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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

Keith Gilbert is a digital publishing consultant and educator, Adobe Certified Instructor, Adobe Community Professional, conference speaker, author, and contributing writer for various publications. His work has taken him throughout North America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. During his 30 years as a consultant, his clients have included Adobe, Apple, Target, the United Nations, Best Buy, General Mills, Lands' End, and Medtronic. Follow him on Twitter @gilbertconsult and at
Keith Gilbert

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11 Comments on “4 causes for text wrap misbehavior

  1. Stupid oversight on my part “Ignore Text Wrap” was selected!! Real show stopper tried everything else under the sun…


  2. I have a document where images are ignoring text wrap, but when I check this according to steps in #3 above, that selection is not checked and it is still ignoring text wrap. I also double-checked settings according to steps in #4 above… What else could be causing this? I have to drag the images below the paragraph marker.

  3. I’m having all kinds of trouble with InDesign CC 2015.3, including a problem with text wraps applying their prickly selves to everything I place – text and graphics. To all the ideas above the answer is no, and I’ve replaced prefs and done the ‘nopub’ thing where I set the defaults, including no text wraps. What the heck? Any ideas? I’ve thought about uninstalling this bad boy version (, but can only see CS6 as a replacement option rather than being able to go back to CC 2014, which wasn’t giving me any real trouble.

    • InDesignSecrets helps even when you haven’t said a word. I’ve been trying to fix this text wrap issue for days. I finally convince myself to go ahead and bug you guys, then come across what I think is the answer in Adobe help – which I’d spent much time with already: Is this it?

      Specify default settings for new objects in a document
      With document open, choose Edit >Deselect All.
      Change any menu items or panel or dialog box settings.

  4. Here’s one that stumped me for a little while today when wraps were not performing as expected. The real problem was that I wasn’t showing options, and the “Wrap options: Wrap to” was set to left side and not both sides, as is my usual default. But I couldn’t see that, because I didn’t have the Show Options on. Always check the flyout menu!

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