6. Editing Text

Lesson overview

In this lesson, you’ll learn how to do the following:

  • Enter and import text.

  • Find and change text and formatting.

  • Check the spelling in a document.

  • Edit a spelling dictionary.

  • Automatically correct misspelled words.

  • Use the Story Editor.

  • Move text by dragging and dropping.

  • Track changes.

  • Review the Adobe Font service.


This lesson will take about 45 minutes to complete. To get the lesson files used in this chapter, download them from the web page for this book at www.adobepress.com/InDesignCIB2020. For more information, see “Accessing the lesson files and Web Edition” in the Getting Started section at the beginning of this book.


Adobe InDesign offers many of the text-editing features you find in dedicated word-processing software, including the ability to search and replace text and formatting, check spelling, automatically correct spelling as you type, and track changes as you edit.

Getting started

In this lesson, you will perform editorial tasks commonly expected of a graphic designer. These include importing a Microsoft Word file containing an article and using the editorial features in InDesign to search and replace text and formatting, check spelling, enter and track text changes, and more.

Image Note

If you have not already downloaded the project files for this lesson to your computer from your Account page, make sure to do so now. See “Getting Started” at the beginning of the book.

  1. To ensure that the preferences and default settings of your InDesign program match those used in this lesson, move the InDesign Defaults file to a different folder following the procedure in “Saving and restoring the InDesign Defaults file” on pages 45.

  2. Start InDesign.

  3. The InDesign Home screen displays. Click Open at left. (If the Home screen does not display, choose File > Open from the InDesign menu bar.)

  4. Open the 06_Start.indd file in the Lesson06 folder, located inside the Lessons folder within the InDesignCIB folder on your hard disk.

    • Note that this document uses a font from the Adobe Font service called Urbana Light.

    • The font is automatically activated provided that your system is connected to the Internet and Creative Cloud.

    • If necessary and possible, temporarily connect to the Internet and log in to Creative Cloud to activate the font.

    • If this is not possible, the “Protecting Your Peas” headline will be highlighted in pink in Normal screen mode. In that case, you may apply a different font, such as Myriad Regular, to this headline.

    • For more information on the Adobe Font service, see the end of this lesson.

  5. Choose File > Save As, rename the file 06_Text.indd, and save it in the Lesson06 folder.

    Image Tip

    In general, it is not necessary to display images at full resolution when working with text. If you are working on a slower computer, you can leave the display at Typical Display or even gray out the images with Fast Display.

  6. If necessary, choose View > Display Performance > High Quality Display to display the document at a higher resolution.

  7. To ensure that the panels and menu commands match those used in this lesson, choose Window > Workspace > [Essentials], and then choose Window > Workspace > Reset Essentials.

  8. If you want to see what the finished document looks like, open the 06_End.indd file in the same folder. You can leave this document open to act as a guide as you work.

  9. When you’re ready to resume working on the lesson document, 06_Text.indd, display it by clicking its tab in the upper-left corner of the document window.

Entering and importing text

You can enter text directly into your InDesign documents, and you can import text prepared in other applications, such as word-processing software. To type text, you need to use the Type tool and select a text frame, text path, or table cell. Options for importing text include dragging files from the desktop, “loading” the cursor with one or more text files to import, or importing text into a selected text frame.

Entering text

Generally, graphic designers are not responsible for the text in all their layouts, but they are often asked to enter edits from a marked-up hard copy or Adobe PDF. In this exercise, you will use the Type tool to revise the headline.

Image Note

If you cannot see the frame edges, be sure that the screen mode is set to Normal (View > Screen Mode > Normal).

  1. Choose View > Screen Mode > Normal so that you can see layout aids such as guides.

  2. Choose View > Extras > Show Frame Edges.

    The text frames are outlined in gold so that you can see them. Locate the text frame on the left-facing page containing the headline “Protecting Your Peas.” You will change “Protecting” to “Protect” in the headline.

  3. Using the Type tool (), click in the text frame immediately to the right of the word “Protecting.”

  4. Press Backspace (Windows) or Delete (macOS) three times to delete the “ing.”

  5. Choose File > Save.

Importing text

When working with a template for a project such as a magazine, designers generally import article text into existing text frames. In this exercise, you will import a Microsoft Word file and apply body-copy formatting to it.

  1. Using the Type tool (), click in the first column of the text frame on the right-facing page.

  2. Choose File > Place. In the lower-left corner of the Place dialog box, make sure Show Import Options is not selected.

    Image Tip

    In the Place dialog box, you can Shift-click to select multiple text files. When you do this, the cursor is “loaded” with those files. You can then click in text frames or on the page to import the text from each file. This works well with content such as long captions that are saved in different text files.

  3. Navigate to and select the 06_Gardening.docx file in the Lesson06 folder, located inside the Lessons folder within the InDesignCIB folder on your hard disk.

  4. Click Open. If the Missing Fonts dialog box displays, click Close to dismiss it. You will apply a different font through a paragraph style.

    The text flows from column to column, filling the first two columns and part of the third.

  5. Choose Edit > Select All to select all the text in the story.

  6. Locate the Properties panel at right. In the Text Style area, click the Paragraph Styles tab. Click the menu below and select the Body Paragraph style.

  7. Click in the first body paragraph starting with “Peas are easy to grow.” Select First Body Paragraph from the Paragraph Styles menu in the Properties panel as shown.


    Now that you have changed the formatting, the story may no longer fit. In the lower-right corner of the text frame on the right-facing page, a red plus sign (+) will indicate overset text (additional text). Later, you will use the Story Editor to resolve this.

  8. Choose Edit > Deselect All to deselect the text.

  9. Choose File > Save.

Finding and changing text and formatting

Like most popular word-processing software, InDesign lets you search and replace text and formatting. Often while graphic designers are working on layouts, the copy is still being revised. When editors request global changes, Find/Change helps ensure accurate and consistent changes.

Finding and changing text

For this article, an editor decided to change all instances of “bird” to “blackbird.” You will change all instances of “bird” in the document.

  1. Using the Type tool (), click at the beginning of the story before “Peas are easy to grow” (on the right-facing page in the far-left column).

  2. Choose Edit > Find/Change.

  3. Click the menu in the Query field to see the built-in Find/Change options. Click each tab across the top to view other options: Text, GREP, Glyph, and Object.

    Image Tip

    You can toggle the search direction by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Enter (Windows) or Command+Option+Return (macOS).

  4. Click the Text tab for a simple search and replace of text.

  5. Click Forward for the search Direction.

  6. Type bird in the Find What box.

    Press Tab to navigate to the Change To box. Type blackbird.

    Using the Search menu in the Find/Change dialog box, you can choose the scope of the search such as Selection, Story, Document, or All Documents.

  7. Select Story from the Search menu, which defines the scope of the search.

    Point at each icon in the row below the Search menu to view its tool tip and see how it affects the Find/Change operation. For example, clicking the Whole Word icon () ensures that instances of the Find What text within another word will not be found or changed.

  8. Make sure that Case Sensitive () and Whole Word () are not selected.

  9. Click Find Next. When the first instance of “bird” is highlighted, click Change All.

    Image Tip

    When the Find/Change dialog box is open, you can still click in the text and make edits with the Type tool. The Find/Change dialog box remains open so that you can resume your search after editing the text.

  10. When the alert indicates that four additional replacements were made, click OK.

  11. Leave the Find/Change dialog box open for the next exercise.

Finding and changing formatting

The editors request one more global edit to this article; this one concerns formatting rather than spelling. The gardening tips in the article are preceded by the word “Tip,” which should be in purple and all capital letters.

Image Tip

Another way to achieve the change from “Tip:” to “TIP:” through Find/Change would be to apply the All Caps type style. Depending on how often this effect is used, you might create a character style that specifies All Caps and the purple color. You can then apply the character style through Find/Change.

  1. Using the Type tool (), click at the beginning of the story before “Peas are easy to grow” (on the right-facing page in the far-left column).

  2. Type Tip: in the Find What box. Press Tab to select the text in the Change To field and press Backspace or Delete.

  3. Type TIP: in the Change To box.

  4. Click Case Sensitive () below the Search menu.

  5. If necessary, click the More Options button to display formatting options for the found text.

  6. In the Change Format section at the bottom of the Find/Change dialog box, click the Specify Attributes To Change icon (). This displays the Change Format Settings dialog box.

  7. In the Change Format Settings dialog box, select Character Color in the list at the left.

  8. In the Character Color box, click Purple-Cool to select it.

  9. Click OK to return to the Find/Change dialog box.

    Notice the alert icon () that appears above the Change To box. This icon indicates that InDesign will change the found text to the specified formatting.

  10. Test your settings by clicking Find Next and then clicking Change. Once you confirm that “Tip:” changes to “TIP:” in purple, click Change All.

  11. When the alert indicates that two changes were made, click OK. Click Done to close the Find/Change dialog box.

  12. Choose File > Save.

Checking spelling

InDesign has features for checking spelling similar to the options in word-processing programs. You can check the spelling in selected text, an entire story, all the stories in a document, or all the stories in several open documents at once. To customize which words are flagged as possible misspellings, you can add words to your document’s dictionary. In addition, you can have InDesign flag possible spelling issues and correct spelling as you type.

Image Tip

Be sure to discuss with your client or editor whether you should be the one checking spelling in InDesign. Many editors prefer to check spelling themselves.

The Check Spelling dialog box provides the following buttons to handle the words shown in the Not In Dictionary field (otherwise known as suspect words):

  • Skip: Click Skip when you are confident of the spelling of the current suspect word but would like to review any other instances of the spelling in context.

  • Change: Click Change to change the spelling of the current instance of the suspect word to the spelling in the Change To field.

  • Ignore All: Click Ignore All when you are confident that the spelling of the suspect word is appropriate for use throughout the selection, story, or document. If you relaunch InDesign, words that were previously ignored will be flagged again during the next spell check.

  • Change All: Click Change All when you are confident that changing the spelling of the suspect word is appropriate for the entire selection, story, or document.

Checking spelling in the document

Before a document is ready for print or electronic distribution, it’s a good idea to check spelling. In this case, we suspect the newly imported story may be a little sloppy, so you will check the spelling now.

  1. If necessary, choose View > Fit Spread In Window to view both pages of the document.

  2. Using the Type tool (), click before the first word of the article you’ve been working on: “Peas are easy to grow.”

  3. Choose Edit > Spelling > Check Spelling.

    Using the Search menu in the Check Spelling dialog box, you can choose to check All Documents, Document, Story, To End Of Story, or Selection.

  4. Select Story from the Search menu at the bottom of the dialog box. The spell check starts automatically.

  5. InDesign highlights various words that do not match the spelling dictionary.

    Image Note

    Depending on the InDesign preferences set for Dictionary and Spelling, or whether you’ve added words to a custom dictionary, different words may be flagged. Simply experiment with the various Check Spelling options to get familiar with them.

    Handle the flagged words as follows:

    • Cover: Click Skip.

    • Blackbirds: Click Skip.

    • coton: Select “cotton” in the Suggested Corrections list and click Change.

    • gardner: Type gardener in the Change To field and click Change.

    • Soupe, Pois: Click Ignore All.

    • Orzo: Click Add to add this fairly common word to your user dictionary.

    • Fregola, Pancetta: Click Ignore All.

  6. Click Done.

  7. Choose File > Save.

Adding words to a document-specific dictionary

With InDesign, you can add words to your user dictionary or to a document-specific dictionary. If you work with multiple clients who may have different spelling preferences, for example, it is better to add words to a document-specific dictionary. In this case, you will add “pancetta” to your user dictionary.

Image Tip

If a word is not specific to one language—such as a person’s name—you can choose All Languages to add the word to every language’s spelling dictionary.

  1. Choose Edit > Spelling > User Dictionary to display the User Dictionary dialog box.

  2. If necessary, select User Dictionary from the Target menu.

  3. Type pancetta in the Word box.

  4. Click Add.

  5. Click Done, and then choose File > Save.


Automatically correcting misspelled words

Autocorrect takes the concept of dynamically checking spelling to the next level. With Autocorrect activated, InDesign automatically corrects misspelled words as you type them. Changes are made based on an internal list of commonly misspelled words. You can add other commonly misspelled words, including words in other languages, to this list if you like.

  1. Choose Edit > Preferences > Autocorrect (Windows) or InDesign > Preferences > Autocorrect (macOS) to display Autocorrect preferences.

    Image Tip

    You can use Autocorrect to quickly convert abbreviations into their spelled-out equivalents as you type. For example, you can quickly convert “WV” to “West Virginia.”

  2. Select the Enable Autocorrect option. By default, the list of commonly misspelled words is for English: USA.

    The editors have realized that “gardener” is frequently typed as “gardner,” missing an “e” in the middle. You will prevent this mistake by adding the misspelling and correct spelling to the Autocorrect list.

  3. Click Add. In the Add To Autocorrect List dialog box, type gardner in the Misspelled Word box and gardener in the Correction box.

  4. Click OK to add the word, and then click OK again to close the Preferences dialog box.

  5. Make sure that Edit > Spelling > Autocorrect is selected in the menu.

  6. Using the Type tool (), type the word gardner followed by a space anywhere in the text.

    Image Tip

    A word is autocorrected as soon as you finish typing it, as indicated by typing a space, period, comma, forward slash, or greater than/less than symbol.

  7. Notice that Autocorrect changes the spelling from “gardner” to “gardener.” Choose Edit > Undo until the word you added is deleted.

  8. Choose File > Save.

Editing text by dragging and dropping

To quickly cut and paste words in your document, InDesign allows you to drag and drop text within the same story, between frames, and between documents. You’ll now use drag and drop to move text from one paragraph to another in the magazine layout.

  1. Choose Edit > Preferences > Type (Windows) or InDesign > Preferences > Type (macOS) to display Type preferences.

  2. In the Drag And Drop Text Editing section, select Enable In Layout View. This option lets you drag and drop text in Layout view in addition to the Story Editor. Click OK.


    Image Tip

    When you drag and drop text, by default InDesign automatically adds and deletes spaces before and after words as necessary. If you need to turn off this feature, deselect Adjust Spacing Automatically When Cutting And Pasting Words in Type preferences.

  3. Locate the subhead below the “Protect Your Peas” headline on the left-facing page. Adjust the zoom level as necessary so that you can read the subhead text.

  4. Using the Type tool (), drag to select the words “LOW-CALORIE” along with the comma and the space after the comma.

  5. Position the I-bar pointer over the selected word until the pointer changes to the drag and drop icon ().

  6. Drag the pointer to the correct location for the words, after “HIGH-PROTEIN.”

    Image Tip

    If you want to copy a selected word instead of moving it, hold down the Alt (Windows) or Option (macOS) key after you start dragging.

  7. Click the pasteboard to deselect the text, and then choose File > Save.

Using the Story Editor

If you need to enter many text edits, rewrite a story, or cut a story, you can isolate the text with the Story Editor. The Story Editor window works as follows:

  • Text displays without formatting—with the exception of the styles bold, italic, and bold italic. Any graphics and other nontext elements are omitted to make editing easier.

  • The column to the left of the text displays a vertical depth ruler and the name of the paragraph style applied to each paragraph.

  • Dynamic spelling (if enabled) highlights misspelled words, just like in the document window.

  • If the Enable In Story Editor option is selected in Type preferences, you can also drag and drop text in the Story Editor, just as you did in the previous exercise.

  • In Story Editor Display preferences, you can customize the font, size, background color, and more for the Story Editor window.

The article on the right-facing page is too long to fit in the text frame. After you delete a sentence in the Story Editor, the story will fit.

  1. Choose View > Fit Spread In Window.

  2. Using the Type tool (), click in the first full paragraph in the third column of the article, starting with “Follow Crops.”

  3. Choose Edit > Edit In Story Editor. Position the Story Editor window next to the far-right column on the spread.

    Image Note

    If the Story Editor window goes behind the document window, you can bring it to the front by choosing its name from the bottom of the Window menu.

  4. Drag the vertical scroll bar in the Story Editor to the end of the story. Note the red vertical line that indicates the overset text.

  5. In the Story Editor, scroll down to the paragraph starting with “Follow Crops.” Locate and select the last sentence in the paragraph: “If the peas have been well enriched, two or three pounds of commercial fertilizer for each hundred feet of row will be sufficient for the second crop.” Be sure to select the final period.

  6. Press Backspace or Delete. If necessary, type a paragraph return before “Recipes” so it remains in a separate paragraph.

  7. Choose File > Save. Leave the Story Editor open for the next set of steps.

Tracking changes

For some projects, it’s important to see what changes are made to the text throughout the design and review process. In addition, reviewers may suggest changes that another user can accept or reject. As with a word-processing program, you can track text that is added, deleted, or moved using the Story Editor.

Image Tip

In Track Changes preferences, you can customize which changes are tracked and how the changes display in the Story Editor.

You will change one of the pea recipes listed.

Image Tip

InDesign provides a Notes panel and a Track Changes panel for reviewing and collaborating on documents (Window > Editorial, Type > Notes, and Type > Track Changes). The panel menus provide access to many of the controls.

  1. Choose Type > Track Changes > Track Changes In Current Story.

  2. In the Story Editor, locate the paragraph starting with “Recipes.”

  3. Using the Type tool () in the Story Editor, select “Seven Layer” and type Balsamic Pea over it.

    Notice how the changes are marked in the Story Editor window.

  4. With the Story Editor window still open, choose Type > Track Changes, and review the options for accepting and rejecting changes. Once you have reviewed the possibilities, choose Accept All Changes > In This Story.

  5. When the alert dialog box displays, click OK.

  6. Click the Story Editor window’s close box. If necessary, choose Edit > Spelling > Dynamic Spelling to disable this feature.

  7. Choose View > Screen Mode > Preview, and then choose File > Save.

Congratulations. You have finished the lesson.

Exploring on your own

Now that you have tried the basic text-editing tools in InDesign, experiment with them more to edit and format this document.

Image Tip

Publishers generally follow a style guide that governs issues such as spacing and punctuation. For example, The Associated Press Stylebook specifies a space on either side of an em dash, while The Chicago Manual of Style does not.

  1. Using the Type tool (), add subheads to the story and format them with options in the Control panel.

  2. If you have additional text files on your system, try dragging them from the desktop to the layout to see how they’re imported. Choose Edit > Undo if you don’t want to keep them in the document.

  3. Use the Find/Change dialog box to find all em dashes in the story and replace them with an em dash with a space on both sides of it. Click the @ icon next to the Find What box to search for special characters such as em dashes.

  4. Edit the story using the Story Editor and Track Changes. See how the different changes are marked, and experiment with accepting and rejecting the changes.

Review questions

1. Which tool lets you edit text?

2. Where are most of the commands for editing text?

3. What is the InDesign search-and-replace feature called?

4. While checking the spelling in a document, InDesign flags words that are not in the dictionary as spelling errors—but they are spelled correctly. How can you ensure these words are not flagged as misspelled every time you check spelling?

5. If you seem to continually type a word incorrectly, what can you do?

Review answers

1. The Type tool allows you to edit text.

2. Most commands for editing text are in the Edit menu and the Type menu.

3. InDesign uses the term Find/Change (Edit menu).

4. Add those words to the document’s or InDesign’s default spelling dictionary for the language or languages of your choice (Edit > Spelling > User Dictionary).

5. Add the word and preferred spelling to your Autocorrect preferences.

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