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I'm working on a large-ish project in InDesign, and it comes with a lot of text boxes of different sizes. Right now, I'm using some of the built-in InDesign borders for them, but I'd like to be able to play around with this, using different kinds of strokes or even decorative effects along the border. Unfortunately, InDesign doesn't really have options to fully customize this kind of thing.

I can achieve the same effect in Illustrator, but I haven't found any way to import this in a way that scales properly (rather than having to stretch and distort it).

For example, I have the following in InDesign: enter image description here

Instead, I would like to have something like this (border width exaggerated for emphasis): enter image description here

Or even something like this (again, random embellishments for illustration purposes): enter image description here

Failing that, I would also go for something not fully connected to the sides (so, the equivalent of "anchoring" some elements to two of the text box's corners):

enter image description here

Is there any way to set up one of the above so that it can scale automatically with differently-sized text boxes?

Thanks in advance!

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I don't think it's possible to fully automatize a closed border like the ones you show in InDesign.

The analog effect needs to be applied to the border as a whole to look good in my opinion. So I can only imagine something that either involves manipulating the final borders as vector in Illustrator or as raster in Photoshop and then use the result as a static layer in InDesign. The borders could even be hand-drawn, but that would be very time-consuming.

If you could live with the horizontal and vertical lines being stretched, it might be possible to put together a complex layered cake of frames to achieve that, but I don't think it will look good, so I'm left with an idea to automatize your last example with disconnected corners.


  • Start with four objects: two raster or vector objects for the corners, a content Text Frame (pink) for the text and a container Text Frame (yellow) to keep it all together.

  • (I'm using raster images for the corners so I'm setting their Blend Mode to Multiply so they won't cover the content.)

  • Cut and paste the top left corner frame, the bottom right corner frame and the content frame into the container frame one at the time.

  • Enter the top left frame's Anchored Object dialog, switch to Custom position, set Y Relative To to Text Frame, select the top left corner as Reference Point for both Anchored Object and Anchored Position and adjust X Offset and Y Offset until the lines of the graphics align with the container frame's edge.

  • Do the same with the bottom right corner frame, but with mirrored positional settings of course.

  • Enter the container frame's Text Frame Options, set the wanted Inset Spacing and set Auto-Sizing to Height and Width.

  • (I remove the colors which were only there for illustrational purposes.)

Now you have an object where you can put content into the content frame, resize it to your liking and the corners will follow along. You could even set Auto-Sizing on the content frame.

The downside is that to move the object you have to drag the inset of the container frame. If you drag the content frame, it will just move inside the container.

You also have to avoid dragging the corner frames. This could be fixed by checking their Prevent Manual Positioning setting.

I recommend making an Object Style for each of the four elements so you can easily edit the style of all borders in one go. If you also want to dynamically change the corners, you can of course edit the linked files.

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