Working with and applying master pages to layouts with a primary text flow has become less labor-intensive with the introduction of the primary text frame. Here are some suggestions for using this feature to your best advantage.

The Master Text Frame option from old versions was replaced with the Primary Text Frame option. Designers often create text frames on master pages in order to contain the main text flow. Primary Text Frames do not have to be overridden from the master page if a user wishes to flow text into them. Note: This does not apply to all text boxes on master pages—just those that are in the Primary Text Frame flow.

In addition, if a user applies a different master page to a document page that is already based on another master page, the content in the primary text flow will adapt to the Primary Text Frame on the newly applied master.

A Primary Text Frame on a master page cannot contain text and will automatically change to a regular master page text frame if text is typed into it. When a Primary Text Frame is selected on a page, an icon appears in the top left of the frame to indicate that it is a Primary Text Frame.

There can be only one primary text flow in a document. When pages are reflowed or a Primary Text Frame is moved or resized on a document page, the master page can be reapplied without duplicating text frames or adding empty master page text boxes that then need to be deleted.

There are two methods for applying a Primary Text Frame:

  • In the New Document dialog box, select the Primary Text Frame checkbox.
  • On a master page, select a text frame to view the frame icon. Then click on the frame icon (or CTL-click or right-click) to switch the frame to a Primary Text Frame. Click on the frame icon again to disable the Primary Text Frame and change it back to a regular text frame.

Note that the Primary Text Frame option is the default when the intent of a new document is switched to Web or Digital Publishing, as the flexibility of Primary Text Frames lends itself to creating alternate layouts.

So try creating a document with a Primary Text Frame, create different master pages, and then apply them after text has been flowed. You’ll be pleased with how easy Adobe has made this process!

Check out our updated handbook, Using Adobe InDesign CC 2017,  for all the latest features!


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Note: Information contained in this post is current at the time of posting. Visit the Technology for Publishing News & Events blog for the latest info on Adobe software releases and functionality.

Posted by: Monica Murphy

Monica Murphy is Technology for Publishing's publishing applications specialist, providing technical expertise and support for InCopy, InDesign, EPUB, XML, and template strategies. She keeps all TFP products on track and on the mark with her technical and training expertise.