Thanks for coming to, the world's #1 resource for all things InDesign!

Where Is My Text? Text Disappears When Over Background Object

A. wrote:

I’m trying to add a text box on top of a “design” box. The text doesn’t show when it is over the “object” but if I drag it off I can see it. Any ideas?

This is a very common problem and can be very confusing if you’re not expecting it. The object under (0r over) the text frame probably has text wrap turned on.

You have two options. If you want to disable the text wrap entirely, you can select the object (the picture or background frame or whatever), choose Window > Text Wrap, and click the first button.

Alternatively, you can tell InDesign that this particular text frame (the one you want to put over the image/background) should not be affected by text wrap. To do that, select the text frame, choose Object > Text Frame Options (or press Cmd/Ctrl-B) and turn on the Ignore Text Wrap checkbox.

Knowing when text wrap is affecting your object can mean the difference between a happy day and a day spent banging your head against a wall.

All that said, there could also be one other explanation: The text might have align to baseline grid turned on. If that’s the case, then pulling the text frame onto the pasteboard would allow it to appear, as noted in this other great article.

David Blatner

David Blatner

David Blatner is the co-founder of the Creative Publishing Network, InDesign Magazine, and the author or co-author of 15 books, including Real World InDesign. His InDesign videos at are among the most watched InDesign training in the world. You can find more about David at
David Blatner

Latest posts by David Blatner (see all)

  • - November 30, -0001
Related Articles

69 Comments on “Where Is My Text? Text Disappears When Over Background Object

  1. Don’t forget – you may have a layer that is hidden, but has an object causing text wrapping within a frame on a layer that IS visible.

    To rectify this, right click the layer of interest, select Layer Options, and check “Suppress Text Wrap when Layer is Hidden.”

  2. I like to check the ?text wrap only affects text beneath? in the preferences, so if I need a text to ignore wrap… I just bring it to front…

  3. Isn’t the text beneath get rendered at a low res when it follows an alpha channel? Or was I misinformed and is there no need to put text in the top most layer (or at least on top of bitmaps & transparencies)?

  4. I have the same problem, somehow with CS4 the text shows up but when you open the same file with CS5 the text does disappear. Have tried the text wrap fix above, but that’s not the problem, nor an invisible layer, so there must be something else that can cause this.

  5. @albastr22: I see your point, but that is very limiting — it makes it work like QXP, but why limit yourself to having text under images? I like the flexibility of leaving that preference off.

    @Ed: Text can be put under transparency, but you need to be more aware of how it is output. For example, if you are printing to PDF/X4 and to a pdf print engine, there is no problem at all! If you have to use transparency flattening, then there may be a problem, or maybe not, depending on the flattener settings and the RIP.

    @Jim: That is mysterious! I would try exporting to IDML and re-opening that IDML file. It might be some other text formatting, too, such as a change in baseline grid or No Break applied to the text or something odd like that.

  6. As I see, there is a new Preference in InDesign CS5.
    You have to uncheck this option:

    Preferences -> Composition -> Text Wrap
    -> Text Wrap Only Affects Text Beneath

    That will help.

  7. Having just had to wrestle a table (came in the body of an email from a client) into submission, I can suggest another reason text disappears: The table row is too tall for the text frame, regardless of the amount of text in it. In this particular case, the problem was very non-obvious. It took using the story editor and zooming w-a-a-y out to see what was happening and fix it.

    In CS5, there’s a new “disappearing trick.” Images can vanish from frames very easily if you forget about the new content selector and start dragging the frame from the center: you’ve basically dragged the content out of the frame.

  8. Oh, and how about the invisible book panel? If you double-clicking a book file to open ID and the book, the book panel, er, “shows up” behind the Welcome panel!

    You could probably do a whole show on disappearing ID elements.

  9. Thanks a million for that tip. I thought I was going insane when my text was disappearing whenever I moved it over another object.

  10. Thanks, Gyula Surmann for CS5 trick with
    > Preferences -> Composition -> Text Wrap
    -> Text Wrap Only Affects Text Beneath

    It helps when I copy/paste frames from one document to another.

    Best wishes

  11. Do one thing always.

    put all your images in a layer and text in another .

    keep image layer at the bottom.

    practice these thing, may take some more li’l time, but it can avoide many of the future problems

  12. Thank you so much!! I’ve been trying to solve this for ages and thought I’d have to make a new document all over again because of a silly glitch. Phew!!

  13. Thank you so much! I’d been going crazy with this problem and had gone to numerous other sites looking for an answer. This is the first explanation that made sense and easily solved my problem.

  14. I’ve tried this, but it doesn’t help =(.

    I have a master page where I have a colored field which appears on all the pages. Over this I want a text field (not on the master) with text but the text turns invisible after a few seconds.

    I’ve tried all kinds of settings but nothing helps. Do you know what the problem can be?

  15. Hi David,

    Thanks so much for this help ‘tutorial’ and I wish I thought about checking on this issue a few days earlier.

    I have a text stream in one layer and wanted some photos inserted in the text so that if the text was edited the photos would move. Rather than add the photos to the image layer I realised I could paste them in the text. I then added another text layer with the photo name and owner and strangely, this label just disappeared. So I put the photo back outside the layer and it works.

    Now I realise I could have just turned off the text wrap on the image text. So I now need to go back to the children of a dozen templates to tidy that up.

    Thanks for your clear answer.

  16. Thank you!!!

    Wish I’d got here first rather than after an hour of migraine-inducing head banging on the desk wondering what I was doing wrong!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *