copy text in another application or in an InCopy document.
  3. If you like, select text or click in a text frame. Otherwise, the text will be pasted into its own new frame.
  4. Do one of the following:
    • Choose Edit > Paste. If the pasted text doesn’t include all the formatting, you may need to change settings in the Import Options dialog box for RTF documents.

    • Choose Edit > Paste Without Formatting. (Paste Without Formatting is dimmed if you paste text from another application when Text Only is selected in Clipboard Handling Preferences.)

    • Choose Edit > Paste Without Grid Format.


You can also drag text from another application and drop it into an InDesign document, or you can insert a text file or word-processing file into an InDesign document directly from Windows Explorer or Mac OS Finder. The text will be added to a new frame. Shift-dragging removes the formatting. The option you select in the Clipboard Handling section of the Preferences dialog box determines whether information such as index markers and swatches is preserved.

Adjust spacing automatically when pasting text

When you paste text, spaces can be automatically added or removed, depending on the context. For example, if you cut a word and then paste it between two words, a space appears before and after the word. If you paste that word at the end of a sentence, before the period, a space is not added.


This feature is used primarily for working with Roman text. Also, this feature is available only when the Roman text to be pasted is set to a Roman language in the Character panel.

  1. Choose Edit > Preferences > Type (Windows) or InCopy  > Preferences > Type (Mac OS).
  2. Select Adjust Spacing Automatically When Cutting And Pasting Words, and then click OK.

Paste text to a frame grid

You can paste text that retains its source formatting attributes. When you copy text with modified attributes from one frame grid and paste to a different frame grid, the text will be pasted with only those changed attributes preserved. You can also paste without grid formatting.

  1. Cut or copy text in another application or in an InCopy document.
  2. In the frame grid, display the text insertion point or select a block of text.
  3. Do one of the following:
    • To paste text that conforms to the grid format, choose Edit > Paste.

    • To paste text without grid formatting, choose Edit > Paste Without Grid Format.

You can always apply grid formatting later by choosing Edit > Apply Grid Format. The grid format attributes specified in the Named Grids panel will be applied to the text.

Apply grid format to text

You can apply the grid format to any text that doesn’t conform to the grid format.

  1. Select the text.
  2. Choose Edit > Apply Grid Format.

Change the text direction

  1. Select the text frame.
  2. Do either of the following:
    • Choose Type > Writing Direction > Horizontal or Vertical.

    • Choose Type > Story to show the Story panel. Select Horizontal or Vertical for Story Direction.

In Galley view and Story view, text appears as horizontal, even if Vertical is selected. In Layout View, text is vertical if Vertical is selected.

A vertical text frame or frame grid is converted to a horizontal one, or a horizontal text frame or frame grid is converted to a vertical one. Changing this causes the entire story to be changed, and all frames threaded to the selected frames will be affected.


To change the direction of individual characters in a frame, use the Tate-chu-yoko feature, or use the Character Rotation feature in the Character panel.

Drag and drop text

You can use the mouse to drag and drop text in the Story Editor or in the Layout View. You can even drag text from the Story Editor to the layout window (or vice versa), or into some dialog boxes such as Find/Change. Dragging the text from a locked or checked-in story copies the text rather than moves it. You can also copy text or create a new frame when dragging and dropping text.

You can use the mouse to drag and drop text in Galley View, Story View, or Layout View. You can even drag text into some dialog boxes, such as Find/Change. Dragging text from a locked or checked-in story copies the text rather than moves it. You can also copy text when dragging.

Jeff Witchel provides a video tutorial about drag and drop at Using InDesign Drag and Drop Text.

  1. To enable drag and drop, choose Edit > Preferences > Type (Windows) or InCopy  > Preferences > Type (Mac OS), select Enable In Layout View, Enable In Story Editor (InDesign), or Enable In Galley/Story View (InCopy), and then click OK.
  2. Select the text that you want to move or copy.
  3. Hold the pointer over the selected text until the drag and drop icon  appears, and then drag the text.

    As you drag, the selected text remains in place, but a vertical bar indicates where the text will appear when you release the mouse button. The vertical bar appears in any text frame that you drag the mouse over.

  4. Do any of the following:
    • To drop the text in a new location, position the vertical bar where you would like the text to appear and release the mouse button.

    • To drop the text in a new frame, hold down Ctrl (Windows) or Command (Mac OS) after you start dragging, and then release the mouse button before releasing the key.

    • To drop the text without formatting, hold down Shift after you start dragging, and then release the mouse button before releasing the key.

    • To copy the text, hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) after you start dragging, and then release the mouse button before releasing the key.


You can also use a combination of these modifier keys. For example, to copy unformatted text to a new frame, hold down Alt+Shift+Ctrl (Windows) or Option+Shift+Command (Mac OS) after you start dragging.

If the text you drop doesn’t have the proper spacing, select the Adjust Spacing Automatically option in Type Preferences.

Transpose characters

If you transpose two adjacent characters as you type, you can correct them with the Transpose command. For example, if you typed 1243 instead of 1234, the Transpose command switches the 4 and the 3.

  1. Place the insertion point between the two characters you want to transpose.
  2. Choose Edit > Transpose.

The Transpose command applies only to characters and numbers within stories. It cannot move InCopy note anchors, tables, spaces, or other nonprinting characters. You cannot use Transpose in a locked story.

View hidden characters

When you’re editing text, it’s often useful to see nonprinting characters, such as spaces, tabs, and paragraph symbols. These characters are visible only in a document window; they won’t output or print.

Nonprinting characters hidden (top) and visible (bottom)

  1. Do one of the following:
    • Choose Type > Show Hidden Characters. A check mark appears next to the menu command.

    • Click the Show Hidden Characters button  on the horizontal toolbar.

Edit text on a parent page

In InDesign documents, a parent page is a kind of template that applies to multiple pages. Master pages typically specify only common layout elements that appear on all pages of the document, such as the margins, page numbers, headers, and footers. You can use InCopy to edit the text on an InDesign parent page if the text is a linked file. However, you cannot change any of the frame attributes controlled by the master, and you cannot edit master-page text from any other (regular) pages in the document.


If you can’t click an insertion point into a nonlocked text frame on a regular page, that text might be on a parent page. Check with the person who set up the frames and with your design team.

  1. Choose View > Layout View if your document is not already in Layout view.
  2. Choose the parent page from the page box at the lower left of the document window.
    Selecting the InDesign parent page

  3. On the parent page, select the text that you want to edit, and make the changes.

To edit text on a parent page, the parent page must include managed stories that are checked out.

Undo actions

You can undo or redo up to several hundred of the most recent actions. The exact number of actions you can undo is limited by the amount of RAM available and the kinds of actions you have performed. The record of recent actions is erased when you save, close, quit, or exit, so they can no longer be undone. You can also cancel an operation before it completes, or revert to a previously saved version.

  1. Do one of the following:
    • To undo the most recent change, choose Edit > Undo [action]. (You cannot undo certain actions, such as scrolling.)

    • To redo an action you just undid, choose Edit > Redo [action].

    • To undo all changes made since the last time you saved the project, choose File > Revert Content.

    • To stop a change that InCopy hasn’t finished processing (for example, if you see a progress bar), press the Escape key.

    • To close a dialog box without applying changes, click Cancel.

Jump to a position marker

A position marker is like a bookmark, and it is used to mark a location in a document. This is useful if you need to return to that location quickly or frequently. A document can have only one position marker.

  1. Place the insertion point where you want to insert the marker.
  2. Choose Edit > Position Marker > Insert Marker. (If you’ve already inserted a marker, choose Replace Marker.)

To jump to the marker from anywhere in the document, choose Edit > Position Marker > Go To Marker.

To clear the marker, choose Edit > Position Marker > Remove Marker. The marker is removed automatically when you close and reopen the document.

Add column, frame, and page breaks

Control column, frame, and page breaks by inserting special break characters in the text.

  1. Using the Type tool, click to place the insertion point where you want the break to occur.
  2. Choose Type > Insert Break Character, and then choose a break option from the submenu.

You can also create breaks by using the Enter key on the numeric keypad. For a column break, press Enter; for a frame break, press Shift+Enter; and for a page break, press Ctrl+Enter (Windows) or Command+Return (Mac OS).

To remove a break character, choose Type > Show Hidden Characters so that you can see nonprinting characters, and then select and delete the break character.


If you create a break by changing paragraph settings (as in the Keep Options dialog box), the break precedes the paragraph that contains the setting. If you create a break using a special character, the break occurs immediately after the special character.

Break options

The following options appear on the Type > Insert Break Character menu:

Column break 

Flows text to the next column in the current text frame. If the frame has only one column, the text goes to the next threaded frame.

Frame break 

Flows text to the next threaded text frame, regardless of the current text frame’s column setup.

Page break 

Flows text to the next page with a text frame threaded to the current text frame.

Odd page break 

Flows text to the next odd-numbered page with a text frame threaded to the current text frame.

Even page break 

Flows text to the next even-numbered page with a text frame threaded to the current text frame.

Paragraph Return 

Inserts a paragraph return (the same as pressing Enter or Return).

Forced Line Break 

Forces a line to break where the character is inserted, starting a new line without starting a new paragraph (the same as pressing Shift+Enter or Shift+Return). A forced line break is also called a soft return.

Discretionary Line Break 

Indicates where a line of text should break if the line needs to break. A discretionary line break is similar to a discretionary hyphen, only no hyphen is added where the line breaks.

Related break options are available in the Keep Options dialog box and in the Paragraph Style Options dialog box.

Use conditional text

Conditional text is a way to create different versions of the same document. After you create conditions, you apply them to ranges of text. You can then create different versions of documents by showing and hiding conditions. For example, if you’re creating a computer manual, you can create separate conditions for Mac OS and Windows. Before you print the Mac OS version of the user guide, you can show all text to which the “Mac” condition is applied and hide all text to which the “Windows” condition is applied. You can then reverse the condition states for printing the user guide for Windows.

Conditional text shown

A. All conditions shown B. Conditional indicators 

Conditional text hidden

A. “Mac” condition hidden B. Hidden condition symbols 

Conditions can be applied only to text. You can make anchored objects conditional, but only by selecting the anchored object marker. You can apply conditions to text within table cells, but you cannot apply conditions to table cells, columns, or rows. You cannot apply conditions to text in locked InCopy stories.

For a video tutorial on using conditional text, see www.adobe.com/go/lrvid4026_id.

Planning conditional documents

When planning a project with conditional text, examine the nature of the material and look at how several people can take turns working with it if the document is handed off. Plan to treat conditional text consistently to make the document easier to use and maintain. Use the following guidelines.

Number of versions

Define how many versions your finished project will contain. For example, if you’re creating a manual that describes a program that runs on both Windows and Mac OS platforms, you might want to produce at least two versions: a Windows version and a Mac OS version. If you want to produce these versions with editorial comments sprinkled in the text during the review process, you’ll want even more versions: Mac OS with comments, Mac OS without comments, Windows with comments, and Windows without comments.

For documents with many conditions, you can define condition sets that can be applied to the document for quick versioning.

Number of condition tags required

Decide how many condition tags you need to produce the desired versions. A version of a document is defined by a unique set of condition tags. For example, a version of a finished Windows manual might be defined by having a Windows condition tag showing, a Mac OS condition tag hidden, and a Comments condition tag hidden. In this example, you would need to decide whether to use one condition tag for Windows comments and another for Mac OS comments, or whether to use a single condition tag for both Windows and Mac OS comments.

Organization of content

Evaluate the extent to which the document can be conditional and how you can organize the material to simplify development and maintenance. For example, you might be able to organize a book so that conditional text is limited to a few documents. Or you might choose to keep versions of a particular chapter in separate files rather than in conditional text, and then use a different book file for each version of the book.

In some instances, such as when working with multiple languages, you may want to create separate layers that you can show or hide rather than using conditions, with each layer including text from a different language.

Tagging strategy

Determine the smallest unit of conditional text. For example, if a document will be translated to another language, a whole sentence should be the smallest amount of text you make conditional. Because word order often changes during translation, using conditional text for part of a sentence could complicate translation.

Inconsistency in applying conditions to spaces and punctuation can result in extra spacing or misspelled words. Decide whether to make spaces and punctuation conditional. If conditional text begins or ends with punctuation, make the punctuation conditional too. This makes the text easier to read when you're viewing more than one version.

To avoid word spacing problems, such as having an unconditional space followed by a conditional space, set standards for handling spaces following conditional text (either always conditional or always unconditional).

To avoid confusion, decide the order in which conditional text will appear and use this order throughout the document.

Indexes and cross-references

When indexing a document, pay attention to whether index markers are placed inside or outside conditional text. Keep in mind that index markers in hidden conditional text are not included in the generated index.

If you create a cross-reference to conditional text, make sure that the source text has the same condition. For example, if you add a cross-reference in a “Windows” paragraph and the text anchor appears in a “Mac” condition, the cross-reference is unresolved when the “Mac” condition is hidden. “HT” appears next to the cross-reference in the Hyperlinks panel.

If you create a cross-reference to a paragraph in which some text is conditional and then change the visibility settings of that condition, update the cross-reference.

Create conditions

Conditions you create are saved in the current document. If no documents are open when you create a condition, that condition appears in all new documents you create.

You can make conditional text easy to identify by specifying condition indicators, such as wavy red underlines.

In managed InCopy files, you can apply existing conditions, but you cannot create or delete conditions. You can hide or show conditional text in InCopy, but the changes do not appear in InDesign when the managed file is checked in. In InCopy standalone documents, you can create, apply, and change the visibility of conditions as in InDesign.

  1. Choose Window > Type & Tables > Conditional Text to display the Conditional Text panel.
  2. Choose New Condition from the Conditional Text panel menu, and type a name for the condition.
  3. In the Indicator group, specify the appearance of the indicator to which the condition is applied.

    By default, indicators (such as wavy red lines) are set to appear in the document but not be printed or output. You can choose an option from the Indicators menu in the Conditional Text panel to hide indicators or to print and output them, which can be useful for review purposes.

  4. Click OK.

Apply conditions to text

You can apply multiple conditions to the same text. By default, condition indicators identify conditional text. However, if indicators are hidden, you can use the Conditional Text panel to determine which conditions have been applied to the current text. A solid check mark indicates the condition is applied to the current text. A dim check mark indicates that the condition is applied only to part of the selection.

  1. Select the text to which you want to apply the condition.
  2. In the Conditional Text panel (Windows > Type & Tables > Conditional Text), do any of the following:
    • To apply a condition, click the condition, or click the box next to the condition name.

    • To apply a condition and remove other conditions applied to the text, Alt-click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac OS) a condition.

    • To remove a condition, click the box next to the condition name to remove the check mark. Or, click [Unconditional] to remove all conditions from the selected text.


You cannot apply keyboard shortcuts to specific conditions. However, you can apply conditions using Quick Apply.

Show or hide conditions

When you hide a condition, all text to which that condition is applied is hidden. Hiding conditions often causes the page numbering to change in a document or book. You can use the Smart Text Reflow feature to add and remove pages automatically as you hide and show conditions.

Hidden conditional text is generally ignored in the document. For example, hidden text is not printed or exported, index markers in hidden conditional text are not included in a generated index, and hidden conditional text is not included when searching or spell-checking text.

When you hide a condition, the hidden text is stored in a hidden condition symbol . If you select text that contains a hidden condition symbol and try to delete it, InCopy prompts you to confirm that you want to delete the hidden conditional text. You cannot apply other conditions, styles, or formatting to hidden conditional text.

If text has several conditions applied to it and at least one of those conditions is shown while another is hidden, the text is not hidden.

  • To show or hide individual conditions, click the visibility box next to a condition name. The eye icon indicates the condition is shown.
  • To show or hide all conditions, choose Show All or Hide All from the Conditional Text panel menu.

Use condition sets

A condition set captures the visibility settings for all conditions so that you can quickly apply different document renditions. For example, suppose you have a complex document with platform conditions for Mac OS, Windows XP, Vista, UNIX , language conditions for English, French, German, and Spanish, and editorial conditions such as Editorial Review and Internal Comments. For reviewing the Vista version in French, you can create a set that shows only the Vista, French, and Editorial Review conditions, and hides all the rest.

While sets aren’t necessary to do this, they help you quickly and reliably change different condition visibility settings.

  1. Apply conditions to text as necessary.
  2. If the Set menu doesn’t appear in the Conditional Text panel, choose Show Options from the Conditional Text panel menu.
  3. In the Conditional Text panel, make the conditions visible or hidden as needed.
  4. Choose Create New Set from the Set menu, specify a name for the set, and click OK.

    The new set becomes the active set.

  5. Do any of the following:
    • To apply the condition set to a document, choose the condition set name from the Set menu.

    • To override a condition set, select the set to make it active, and change the visibility setting of any condition. A plus sign (+) appears next to the condition set. Choose the condition set again to remove overrides. Choose Redefine “[Condition Set]” to update the condition set with the new visibility settings.

    • To delete a condition set, select the condition set, and then choose Delete “[Condition Set].” Deleting a condition set does not delete the set’s conditions, nor does it remove the conditions from wherever they are applied.

Manage conditions

  1. Do any of the following:

    Delete a condition

    Select a condition and click the Delete Condition icon at the bottom of the Conditional Text panel. Specify a condition to replace the deleted condition and click OK. The condition you specify is applied to all text to which the deleted condition was applied.

    To delete multiple conditions, Shift-click to select contiguous conditions, or Ctrl-click (Windows) or Command-click (Mac OS) to select non-contiguous conditions, and then click the Delete Condition icon.

    Remove a condition from text

    Removing a condition tag from text is different from deleting a tag from a document. When you remove a tag from text, the tag remains in the document so it can be applied again later.

    To remove a condition from text, select the text and click the box next to the condition to remove the check mark, or click [Unconditional] to remove all conditions from the selected text.

    Load (import) conditions

    Choose Load Conditions (to load only conditions) or Load Conditions And Sets from the Conditional Text panel menu. Select the InDesign document from which you want to import the conditions, and click Open. Loaded conditions and sets replace any condition or set that has an identical name.

    You cannot load conditions from an InCopy file in InDesign, but you can load conditions from an InDesign file in both InDesign and InCopy.

    Loaded sets ignore the visibility settings of the conditions currently in the Conditional Text panel.

    Synchronize conditions in a book

    To make sure you’re using the same conditions in all documents in a book, create the conditions you want in the style source document, select Conditional Text Settings in the Synchronize Options dialog box, and then synchronize the book.

    Show or hide condition indicators

    Choose Show or Hide from the Indicators menu in the Conditional Text panel to show or hide condition indicators. If you’re showing one version and want to see which areas are conditional, show the condition indicators. If you find the condition indicators distracting while viewing the layout, hide the condition indicators. Choose Show And Print if you want the condition indicators to be printed and output.

    Change a condition name

    In the Conditional Text panel, click a condition, pause, and then click the condition name to select it. Type a different name.

    Edit condition indicators

    In the Conditional Text panel, double-click a condition, or select a condition and choose Condition Options from the panel menu. Specify indicator settings, and click OK.

Find and change conditional text

Use the Find/Change dialog box to find text to which one or more conditions have been applied and replace it with one or more other conditions.

  1. Show any conditional text you want included in the search.

    Hidden text is excluded from the search.

  2. Choose Edit > Find/Change.
  3. If the Find Format and Change Format boxes don’t appear at the bottom of the dialog box, click More Options.
  4. Click the Find Format box to display the Find Format Settings dialog box. Under Conditions, select [Any Condition] to search for text in which any condition is applied, [Unconditional] to search for text in which no condition is applied, or select the specific condition or conditions you want to search for. Click OK.

    This feature finds text that perfectly matches the selected conditions. For example, if you select both Condition 1 and Condition 2, text to which only one of the conditions are applied isn’t found, nor is text found to which these two conditions and another is applied.

  5. Click the Change Format box to display the Change Format Settings dialog box. Specify the different formatting option, such as a condition or a character style, and then click OK.

    If you select the Conditions section in the Change Format Settings dialog box, the [Any Condition] makes no changes to the found conditional text. This option is useful if you want to apply different formatting, such as a character style. Select [Unconditional] to remove all conditions from the found text. If you select a specific condition, specify whether you want it to replace any condition applied to the found text or be added to it.

  6. Click Find, and then use the Change, Change/Find, or Change All buttons to replace the condition.


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