Align text across columns

Balance text across columns

In a layout that uses a multicolumn text frame, you can balance the text across columns that aren’t full of text—for example, columns on partly empty pages that precede forced page breaks, and columns on the last page of a document. You can balance text across columns throughout a text flow or in an individual text frame.

Balancing off and on

Balance text across columns throughout a text flow

1)If a document window is active, place the insertion point in the main text flow or click in the page margin. If a book window is active, select the documents you want to affect.

2)Choose Format > Page Layout > Column Layout.

3)Select Balance Columns and click Update Entire Flow.

Balance text across columns in a single text frame

1)Click in the text frame and choose Format > Customize Layout > Customize Text Frame.

Select Balance Columns and click Set.

Feather text to the bottom of text frames

When FrameMaker feathers text, it first adds space between paragraphs, up to a limit that you set. If more adjustment is necessary, it adds space between lines, up to another limit that you set. FrameMaker does not feather the text in a text frame in which text runs around graphics.

Before and after feathering


In a multicolumn text frame that contains straddles—paragraphs, tables, or anchored frames—FrameMaker adds vertical space to align the last baselines of text in adjacent columns above each straddle.

Before and after feathering with straddling


When text is feathered, the display of pages may be slower. For this reason, you may want to feather text only after you finish editing a document.

1)If a document window is active, place the insertion point in the main text flow. If a book window is active, select the documents you want to affect.

2)Choose Format > Page Layout > Line Layout.

3)Select Feather, and enter the maximum amount of space FrameMaker can add between lines (Maximum Interline Padding) and between paragraphs (Maximum Inter-Pgf Padding).

FrameMaker will not exceed the padding limits you set. If it’s not possible to feather text in a column without exceeding the limits, FrameMaker does not feather text in that column.

4)Click Update Flow.

note:   Feathering leaves room for the largest possible descender in the largest font size used in the line, even if no character with such a descender actually appears. If the last line in a column seems too high, check to see whether the column contains a nonprinting character (such as an anchor symbol) in a font that’s larger than that of the surrounding text.

Synchronizing baselines

When you synchronize (align) text in a flow, FrameMaker creates an invisible grid in each text frame and aligns the baseline of the first line of each specified paragraph to the grid. FrameMaker also aligns the first line after an anchored frame and tries to align the first line in each column.

note:   If feathering and synchronization are both on for a flow, feathering takes precedence over synchronization. However, the first lines in the columns are synchronized with each other.

Before and after synchronizing


Because headings in large fonts often appear at the tops of columns, you can specify a first-line synchronization limit. This limit controls whether the baseline of a heading is placed on the first grid line when the heading falls at the top of a column, even when the heading’s default font is larger than the grid can accommodate. To place the baseline of a heading on the first grid line, FrameMaker lets the heading extend above the top of the column as shown in the illustration. FrameMaker does not synchronize font sizes larger than the limit you set.

Synchronize baselines across columns

1)Check the paragraph formats of the paragraph types you want to synchronize to make sure they all have the same default font size and line spacing. Fixed line spacing should be on.

2)Click in the flow you want to synchronize (or select the documents in the book that you want to affect) and choose Format > Page Layout > Line Layout.

3)Select Baseline Synchronization and turn off Feather.

4)In the Synchronization area, enter the line spacing you want to use for the text frame grid in the Synchronize Pgf’s With Line Spacing Of text box. Use the same line spacing as in the para­graphs you want to synchronize. Otherwise, FrameMaker will not synchronize the paragraphs with the text frame grid.

5)In the First-Line Synchronization Limit text box, enter the largest font size to align at the top of a column. For example, suppose the line spacing for body paragraphs is 12 points, the column grid is 12 points, and the headings are 18 points. If you want the headings to be aligned when they appear at the top of a column, specify 18 as the first-line limit.

6)Click Update Flow. As no descenders appear above the first line in a column, the first grid line is offset from the top of the column a distance equaling two-thirds of the specified line spacing.

Synchronize baselines in adjacent text frames

If the tops of adjacent text frames start at different positions on a page, you may need to adjust their tops to line up their grids.

1)Line up the grids by resizing adjacent text frames so that the distance between their tops is evenly divisible by the grid. For example, if the grid is 12 points, you can start a text frame 144 points (12 times 12 points) from the top of an adjacent text frame.



A. Grid spacing B. Distance evenly divisible by the grid

tip:   Use the snap grid to correctly position the text frames. To do so, specify a snap grid equal to the text frame grid. Then resize the text frames until their tops snap to the grid.

September 30, 2016

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