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4 causes for text wrap misbehavior

Are you having difficulty getting a text wrap around an image to behave properly? When this happens, go through this quick checklist to help identify the problem.

1. Has the image been flipped or rotated?

In the example below, I'm trying to increase the value of the text wrap boundary on the left side of the image, but it is the boundary on the right that is increasing. Why? Because the image has been flipped. In this case, the cause and effect is obvious. But it wouldn't be so obvious if I was zoomed in on the left side of the image as I tried to increase the left text wrap boundary.

The image has been flipped, so increasing the left text wrap boundary actually increases the right boundary.

2. Has the text wrap been applied to the image, or the image frame?

You can apply a text wrap to the frame that holds the image, or to the image itself. In most cases, you want to apply the wrap to the frame itself. In the example below, I have the frame selected, and according to the Text Wrap panel, there is no text wrap applied. But obviously the text is wrapping. What's going on? 


In this case, the text wrap is applied to the image itself. If I select the image, now the text wrap appears in the Text Wrap panel. The image is approx. 17p wide, yet note that the text wrap panel displays that the left text wrap boundary is 14p. How can this be? The image has been scaled to 6.5% of its original size, so the scale factor is also applied to the text wrap. This is one reason to apply the text wrap to the frame instead of the image.


3. Is "Ignore Text Wrap" selected?

In the example below, the image clearly has a text wrap applied with a boundary on all four sides. Yet it isn't affecting the text. Why?


If I select the text frame (not the image frame) and choose Object > Text Frame Options, we see that the text frame has the "Ignore Text Wrap" option applied. This causes the text to ignore any text wraps that it encounters.


4. Has a layer preference been changed?

In the example below, the image frame clearly has a text wrap applied, but the text is ignoring it. Why? Note that in this case, the image is positioned below the text. 


In Preferences > Composition, you can see that "Text Wrap Only Affects Text Beneath" has been selected. Normally, text wrap ignores the stacking order or layer order of objects. But if this preference is selected, the object with the text wrap must be above the text for the text to be affected by the wrap.


Keith Gilbert
Keith Gilbert has worked as an independent consultant and educator in the design industry for 25 years for clients such as Apple, Adobe, Best Buy, Cargill, General Mills, Lands? End, Medtronic, Target and the United Nations. His work has taken him throughout the US and Canada, as well as to Barbados, Kenya and Monaco. He is an Adobe Certified Instructor in InDesign, InCopy, Illustrator, Photoshop and Acrobat, and the Chapter Representative for the Minneapolis InDesign User Group. You can read his Tips & Techniques Blog at
Keith Gilbert

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