InDesign includes the ability to span text —headlines for example— across multiple columns or create subcolumns of text within a single column. Span Columns can be accessed either through the Control panel or through the Paragraph Style Options dialog when creating a paragraph style.

This InDesign feature will greatly benefit users who repurpose their content for different layouts and/or devices. Simplifying content—in this case, limiting the number of text boxes used—is a great first step in that process.

Set Up Span Columns

  1. Draw a multi-column text frame on a page and populate it with text.
  2. With the Text tool, select the paragraph in which you’d like to set the span and select Span Columns from the Control panel menu.* In this example, “Bold Headline text” was selected.
  3. Select how many columns to span, and set the spacing above and below the span, if desired.
  4. Click OK.

The result as shown above produces a single text box with text that spans the two-column text box. You can also use the Split Column option to “subdivide” a column as shown below.    splitcolumns   

So the next time you want to keep your text layout options flexible, consider trying out the time-saving Span Columns feature.

* The Control panel, which by default is located at the top of your workspace, offers quick access to options, commands, and other panels depending on the page item or tool selected. The Control Panel (drop-down) menu is accessed at the far right of this panel.

You can download our handbook, Using Adobe InDesign CC 2018, to learn even more!

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Posted by: Monica Murphy

Monica Murphy has worked in the publishing industry for over 30 years supporting publishing operations of various sizes. In her role as Technical Product Manager for Technology for Publishing, she shares her publishing application expertise supporting a broad range of publishing clients in InDesign best practices, cross-platform content workflows, and InDesign Template strategies. Her weekly tip and blog posts have a committed following in the InDesign community, and as a long-time participant in the InDesign pre-release community, she regularly analyzes and provides feedback for upcoming features. Monica manages the authoring and publication of Technology for Publishing’s handbooks on InDesign, InCopy, and other associated titles.