Can I set up master pages so each page has a 2 col. single frame and so span column setting works?
Thanks for the help.
Yes, you can do that. Create a 1-page document. I'll imagine you need facing pages.
Go to the master page A-Master. Create a text frame both left and right pages of the master. Select each and choose Object > Text Frame Options, and make each of them a 2-column text frame. For a facing page document, link the left page to the right page.
Go to page 1, and place text. Text will flow from frame to frame and you can use the Span Columns feature.
If you have InDesign CS6, you can speed up the process by turning on the Primary Text Frame option.
Guess I did something wrong! I thought I followed instructionsd, but I still have 2 individual text frames on the page, and the left hand page is quite wierd. BTW, the master page is a single, 2 column text frame, set up as primary text flow. Hope the screen grab helps.
Let's try it with pictures:
(1) Create the document with facing pages:
(2) Go to the A-Master master page. Create a frame on both right and left master pages. Link them (links showing in the picture).
(3) Select each of the master page frames and make it 2-column frame.
(4) Go to page 1 (right-hand page).
(5) Place the text. It flows through the document pages.
(6) Use the Span Columns feature where necessary.
OK, I think I know what's happening.
Primary Text Frames behave a bit differently from ordinary text frames on the master page. With an ordinary set of linked master frames, you hold down the Shift key when placing the text to enable auto-flow from frame to frame and have pages and frames added automatically. Primary text frames are designed to work with Smart Text Reflow and you just click the loaded cursor inside them and STR takes over to add frames and pages. If you hold the Shift key while trying to flow text into a Primary Text Frame that frame is ignored, and new ordinary frames are drawn using your column guides. You can see this happeing if you watch the loaded cursor -- as soon as you press the Shift key it will change from the text icon surrounded by parentheses (to indicate the text will be placed into an exisiting frame) to the wavy arrow inside a hard corner (to indicate text will autoflow into a thread of new frames instead of using any existing frame).
You set up your document originally with two columns, which made your primary text frame a two-column frame, but it also means that if the primary frame is ignored you will get two independent columns per page during auto-flow.
Bottom line here is to just click inside your frame and don't hold the shift key. And turn on Smart Text Reflow for Primary Text Frames in the prefs if you've had it off.
Hi, Peter S:
Great clear explanation of a common perplexing InDesign Primary Text Frame and Smart Text Reflow behavior! Many users will benefit.
Consider adding it to the FAQ, and perhaps posting a formal enhancement request to improve the documentation.