Graphic Design Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for Graphic Design professionals, students, and enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am taking a bunch of text snippets and creating boxes that are 0.2 inches wider than the text snippet to use as a background for it. I have hundreds of these to make. I can't think of a way to automate this, as each text snippet has a different width. Any ideas? Currently I do this:

1. Click on text snippet
2. Copy width
3. Click on background box
4. Paste snippet's width into this width
5. Do a quick +0.2 calculation in the width box

I'd like a way to either automate this or make it quicker. Help is appreciated.

share|improve this question
Can the background effect be made part of the text snippet's own box? I can suggest how to get the text box to automate to the right width if that's the case. – Lauren Ipsum Apr 4 '11 at 17:38
That's a good idea! It's just a background color, which I can get using an object style; but I can't figure out how to size it based on the space the text takes up. Help would be appreciated. – bccarlso Apr 4 '11 at 18:29
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Make sure all your text is in a particular paragraph style.

In this paragraph style, make the alignment left, and add a left indent of 0.2 inches (or whatever you need).

Select multiple text boxes.

Select Object → Fitting → Fit Frame to Content. On the Mac it's Option + Apple + C.

Your text box will instantly zip down to the size of the text.

When you have resized ALL your text boxes, go back into the style and remove the left indent. You can change the alignment to centered if you need to.

(BONUS: If you need the box to be a certain height, you can select Object → Text Frame Options and set it manually there.)

share|improve this answer
Perfect, just what I was looking for, thanks! – bccarlso Apr 4 '11 at 23:56

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.