I using indesign to do an floorplan for a show.

I have drawn all my areas using the shape tool. I am then converting them to text boxes so I can have text labels on each shape. Some shapes are bespoke shapes and cannot be rotated.

enter image description here

So my question is when you begin a text box inside a custom shape, and you want to change the direction of the baseline inside the custom shape when it is a text box, how do you do this without rotating the whole textframe/shape?


  • Disconnect 'shape' from 'text' and you can rotate them independently. (You can always group them together again.)
    – Jongware
    Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 15:06
  • How do you disconnect?
    – joshmoto
    Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 15:14
  • Um, conceptually. If you have all frames drawn and ready, copy, paste in place. Remove text from 1; make the other a regular rectangle frame and use Fit to Contents. Then you can rotate the text independent of the shape.
    – Jongware
    Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 15:17
  • Ah this what my mate suggested. But I have over 500 stands and could do with keeping them in the same format so I can make adjustments to the colours and fonts on a global adjustment. So I take its impossible to rotate the baseline inside a shape without rotating the shape. Thats a shame :-(
    – joshmoto
    Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 15:23

2 Answers 2


You cannot rotate text inside a text frame. But...

To rotate the bounds of a text frame without also rotating the text inside,

  1. Select the text frame.
  2. Switch to the white arrow (the "Direct Selection Tool").
  3. Use "Select All". In the context of the white arrow, this means the points of your text frame's frame.
  4. Rotate any way you prefer: using the Rotate tool, entering a value into the Angle box in the Control bar, pressing the 90° Clockwise/Anticlockwise buttons, or use the Object > Transform > Rotate menu.

This means you have to adopt a 2-step approach to see just your text rotated "in place". Make sure the Reference Point proxy in your Control Bar has its center selected. Rotate the frame per above instructions. Select the object with the black arrow (toggling back to the black arrow is enough), and rotate it the same amount in the negative direction. If you are rotating by 90° steps, you can use the buttons for that in the Control Bar.

It would have been better to draw object and text as two disconnected objects, so you can change one's orientation without changing the others'. Even if you have grouped them together, you can select only the frame object to rotate just this with Object > Select > Content (there are also buttons for this in the Control Bar).

To easily change text formatting overall, you can apply a Paragraph Style to all of your text and change only this when required.


There is another solution: place label text inside a separate frame, then paste it into the parent frame as an anchored text element. Select the anchored element using a selection tool (not the text tool), and go to Object > Transform > Rotate, and it can be rotated to the desired angle within the parent frame whilst the parent stays in position. To return the label text to its original angle of rotation, go back to the Object menu.

Be aware that if the anchored text box is bigger than the parent it will be treated as overset text and not be visible. It can help to set the anchored text frame with the label text to autosize so that it is never bigger than it needs to be.

You could also set the parent frame to have the anchored text centred horizontally and vertically so that the text label sits in the middle of the frame.

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