Scaled Text Frames and Magnifying Glasses

In InDesign Help, I wrote about using preference settings to determine whether a scaled text frame has a magnifying glass effect: It’s buried in a list of notes:

If you edit the text or scale a frame within threaded frames when the Adjust Scaling Percentage preference is selected, the text is scaled, even if it moves to a different frame. However, if Apply To Content is selected, any text that flows to a different frame as a result of editing is no longer scaled.

Got that? I’d like to flesh out this idea a bit on my blog, where I don’t have to concern myself with a limited scope and translation resources.

Suppose you want to create a design effect in which text in the first frame is a larger size than the rest of the text in the thread. If you apply a larger point size to the text, you have a do guesswork to get it right. But if you scale the text frame, you can make sure that all text in the first text frame remains scaled while all the rest of the text isn’t. The trick is to make sure the right preference option is selected.To set up the introductory text frame, drag to create a text frame so that it’s the size you want it to be. Then hold down the Shift key to resize it proporitionally, but don’t scale the frame yet.


Scaling a text frame that’s threaded to the frame below.

Holding down Shift again, use the Scale tool to resize the text frame to its original size. Now the text in the scaled text frame is larger.


The text in the text frame is scaled.

What happens if you edit the text in the scaled text frame? It depends on which preference setting you selected. If you selected “Apply to Content” in General preferences, you’re out of luck — the scaled text may either spill out into the next frame or unscaled text may get sucked into the scaled frame.


After editing the text, scaled text is pushed into the next frame.

If you selected “Adjust Scaling Percentage,” the text frame acts as a magnifying glass, scaling only the text within the frame.


After editing the text, only the text in the text frame is scaled.

See how the text frame acts as a magnifying glass?A few extra notes:* You have to apply the preference setting before you scale the text frame — it doesn’t do any good to change the preference setting afterwards.

* David Blatner already wrote about this topic over at InDesign Secrets.

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