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You’ve got to try TextStitch

If you work with long documents, or need to control the reading order of a complex document for ePub output or accessibility reasons, you need to pay attention to how text flows from text frame to text frame. This text flow is officially known as text “threading”, while some people call it text “linking”.

Whatever you call it, it can be a real pain if you need to change the order in which text frames are threaded, or if you need to thread together multiple stand-alone frames that already contain content.

Enter the amazing free TextStitch plug-in by Kris Coppieters at Rorohiko. TextStitch 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. I wrote about TextStitch here previously. But Kris just added a capability that makes the plug-in even more useful: text on a path can now be linked to and from text frames.

Imagine you have a book where each chapter opener is created as text on a path.

With TextStitch, you just choose “Begin Quick Stitch” from the API menu, and then click on the text frames (or text paths) that you want to thread together. The frames turn black as you select them.

Next, you choose “End Quick Stitch” from the API menu, and the frames are threaded together, while the text stays in place in each frame.

TextStitch also has a neat feature for unthreading threaded text frames, without making a mess of the content of the frames.

This free plug-in is a must-have for anyone who regularly works with threaded frames.

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7 Comments on “You’ve got to try TextStitch

  1. Tried it and it is nice. But what is so different from clicking on a start frame, then holding the ALT-key and click on all the frames you want threaded…?
    (Did not try it with text on path, so I guess that is the main advantage?)

  2. Nope, tried also paths with the ALT-key and it works fine. I find this easier and faster. And there is a small bug still with textstitch: try stitching some frames and then choose ‘Fill with placeholder text’: only the last text frame gets text!

    But: Autostitch of course is new and VERY nice!

  3. Just spoke to Kris (from Rorohiko): it is not a bug, framebreaks are placed in the text frame by TextStitch, so I guess it is a ‘feature’ ;-)

  4. @F vd Geest: Yes, you can indeed thread frames as you describe, by clicking on a start frame and alt-clicking on subsequent frames. However, the TextStitch plug-in provides a couple of big advantages:

    1. Imagine you have two text frames, each of which contains text, but the first frame is much longer than the text it contains. If you click on the out port of the first frame and then click on the second frame, they will thread together, but some of the text from the second frame will flow backwards into the empty space in the first frame. TextStitch avoids this problem, but automatically inserting a frame break character at the end of the text in each threaded frame.

    2. Imagine you have three text frames, a, b, and c, with b and c threaded together. Now you want to thread them in the order a, c, b. You can’t easily do this without TextStitch. But TextStitch lets you change the order with just a couple of clicks.

  5. Ah, I get it: it is good to connect frames that already have text! Therefore the framebreak gets inserted. Missed that one, that is nice indeed. And as you said you disconnect/connect an old/new flow in one single go. I stand corrected, there is more then met my eye ;-)

  6. Found another handy use for text stitch that I thought someone might use sometime. I needed to create an address book from a database. Using the data merge is limited, because it creates multiple text frames for each entry. Text Stitch saved the day. I used the auto stitch (entire document) to thread all the entries and then cut and pasted the entire flow into my document. I did have to use the replace to get rid of the frame breaks, but this is quick and easy.

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