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  1. What Is a Text Flow Tag?
  2. Why Use Multiple Text Flows?
  3. Summary
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Why Use Multiple Text Flows?

If you use the Edit, Select All command, you see that all the text in a document is selected when using one flow tag such as A, with autoconnect turned on. This is easier to see if you zoom out to 25% view. Working with a single flow tag works well in documents in which text flows from page to page throughout the document. You see this in manuals all the time.

What if you want to create a newsletter? The text flow of a newsletter is very different from the text flow of a manual. In a newsletter, an article may begin on page 1, column 1, and continue on page 2, column 1. Although another article may begin on page 1, column 2 and continue on page 2, column 3. If you used just one flow tag, it is difficult to force the content of articles into the appropriate columns.

Different text flows allow you to connect page 1, column 1 and page 2, column 1 with the same flow tag A. This relates those two columns to each other, whereas they remain independent of other columns in the document. You then connect page 1, column 2 and page 2, column 3 to each other. Using this method, if you were to click inside text column 1 on page 1 and select Edit, Select All, only the text in these columns is selected. The remaining content included in other columns is not selected.

After you have independently connected text columns set up, you can type in column 1 on page 1, and text continues its flow into the related text column 1 on page 2.


Flow tags indicate the name of a text flow. You can have more than one text flow in documents.

Creating a Newsletter Page Layout

If you are beginning a brand-new document from scratch or developing a template, you get to be in charge of the initial document settings.

Setting up multiple text flows requires combining a few FrameMaker techniques. In this section, I show you how to do the following:

  • Create a new custom, multicolumn flow document

  • Understand how and why to use disconnected pages

  • How to connect and disconnect text frames

Create a New Document

After starting FrameMaker, this exercise shows to how to create a new document that uses three single-column text frame layouts. The single-column text frames comprise the basic layout grid for body pages.

  1. Select File, New, Document.

    The New window is displayed.

  2. Click the Portrait button.

    A new single-sided document is created with a one-column page layout, using Flow Tag A. This is the default FrameMaker template.

Set Up Three Text Frames

The next step is to create three separate text frames rather than just one. In case you are wondering, you don't create one text frame divided into three columns because you cannot connect or disconnect any one of those columns. You must create three separate text frames instead. This enables you to connect or disconnect any one of the three text frames.

  1. Select View, Master Pages.

    The Master Page is displayed.

  2. Control-click the text frame to select it.

  3. Select Graphics, Object Properties.

    The Object Properties for the selected text frame is displayed. If you click inside the text frame rather than select the text frame itself, you cannot perform this next step.

  4. Type 2 in the Width field.

  5. In the Flow pane, leave A as the flow tag, and turn off Autoconnect.

    In this example, newsletters require you to work with a document that does not automatically create new pages when text reaches the end of a text frame. You create new disconnected pages as needed in order to have the ability to connect and disconnect text frames throughout the newsletter.

  6. When you have finished, click the Set button.

You now have one text frame on the master page that is two inches wide. Create two more text frames, and use the Graphics Alignment and Distribution tools to arrange the text frames accordingly on the page. Following are abbreviated steps to complete this task:

  1. Control-click one time on the text frame to select it.

  2. Use Edit, Copy and then Edit, Paste to create another text frame.

    You are met with the Add New Text Frame window.

    Make certain that Template for Body Page Text Frame is selected, with Flow Tag A in the drop-down menu. Flow Tag A is the same tag used in the first created text frame.

  3. Click Add when you have finished.

    A new text frame is created.


When you copy and paste a text frame, you also see that Flow the New Text Frame has been connected to the end of Flow A alert. This message lets you know that each frame is connected to the previous frame on the same page. Don't confuse this with turning off autoconnect—in the off position, this ensures that new pages are not automatically created with the same connected text flow.

  1. Select Edit, Paste to create the third text frame.

    Follow the instruction in step 2.

  2. After you have created three text frames, line up the left side of the first text frame in the desired location on the left side of the page.

  3. Line up the right side of the third created text frame in the desired location on the right side of the page.

    Leave the middle text frame alone.

  4. Hold down Shift and then Control-click each text frame.

    All three text frames are selected.

  5. Use Graphics, Align to align the tops of the three text frames.

  6. Use Graphics, Distribute to distribute the three-text frame horizontally across the page with .25-edge gap.

When you have completed creating the three text frames and lining them up appropriately, return to body pages.

Add Disconnected Pages

To add blank pages, you must add disconnected pages to your document. Remember, with autoconnect turned off, pages are not automatically added after text frames fill up on a page. In fact, if a text frame overflows with text on a page, the text has no place to move to. Therefore, you see a line at the bottom of the text frame. This indicates that text overflow has occurred. Don't worry! The text is still present, just not visible at the moment.

After you add the disconnected pages, there is still more work to do in order to get text flowing in the right direction. You learn more about that in the next section of this article.

Here's how to add disconnected pages to your document:

  1. Select Special, Add Disconnected Pages.

    The Add Disconnected Pages window appears.

  2. Determine how many pages your newsletter requires, and type that number in the Number of Pages to Add field.

  3. Select Master Page from the drop-down menu.

    This is the Master Page layout that will be used by the new body pages you are presently creating. You can always change master page usage later as your requirements change.

  4. Click Add.

    You are returned to body pages. Notice the new page total displayed in the status bar.

Connect and Disconnect Text Frames

The most efficient way to manipulate text frames in body pages is to first add some content to give you a better idea of what you are working with. You can still make changes to text frames without text present. However, it is more difficult to see whether you actually did this correctly when you do not see the text flow or not flow from one text frame to another.

Thus far, you have set up three text frames and added disconnected pages to your document. Next, you learn how to connect page 1, text column 1 to page 2, text column 1.

  1. Click one time in page 1, text column 1.

  2. Select Format, Customize Layout, Disconnect Next.

    You are met with the FrameMaker Disconnect alert message reminding you of the action you are taking.

  3. Click OK to continue.

    You must disconnect column 1 from column 2 before you can connect column 1 to page 2, column 1.

  4. Click one time in page 2, text column 1.

  5. Follow the instructions in step 1.

  6. Return to page 1.

  7. Control-click one time on column 1.

    Column 1 appears selected.

  8. Go to page 2.

  9. Control-click one time on column 1.

    Page 2, column 1 appears selected. After you select this column, page 1, column 1 is no longer selected. You may be fooled into thinking this is not correct but that is exactly how this feature works. Leave page 2, column 1 selected.

  10. Select Format, Customize Layout, Connect Text Frames.

    You may encounter a FrameMaker alert that no undo is available for this command.

  11. Click OK to continue.

    The two text frames are connected.

After you flow text into page 1, column 1, that text automatically flows directly to page 2, column 1, bypassing the remaining two columns on page 1.


Zoom out to 25% view and select all the text in column 1. You get an instant view of how text flows in your document.

You can use this technique to arrange the remaining text columns in your newsletter document. Experiment with various methods to connect or disconnect columns.

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