I'm working with a 5 columns document, 3 are for body text and 2 are for margin notes.
When I try to import a document from MS Word (using Place) and then create the textframe by holding Shift and grabing a box (which would activate the autoflow), it doesn't work! None columns nor new pages are created. The textframe simply gets the little red plus square which indicates I have to create more frames.
However, when I don't grab any box (simply click on a single column holding Shift), it does create all the frames and pages I need, but in single columns.
Here are two images to illustrate the situation:
If you want to decide what properties should have those textFrames are added during autoflow,
create a textFrame and edit it on masterPage.
Then, when you choose "palce text" and Shift click on 1st page - your story will go to proper boxes.