Add text to a document

Add text to a document by typing or by pasting or placing text from a word-processing application. If your word-processing application supports drag-and-drop, you can also drag text into InDesign frames. For large blocks of text, the Place command is an efficient, versatile way to add text to your document. InDesign supports a variety of word-processing, spreadsheet, and text file formats.

When you place or paste text, you do not need to create a text frame first; InDesign will create one for you automatically.

When you place text, you can select Show Import Options to determine whether the imported text maintains its styles and formatting. Before you paste text, you can select All Information or Text Only under Clipboard Handling Preferences to determine whether the pasted text includes additional information such as swatches and styles.

Note:

If the text you import into your document includes pink, green, or another color of highlighting, you likely have one or more composition preference options turned on. Open the Composition section of the Preferences dialog box, and notice which options are turned on under Highlight. For example, if the pasted text is formatted with fonts not available, the text is highlighted in pink.

Type text in a document

  1. To place the insertion point inside the text frame, do one of the following:
    • Using the Type tool , drag to create a new text frame, or click in an existing text frame.

    • Using a selection tool, double-click inside an existing text frame. The Type tool is selected automatically.

  2. Begin typing.

If you created a text frame on a master page, hold down Ctrl+Shift (Windows) or Command+Shift (Mac OS) as you click in the frame on your document page. This makes a copy of the master page frame on the document page. You can then use the Type tool to add text to the selected frame.

Type Asian text using inline input

  1. Choose Edit > Preferences > Advanced Type (Windows) or InDesign > Preferences > Advanced Type (Mac OS).
  2. Select Use Inline Input For Non-Latin Text, and then click OK.

You can use a system input method, if available, for adding 2‑byte and 4‑byte characters. This method is especially useful for entering Asian characters.

Insert placeholder text

InDesign can add placeholder text that you can easily replace with real text later. Adding placeholder text can give you a more complete sense of your document’s design.

  1. Use the Selection tool to select one or more text frames, or use the Type tool to click in a text frame.
  2. Choose Type > Fill With Placeholder Text.

If you add placeholder text to a frame that’s threaded to other frames, the placeholder text is added at the start of the first text frame (if all frames are empty) or at the end of the existing text (if some text is already in the threaded frames), through to the end of the last threaded frame.

To remove or replace placeholder text, double-click in any frame in the thread, choose Edit > Select All, and then delete the text.

Note:

To change the text that is used as placeholder text, create a text file with the text you wish to use, name it Placeholder.txt, and save it in the application folder.

Paste text

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.

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 InDesign 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.)

Note:

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.

Note:

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 InDesign > Preferences > Type (Mac OS).
  2. Select Adjust Spacing Automatically When Cutting And Pasting Words, and then click OK.

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.

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 InDesign > 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.

Note:

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.

Place (import) text

When you place a text or spreadsheet file, you can specify options to determine how the imported text is formatted.

  1. (Optional) To create links to the files being placed, click File Handling in the Preferences dialog box and select Create Links When Placing Text And Spreadsheet Files.

    Selecting this option creates a link to the placed file. You can use the Links panel to update, relink, or remove links to text files. However, if you format linked text in InDesign, the formatting may not be preserved when you update the link. If this option isn’t selected, imported text and spreadsheet files are embedded (not linked).

  2. Do one of the following:
    • To create a new frame for the placed text, make sure that no insertion point is present and that no text or frames are selected.

    • To add text to a frame, use the Type tool  to select text or place the insertion point.

    • To replace the contents of an existing frame, use a selection tool to select the frame. If the frame is threaded, a loaded text cursor appears.

    Note:

    If you accidentally replace a text file or graphic using this method, choose Edit > Undo Replace, and then click or drag to create a text frame.

  3. Choose File > Place.
  4. Select Replace Selected Item if you want the imported file to replace the contents of a selected frame, to replace selected text, or to be added to the text frame at the insertion point. Deselect this option to flow the imported file into a new frame.
  5. Select Show Import Options, and then double-click the file you want to import.
  6. Set import options, and then click OK.

If you haven’t already designated an existing frame to receive text, the pointer becomes a loaded text icon, ready to flow text wherever you click or drag.

Note:

The placed text frame can be converted into either a plain text frame or a frame grid, depending on the settings in the Story panel. You can choose Type > Writing Direction > Horizontal or Vertical to determine the frame’s writing direction. When text is placed in a frame grid, the document defaults set in the Grid tool apply to the frame grid. Apply grid formatting as necessary.

If you receive an alert that the requested filter wasn’t found, you may be trying to place a file from a different word-processing application or from an earlier version of Microsoft® Word, such as Word 6. Open the file in its original application and save it as RTF, which preserves most formatting.

If the imported Microsoft Excel document displays red dots in cells, adjust cell size or text attributes so that overset content becomes visible. You can also place the file as unformatted tabbed text, and then convert the tabbed text to a table.

About import filters

InDesign imports most character and paragraph formatting attributes from text files but ignores most page-layout information, such as margin and column settings (which you can set in InDesign). Note the following:

  • InDesign generally imports all formatting information specified in the word-processing application, except information for word-processing features not available in InDesign.

  • InDesign can add imported styles to its list of styles for the document. A disk icon appears next to imported styles. (See Convert Word styles to InDesign styles.)

  • The import options appear when you select Show Import Options in the Place dialog box, or when you import an Excel file. If Show Import Options is deselected, InDesign uses the import options last used for a similar document type. The options you set remain in effect until you change them.

  • If InDesign cannot find a filter that recognizes a file by either its file type or file extension, an alert message appears. For best results in Windows, use the standard extension (such as .doc, .docx, .txt, .rtf, .xls, or .xlsx) for the type of file you’re importing. You may need to open the file in its original application and save it in a different format, such as RTF or text-only.

For more information on import filters, see the Filters ReadMe PDF file at www.adobe.com/go/lr_indesignfilters_cs5_en.

Microsoft Word and RTF import options

If you select Show Import Options when placing a Word file or an RTF file, you can choose from these options:

Table Of Contents Text

Imports the table of contents as part of the text in the story. These entries are imported as text only.

Index Text

Imports the index as part of the text in the story. These entries are imported as text only.

Footnotes

Imports Word footnotes. Footnotes and references are preserved, but renumbered based on the document’s footnote settings. If the Word footnotes are not imported properly, try saving the Word document in RTF format and importing the RTF file.

Endnotes

Imports endnotes as part of the text at the end of the story.

Use Typographer’s Quotes

Ensures that imported text includes left and right quotation marks (“ ”) and apostrophes (’) instead of straight quotation marks (" ") and apostrophes (').

Remove Styles And Formatting From Text And Tables

Removes formatting, such as typeface, type color, and type style, from the imported text, including text in tables. Paragraph styles and inline graphics aren’t imported if this option is selected.

Preserve Local Overrides

When you choose to remove styles and formatting from text and tables, you can select Preserve Local Overrides to maintain character formatting, such as bold and italics, that is applied to part of a paragraph. Deselect this option to remove all formatting.

Convert Tables To

When you choose to remove styles and formatting from text and tables, you can convert tables to either basic, unformatted tables or unformatted, tab-delimited text.

If you want to import unformatted text and formatted tables, import the text without formatting, and then paste the tables from Word into InDesign.

Preserve Styles And Formatting From Text And Tables

Preserves the Word document’s formatting in the InDesign or InCopy document. You can use the other options in the Formatting section to determine how styles and formatting are preserved.

Manual Page Breaks

Determines how page breaks from the Word file are formatted in InDesign or InCopy. Select Preserve Page Breaks to use the same page breaks used in Word, or select Convert To Column Breaks or No Breaks.

Import Inline Graphics

Preserves inline graphics from the Word document in InDesign.

Import Unused Styles

Imports all styles from the Word document, even if the styles aren’t applied to text.

Convert Bullets & Numbers To Text

Imports bullets and numbers as actual characters, preserving the look of the paragraph. However, in numbered lists, the numbers are not automatically updated when the list items are changed.

Track Changes

Selecting this option causes Track Changes markups from the Word document to appear in the InDesign document. In InDesign, view track changes in Story Editor.

Import Styles Automatically

Imports styles from the Word document into the InDesign or InCopy document. If a yellow warning triangle appears next to Style Name Conflicts, then one or more paragraph or character styles from the Word document have the same name as an InDesign style.

To determine how these style name conflicts are resolved, select an option from the Paragraph Style Conflicts and Character Style Conflicts menu. Choosing Use InDesign Style Definition causes the imported style text to be formatted based on the InDesign style. Choosing Redefine InDesign Style causes the imported style text to be formatted based on the Word style, and changes existing InDesign text formatted with the Word style. Choosing Auto Rename causes the imported Word styles to be renamed. For example, if InDesign and Word have a Subheading style, the imported Word style is renamed Subheading_wrd_1 when Auto Rename is selected.

Note:

InDesign converts paragraph and character styles but not bulleted and numbered list styles.  

Customize Style Import

Lets you use the Style Mapping dialog box to select which InDesign style should be used for each Word style in the imported document.

Save Preset

Stores the current Word Import Options for later reuse. Specify the import options, click Save Preset, type the name of the preset, and click OK. The next time you import a Word style, you can select the preset you created from the Preset menu. Click Set As Default if you want the selected preset to be used as the default for future imports of Word documents.

Text-file import options

If you select Show Import Options when placing a text file, you can choose from these options:

Character Set

Specifies the computer language character set, such as ANSI, Unicode UTF8, or Windows CE, that was used to create the text file. The default selection is the character set that corresponds to the default language and platform of InDesign or InCopy.

Specifies the computer language character set, such as ANSI, Unicode UTF8, Shift JIS, or Chinese Big 5, that was used to create the text file. The default selection is the character set that corresponds to the default language and platform of InDesign or InCopy.

Platform

Specifies whether the file was created in Windows or Mac OS.

Set Dictionary To

Specifies the dictionary to be used by the imported text.

Extra Carriage Returns

Specifies how extra paragraph returns are imported. Choose Remove At End Of Every Line or Remove Between Paragraphs.

Replace

Replaces the specified number of spaces with a tab.

Use Typographer’s Quotes

Ensures that imported text includes left and right quotation marks (“ ”) and apostrophes (’) instead of straight quotation marks (" ") and apostrophes (').

Microsoft Excel import options

You can choose from these options when importing an Excel file:

Sheet

Specifies the worksheet you want to import.

View

Specifies whether to import any stored custom or personal views, or to ignore the views.

Cell Range

Specifies the range of cells, using a colon (:) to designate the range (such as A1:G15). If there are named ranges within the worksheet, these names appear in the Cell Range menu.

Import Hidden Cells Not Saved In View

Includes any cells formatted as hidden cells in the Excel spreadsheet.

Table

Specifies how the spreadsheet information appears in the document.

Formatted Table

InDesign tries to preserve the same formatting used in Excel, although the formatting of text within each cell may not be preserved. If the spreadsheet is linked rather than embedded, updating the link will override any formatting applied to the table in InDesign.

Unformatted Table

The table is imported without any formatting from the spreadsheet. When this option is selected, you can apply a table style to the imported table. If you format text using paragraph and characters styles, the formatting is preserved even if you update the link to the spreadsheet.

Unformatted Tabbed Text

The table is imported as tab-delimited text, which you can then convert to a table in InDesign or InCopy.

Formatted Only Once

InDesign preserves the same formatting used in Excel during the initial import. If the spreadsheet is linked rather than embedded, formatting changes made to the spreadsheet are ignored in the linked table when you update the link. This option isn’t available in InCopy.

Table Style

Applies the table style you specify to the imported document. This option is available only if Unformatted Table is selected.

Cell Alignment

Specifies the cell alignment for the imported document.

Include Inline Graphics

Preserves inline graphics from the Excel document in InDesign.

Number Of Decimal Places To Include

Specifies the number of decimal places of spreadsheet figures.

Use Typographer’s Quotes

Ensures that imported text includes left and right quotation marks (“ ”) and apostrophes (’) instead of straight quotation marks (" ") and apostrophes (').

Tagged-text import options

You can import (or export) a text file capable of taking advantage of InDesign formatting capabilities by using the tagged text format. Tagged-text files are text files containing information describing the formatting you want InDesign to apply. Properly tagged text can describe almost anything that can appear in an InDesign story, including all paragraph-level attributes, character-level attributes, and special characters.

For information on specifying tags, view the Tagged Text PDF at www.adobe.com/go/learn_id_taggedtext_cs5_en (PDF).

The following options are available when you import a tagged-text file and select Show Import Options in the Place dialog box.

Use Typographer’s Quotes

Ensures that imported text includes left and right quotation marks (“ ”) and apostrophes (’) instead of straight quotation marks (" ") and apostrophes (').

Remove Text Formatting

Removes formatting, such as typeface, type color, and type style, from the imported text.

Resolve Text Style Conflicts Using

Specifies which character or paragraph style to apply when there is a conflict between the style in the tagged-text file and the style in the InDesign document. Select Publication Definition to use the definition that already exists for that style in the InDesign document. Select Tagged File Definition to use the style as defined in the tagged text.

Show List Of Problem Tags Before Place

Displays a list of unrecognized tags. If a list appears, you can choose to cancel or continue the import. If you continue, the file may not look as expected.

Save Word or RTF import options as presets

  1. When placing a Word or RTF file, make sure that Show Import Options is selected, and choose Open.
  2. In the Import Options dialog box, specify the desired settings.
  3. Click Save Preset, type a preset name, and click OK.
  4. (Optional) Click Set As Default to use the preset each time you import a file of that file type.

You can then select custom presets from the Preset menu in the Import Options dialog box whenever you open a Word or RTF file.

Import Buzzword documents

Buzzword is a web-based text editor that lets users create and store text files on a web server. In InDesign CS5, you can import and export text from Buzzword documents.

When you import a Buzzword document, a URL-based link is created to the Buzzword document on the server. When the Buzzword document is updated outside InDesign, you can use the Links panel to update the imported version in InDesign. However, doing so removes any changes to the Buzzword text you’ve made in InDesign.

Note:

The Acrobat.com Buzzword application is available only in English, French, and German.

  1. Choose File > Place From Buzzword.

  2. If you haven’t already signed in to CS Live, click Sign In, specify your e-mail address and password, and then click Sign In.

    Once you sign in, the Place Buzzword Documents dialog box displays a list of the Buzzword documents you can import.

  3. Select one or more documents you want to import, or paste the URL of the Buzzword document into the Paste URL field.

  4. Select any of the following options, and then click OK.

    Show Import Options

    If you select this option, the Buzzword Import Options dialog box appears before you place the file.

    Replace Selected Item

    Select this option to replace the object currently selected in the document.

    Link To Document

    Select this option to create a link between the Buzzword document and the placed text. If you establish a link and update the Buzzword document, the Links panel indicates that the file has been modified. If you update the link, the text in InDesign is updated. However, formatting changes you’ve made to this text in InDesign are lost.

  5. If you selected Show Import Options, specify settings in the Buzzword Import Options dialog box.

    This dialog box includes most of the same options found in the RTF Import Options dialog box. See Microsoft Word and RTF import options. Buzzword currently does not have a styles feature, so none of the style options are valid at this time.

  6. With the loaded text cursor, click or drag to create a text frame.

By default, text you place in InDesign is not linked to the original text file. However, if you select the Create Links When Placing Text And Spreadsheet Files option in File Handling preferences before you place a file, the name of the text file appears in the Links panel. You can use the Links panel to update and manage the file. When you update a linked text file, any editing or formatting changes applied within InDesign are lost. Because of this risk, linked text files are not automatically updated when the original file is edited. However, you can easily use the Links panel to update content or to unlink (embed) the file.

  1. Do one of the following:
    • To apply this change to a document, open the document.

    • To apply this change to any new document you create, close all documents.

  2. Choose Edit > Preferences > File Handling (Windows) or InDesign > Preferences > File Handling (Mac OS).
  3. To create links in placed files, select Create Links When Placing Text And Spreadsheet Files. If this option is turned on, use the Links panel to update, relink, or remove links. If this option is turned off, text files are embedded (not linked).

Note:

To unlink (embed) a linked text file, select the file in the Links panel, and then choose Unlink from the Links panel menu.

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