InDesign novice here. I am trying to create a catalog-type document to simplify the creation process for a client (previously using Illustrator), but I am not understanding very well how Master pages and text frames work.

What I'd like to achieve is the creation of a "Product template/block" that I can add repetitively on each page (6 per page), and products rearranging on next pages when I delete or add a new one.

I believed I would just create my text frames on the master and link each in relation to the other, but I am starting to think I am approaching this problem wrong: each text frame "threads", sending the text of one reference inside the previous box.

Ultimately I'd like to perform this through XML but since the Excel document of my client isn't harmonized yet, I'd like to give myself a heads-up and recreate the template in the meantime.

A copy of the initial page (from Illustrator), the block I'd like to appear on each section and move around, as well as what I've done so far on my master are attached.

What I'd like to achieve:

enter image description here

full size image

My progress so far:

enter image description here

Thanks in advance for saving my life if you can!

  • You talk about "products rearranging on next pages when I delete or add a new one". Do you mean when you manually add/delete products (like adding/deleting letters)? Or do you mean when you add/delete products in the excel document and then rebuild/refresh the catalog?
    – Wolff
    Oct 17, 2017 at 16:47
  • Well What I'd like is to be able to delete the whole "product block" (the blue square completely) and that product on the right goes to the left, and next ones follow. And vice-versa when adding a product, directly in Illustrator. Note that I am not 100% sure I will ever be able to use XML, hence my attempt at doing everything directly in InDesign first Oct 17, 2017 at 17:32
  • That's not going to happen Boris. InDesign doesn't really work that way. At least not in any predictable and reliable fashion.
    – Scott
    Oct 17, 2017 at 17:32
  • Sorry I meant "directly in InDesign". So you mean it isn't possible to build a 6 blocks template where each separate block "flows" with the possibility to add or remove one of those 6 blocks ? Oct 17, 2017 at 17:43
  • No, that's not possible (r advisable for print destined pieces - it's a recipe for major errors). I understand what you want.. like a responsive web page -- InDesign doesn't do that effectively in any instance I've ever seen.
    – Scott
    Oct 17, 2017 at 17:46

1 Answer 1


Don't link text frames unless the text is supposed to flow from one frame to the next.

You can also "jump" or force text to the next text frame via the Enter key.
(Not the "Return" key, the "Enter" key)

If each text frame is entirely unique to the product, you want separate text frames. This way it's possible to edit one text frame and not deal with text flowing to the next text frame.

Also be aware, master page text frames will need to be "overridden" on pages in order to make any edits. It's not possible to set up master page text frames and then allow them to be edited on pages themselves. Master page items are only editable on the Master Page.

This may not be a problem and configuring things the way you are may still be worthwhile. It would allow the addition of a new document page with positions and sizes all set, then merely override the master page items and edit as necessary. However, after overriding Master Page items, any further edits to the Master Page won't be reflected in the document pages.

  • Thanks for this answer. I am aware that all text here will be reflected on all pages, and ultimately I will delete the text itself (just using it here to simplify template creation "visually-speaking"). I found a work-around with Anchored objects, but I am unsure it is the right method ? Alternatively, how to I tell InDesign that each "product block" has to flow to the next block as shown in my blueprint ? Oct 17, 2017 at 17:28
  • I really don't understand. If you want things to flow from text frame to text frame, you then want the frames linked - but that comes with altering previous frames changing latter frames. That seems entirely contradictory to your question. Why do you feel everything needs to be "linked"? Just set up a series of 6 independent text frames and 6 independent image frames. You shouldn't need to anchor anything either.
    – Scott
    Oct 17, 2017 at 17:31
  • Scott Sorry I wasn't very clear. I dont want text to flow from frame to frame, I would like the whole "product blocks" to flow. My issue is each year some references/products are added or removed from the catalogue, with a layout that ultimately stays the same. So if I have to move 23 pages of products for a single product removed on a particular category, it's a complete nightmare. Oct 17, 2017 at 17:46
  • Yes, it's a nightmare... but that's catalog design. Believe me if there were a reliable way to do that, I'd have used it. But then, I don't know everything, maybe someone else has a method. You may want to clarify the question a bit @Boris It wasn't until after the comments that I understood what you really wanted to happen.
    – Scott
    Oct 17, 2017 at 17:48
  • It is possible to make the blocks flow from page to page simply by pasting them into text frames - one on each page linked together. But how to combine it with data merge...
    – Wolff
    Oct 17, 2017 at 18:50

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