Unlinking Text Boxes in InDesign CS5.5

The Split Story Script among other hidden gems.
This is how you find the Scripts Panel

During one of my recent projects for Creating WE I set up a document with linking text boxes. Well, as the project progressed, the text in the boxes changed from body text to headline text and then into image captions. At that point, it no longer made sense to have all the text boxes linked together, because as I was editing the text it was needlessly jumping from one text box to the next across pages. I needed a way to break all the text box links apart without disturbing the layout or having to recreate the boxes.



The solution was simple, a pre-installed script:

  1. Open your Scripts panel (Window> Utilities >Scripts)
  2. Look down the folder tree until you find Split Story (Application > Samples > SplitStory.jsx)
  3. Place your cursor in one frame of the linked story that you want to unlink
  4. Double-click the script name in the panel.
  5. InDesign will run the script and all the frames of the story will be “unlinked” without disturbing the layout of the content.

10 thoughts on “Unlinking Text Boxes in InDesign CS5.5

  1. Hi Michael
    this is a very helpful website!
    I am currently working on a book project on InDesign and need some help!
    I pasted in a 30 page text and image document from Word and very successfully un-linked all the threads with the Story Script you posted here. But now, it seems as I wiggle some text blocks and paragraphs and images around I am moving content and needing to re-link threads in order for it all to fit. But when I do that the thread blocks overlap one another and I am having trouble fitting it all in in an orderly fashion. any advice??

    1. Cara,

      A few things you might find useful:

      • If you press the “Enter key” (the one on the number pad, not the return key) at the end of a text paragraph, it will force InDesign to jump to the next linked text block. This is a useful way to force text to the next column in a multi-column text box as well.
      • Make sure you are sizing the text boxes to fit the content. If the boxes are exactly where they need to be, the text shouldn’t be overlapping

      Feel free to email me michael at michaelbud dot com of it want me to take a look at the actual file.

  2. Michael,
    I am currently working on a document in Indesign CS 5.5; When I click on the text tool and drag the mouse to make a text frame in which to type in, it is coming in with a black boarder around it. How do i remove the block boarder?

    I will appreciate to hear from you sir.

  3. Hey Patty Z: Imagine a left and right box of threaded text. Cut the right text box and then paste it back in place. This essentially copies the box and the text that was in it, but only the text that was in it, and sends the text that was in the cut box (right box) back into the uncut box (left box). The text string remains complete in the uncut box and you manually remove the duplicated text from the left box. You will probably see an overset icon in the left box. Here’s an easy way to remove overset text: place the cursor to the right of the last bit of text you want in the box and press Command-Shift-End. This will select all the text from the cursor point to the end of the text string. Hit Delete and you’re done.

  4. The SplitStory.jsx unlinks every text frame. That is not what I want. I want to unlink the story only at a specified frame. Any help?

  5. It’s all very well having a script to perform an action, but sureley there must be a modifier key to break a text thread. I can’t believe that Adobe created a function for linking text threads but left out the option to ‘unlink’??

  6. This feature is useful when you’re using InDesign as a text editor and you want a new page to be added whenever you type more text than can fit on the current page.

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