InDesign: Working With Overset Text After Translation

November 16, 2016 Nicolas Carcano

One of the most common issues that occurs when adjusting the layout of a document after translation is text frame overset caused by the text expansion. In this blog, I will cover some recommendations and options to get maximum use of the tools offered in InDesign to adjust overset text.

Fix the Text Frame Manually

This is the most commonly used option. If you are a beginner, you need to know that when you find a red box with a plus in the lower right corner of a text frame, it means there is hidden text in that frame. Using the selection tool, you simply drag any of the frame handles on the frame's border to show the rest of the content.

I have a cool tip to make this easier that maybe you aren't familiar with. Select the frame and then press Cmd+Option+C (Mac) / Ctrl+Alt+C (Windows) to have the text frame grow vertically just enough so you see all the text in the frame or double-click a handle on an overset text frame to expand the height or width.

Add a New Text Frame to Show the Content

When you don't have more space on the frame and the page, you have different options to flow the text through enough new pages and frames to accommodate the overset text.

Flow text manually:

  1. Use the Place command to select a file, or click the out port of a selected text frame.
  2. Drag the loaded text icon to create a text frame the width and height of the area you define.

Flow text semi-automatically:

  1. With a loaded text icon, Alt-click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac OS) a page or frame.
  2. The text flows one text frame at a time, like in manual flow, but in this case the loaded text icon automatically reloads after each text frame is placed.

Flow text automatically:

  1. With the loaded text icon, hold down Shift, click the loaded text icon in the next page. InDesign creates new text frames and new document pages until all text is added to the document.

Flow text automatically (without adding pages):

  1. With a loaded text icon, hold down Shift+Alt (Windows) or Shift+Option (Mac OS).

Smart Text Reflow

This option is fully automatic and is great if you are editing the content directly into InDesign. It's also convenient to avoid overset text or for any other situations in which the text flow changes.

You can play with the settings to automatically allow pages to be added or removed when working in text frames that aren't based on master pages.

To changes the options go to:

  1. Preferences > Type
  2. Select the option Smart Text Reflow
  3. And turn off Limit to Primary Text Frames

So if you have overset text in your document InDesign will automatically add new text frames and pages to show all the content.


As you can see, you have a variety of options to display the text on your documents correctly for overset text as a result of translation. You only choose the option in InDesign most convenient according to your project requirements or whichever is most comfortable for you.

GPI's Multilingual Desktop Publishing Services

Globalization Partners International provides many services for  document translation and  website translation that involve multilingual desktop publishing services. This list below highlights some of the more common products used in such projects:

For more information, you may find some of our other blogs helpful:

Please feel free to contact GPI at with any questions about our language and technology services.  Also let us know if you have any interesting blog topics you would like us to cover in our future blogs. You may request a complimentary Translation Quote for your projects as well.


About the Author

Nicolas Carcano

Desktop Publishing Specialist. A native speaker of Spanish, Nicolás has expert skills on both Mac and PC platforms with many DTP applications including Adobe Tech Comm Suite, specifically structured and unstructured FrameMaker, InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop and others. He also has advanced skills in Microsoft Office products like PowerPoint and Word, as well as Quark.

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