InDesign Chapter 2: Text Frames and Lists


Text frames in InDesign are where you put your text in the document. When you export an InDesign document to formats like PDF, EPUB, or HTML, the text frames become accessible areas. Unlike text boxes in Word, (not accessible), text frames in InDesign work well for creating accessible text in different formats.

When dealing with lengthy text in InDesign, it may be necessary to split it across multiple text frames. This can be done within the same page or on different pages of the InDesign document. To ensure a seamless reading experience for screen reader users, it's important to link these frames together as threaded frames. This allows the text to flow across the page instead of being perceived as separate text sections.

Section 2.1: Creating and Connecting Text Frames

  1. Open a blank document in InDesign. Select the Text Tool and drag the mouse across your document to create a box.

    Adobe InDesign Text Tool
    Adobe InDesign Page with two text box columns.
  2. Type in or copy and paste your text onto your document. Click on the Selection Tool, and rescale the text box so all content will fit in the textbox.

  3. Click the little blue box. This will change the mouse cursor to show a piece of the text. Click inside the second frame to link the two frames together.

Section 2.2: Paragraph Styles for Lists

When using InDesign, you can customize lists to be compatible with screen readers. To make your list accessible,

  1. Create a paragraph style: Go to the Paragraph Styles panel and create a new paragraph style for your list. Give it a clear and descriptive name.

  2. Access the "Bullets and Numbering" option:

    1. With the new paragraph style selected, click on the options menu (represented by three horizontal lines). It can be found in the upper-right corner of the Paragraph Styles panel. From the dropdown menu, choose "Bullets and Numbering."

  3. Customize the list appearance:

    1. In the Bullets and Numbering dialog box, you can select the type of list you want to create. Choose the appropriate list type for your content.

  4. Adjust list settings:

    1. Within the Bullets and Numbering dialog box, you can further customize the appearance of the list. Modify the bullet or number style, indentations, and spacing according to your preferences.

  5. Apply the paragraph style:

    1. Once you have customized the list appearance, click "OK" to save the changes. The paragraph style for your list is now configured.

  6. Apply the list style to your text:

  7. Apply the newly created paragraph style to the text you want to turn into a list. Highlight the text, and in the Paragraph Styles panel, click on the list style you created.

A list without the new style applied.

A list with the new style applied.

By following these steps, you can create meaningful lists in InDesign that are beneficial for screen reader users.