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How to easily thread text frames for ePub output

When you set about to create or convert InDesign files for ePub output, you'll quickly encounter a harsh reality: the practical necessity, in most cases, of threading (linking) all the text in your book in one long series of threaded text frames. Imagine that you have content that consists of body text, a couple of sidebars, some photos and some captions. A typical designer would perhaps thread the main text frames together, but most people wouldn't thread the caption or sidebar frames in with the main text.

But for ePub output, it is usually best if the sidebars and captions and all other text elements are threaded together in the order that you'd like the reader to view them. So what do you do if you have a partially-threaded scenario like this? How do you fix the threading so that all text frames are threaded together, in the exact order you want them to appear?

This is very difficult to do in InDesign without a script or plug-in. Imagine the simple scenario where you have three text frames: A, B and C that are threaded together. Now you have another frame, D, that already contains text, and you want to introduce this into the thread between A and B. Without a plug-in, this requires a lot of cut and paste.

Fortunately, the amazing Kris Coppieters at Rorohiko has created a free! plug-in called TextStitch that does this with a couple of clicks. Specifically, the "Quick Stitch" feature lets you click on any series of unthreaded or partially threaded text frames, and it will thread them together in the order in which you clicked.

If you find yourself needing to thread lots of frames together quickly, or if you need to change a bunch of partially threaded frames into one continuous text thread, you've got to install and try this fantastic plug-in.

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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