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Here's a review of your native InDesign options (which boil down to using Keep Options, and turning on Vertical Justification).
Harbs wrote a "Proper Vertical Justification" plugin that looks nice; I've never used it, and am not connected with in-tools.com (besides having purchased their products).
(I'm working wanting to be able to make changes to content by re-importing text for future versions without having to manually change the settings on every frame each time if there are major changes in the length of text etc).
I deal with "major changes in length of text" on a daily basis, due to text expansion or compression in translation. The best way to do that, in my experience, is to style all of your text frames with an Object Style, and to use Keep Options judiciously. At a minimum, make two Object Styles - one for "body" text and then one for "last page" text aligned to top.That way, you can just insert/remove pages in the middle of your chapter, and you won't need to access the text frame options at all.
I just have to say that from a design perspective running text like this should never, in my opinion, have a variable spacing as you would get with vertical justification. Text should always align across the spread, regardless of whether that leaves a gap at the bottom.
Not really sure!
To get really nice and fine layouts, the op will need to play, among other things, with horizontal approaches, ID vertical justification and Proper VJ [I use turn-around with Gabe Harbs's plugin because it's based on "space before"].
He'll need more as Mastermatic of Ariel Walden (Id-Extras.com).
No, really. Baselines in running text across the spread that are mis-aligned are jarring. One should break rules when it serves a purpose -- this case does not.
Peter, I don't say that!
When I talk about vertical justification, I mean play with space before title levels, never current text (even if it has space before option and excepted if only current text on the page) … and I always work with the text to limit the use of "op" VJ (playing with horizontal approaches to win/loose lines and a lot of "anticipation" looking at pages, before/after the current page).
But in this case the OP is saying that his titles always start at the top of the column on the next page and he wants to use VJ to fill a nearly full page before it.
While everyone is entitled to their opinion, to my mind this is as bad a choice as numbering pages on the right side with even numbers in RTL text, maybe even worse.