Opening Old Documents in InDesign 2020 Can Cause Text Reflow
Just for a moment, imagine you’re a software developer, working on a program that millions of people have used for, oh let’s say 20 years. And among the bug fixes on your to-do list is one that has been around since the software was released. If you fix the bug, countless old documents might encounter problems when they’re edited in the new version. But if you don’t fix it, then your software stays buggy forever. So what do you do? It’s a tough choice, and it’s one that the folks at Adobe faced with InDesign 2020 with regards to text wrap and paragraph indents.
In previous versions of InDesign, paragraph indent values were ignored when they overlapped with an object that had text wrap applied to it.
In the example below, we see a document in InDesign CS6. The third and fourth paragraphs have 3 pica indents on both sides.
But when you move an object with text wrap over the frame, those indented paragraphs don’t maintain the 3 pica distance from the object.
Over the years, InDesign users have compensated for this quirky behavior and built workarounds into their files. In this case, someone might double the left indent to 6 picas.
But if you open that same file with InDesign 2020 and start editing the text, the bug fix takes effect. The full indent value is applied, and the text reflows.
Note that you have to actually click in the frame and make an edit for the text to recompose. If you stay out of the story, no reflow will occur.
Alternatively, if you want to trigger the reflow everywhere so you can see it and deal with it, use the keyboard shortcut for Recompose All Stories: Command+Option+/ on Mac or Ctrl+Alt+/ on Windows. You don’t have to have your cursor in a text frame to use that.
So the moral of the story is, be careful when working with old files in InDesign 2020, and keep a close eye out for text reflow. While the new text wrap/indent behavior is technically correct, it has the potential to cause a lot of headaches for people opening old files where text wrap and paragraph indents overlap.