I'm working on a book with complicated layout. layout

Each spread has three text features:

  • A — main text paragraph
  • B — side text paragraph
  • C — paragraph number

Each A-paragraph must have a number. I figured out how to assign it automatically. Also each A-paragraph must have a B-paragraph aligned with it. I have no idea how to accomplish it.

Right now I do it manually by adding a text frame and aligning it with the first line of the A-paragraph. How can I automate it?

1 Answer 1


You need to use Anchored Objects.

  • Cut your side text paragraph frame.
  • Place the text cursor in the beginning of the main paragraph.
  • Paste in the side text frame.
  • Select it, right-click it and choose Anchored Object > Options.
  • Set Position to Custom and setup Anchored Object and Anchored Position appropriately for your design.
  • With the anchored object selected, create a new Object Style so you can easily apply the same settings to new text frames.

Now you can simply paste in side text frames in the beginning of paragraphs, and they will position themselves correctly and follow the main text as it flows.

Note that there is now a marker in the text where you pasted in the anchored object:

If you delete it, the anchored object will also be deleted.

  • Setting up everything so it reacts as expected can be quite a logical mind bender, but now you at least know where to fiddle. You can also look into using Auto-Sizing for your side text frames.
    – Wolff
    Commented Feb 16, 2020 at 12:22
  • Thanks a lot. Anchored objects work like a charm. What if I wanted to take the task to the next level? The idea is to link every anchored side text frame to a single text file. What should I start with? Data merge?
    – iamcyrk
    Commented Feb 21, 2020 at 10:36
  • It seems you are on a automation rampage 😊 Do you have many pages? Anyway I can't see how to do this. AFAIK data merge is more about making many similar pages with varying data - like business cards. Maybe a script is the best solution, but it might take longer to make than to do it manually. You should post it as a question.
    – Wolff
    Commented Feb 21, 2020 at 19:22
  • Good old manual labour did the trick. It took me about an hour or so. Thanks!
    – iamcyrk
    Commented Feb 26, 2020 at 15:55

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