Autoflowing Text in InDesign from Master Page Threaded Text Boxes – TUTORIAL (Id2017CC)

0:00 Intro and designing the background image.
0:46 New document in InDesign.
1:10 Start on your Master Page
1:12 Import your background design. (5up in this example)
1:56 New layer for names or numbers.
2:05 Draw first text box. (Draw text box just the size of final text so that the next name or number will be forced into the next text box)
2:34 Add the rest of the text boxes on the Master Page
2:44 Thread text boxes on Master Page
3:17 Apply Master Page to page one (if it didn’t automatically)
3:33 Copy names or numbers from source (Or import, Cmd+D) from source document. (Sorry my screen capture cut off the actual list of numbers)
4:17 Paste names or numbers into the first txt box. Autoflow will add as many pages as needed until all names or numbers are used.
4:47 Apply font characteristics or apply character style.

Alternate method:
This is handy for flowing hundreds of names into a name tag template, flowing hundreds of numbers onto like tickets that need unique numbers, etc. when there is a multiple-up of the item.
1. Design the name tag or ticket or whatever in
Photoshop, Illustrator or Indesign. Put the design
on a Master Page in a multiple-up.
2. Lock its layer & make a new layer for the names or
3. On the name/number layer, draw a text box the
size, placement and position it needs to be on the
design. You can go ahead and set the character
style here (& delete it so its empty for later) but
usually when the names/numbers are imported
it overrides. It’s important to make the box close
to the final text size so that the next
name/number will flow to the next text box
(unless you don’t mind hitting return to position
each name/number.)
4. Copy paste that box (or step & repeat it) for the
other designs of the multiple-up.
5. Now, link the boxes with a regular Manual Text Flow.
6. Drag that Master to page 1.
7. At this point I have copied a list of names or
numbers from anywhere and pasted them in and
had it work. However, my latest attempt I seem to
have needed to Control D place the text. DO NOT
COMMAND-SHIFT-CLICK to select text box. Just
Control D and hover over the first text box.
Notice the squiggly cursor.
This is the AUTOFLOW cursor.
8. HOLD SHIFT for autoflowing the text. The names or
numbers will flow from the 1st text box, through
each of those linked on the master and then will
add a page and do the same over and over until all
your text is used. I’ve used this feature in a
situation with several different areas of flowing
text and its works there too. (Days of the week and
hours of the day in two different positions on the
9. Now you can select text in the first frame, Control A
and format the text anyway you like or apply a
Character Style.
Unfortunetly, at this point this is still something I haven’t figured
out: when you need to add names/numbers later, it won’t
continue the autoflow, it will just overset the additional text.

“Even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and then” and that’s my motto for these DIY videos. I made these videos mainly because I couldn’t find one for my specific project on YouTube.
Ask any questions you have in the comments. If you know anything about the project in this video or have experience yourself, please by all means comment and tell me what I should have known or done differently!

Night Rave by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (

Duration: 00:05:54