Fan of creative technology, elearning, instructional design and a little geeky

InDesign: Automatic Frame Resizing with AutoFit plug-in

The following tip gives an another example of how the Free Typefi’s AutoFit plug-in – downloadable from can be used with InDesign.  In this tip you’ll learn how text is run into a Header-Text Frame and a Body Content Text-Frame that are threaded to each other. As the text is formatted with Paragraph Styles, the Header and Body Content Text Frames automatically grow to fit the header text and to balance the body content across three columns.

Preparing the Paragraph Styles.

Everything starts with good preparation. This tip uses InDesign’s Next Style feature. There are three paragraph styles that will format the text. The first paragraph style “Heading” will format the header text. The second paragraph style “Body Text 1st Para” formats the first paragraph of the body text, and “Body Text” is applied to all remaining paragraphs.


Right-click the “Heading” style in the Paragraph Styles Panel and select Edit Heading… Set the Next Style for “Heading” to “Body Text 1st Para”.


Right-click the “Body Text 1st Para” style in the Paragraph Styles Panel and select Edit Body Text 1st Para… Set the Next Style for “Body Text 1st Para” to “Body Text”.


To ensure the first paragraph of the body text starts in a the Body Content Text Frame we’ve created, set Start Paragraph to “In Next Frame”.

Preparing the Text Frames

Start by drawing the Body Content Text Frame, with the Type Tool.


Access Object > Text Frame Options, and set number of columns, in my example, “3”, and if preferred also set the Vertical Justification.  I like inserting a Paragraph Spacing Limit, that ensures that additional space is inserted between paragraphs prior to it being inserted between the lines of paragraphs (which tends to look like the leading’s been increased).


Click OK to apply the settings. And insert some dummy text (not required).


I’ve inserted more text than fits in the frame I’ve created. From the Typefi AutoFit panel, select the size option Resize From Top, this ensures that as more content is added the frame will retain it’s top “Y”-coordinate (vertical top position), whilst growing downwards. I’m also setting a maximum Height “60p0”. as I want to ensure that the article text stays well within the Page Margins.


Next, draw a second Text Frame for the Header Content.


I’m inserting some dummy text again, as it makes it easier to see what’s going on.


Again, I’m setting this frame to Resize From Top (AutoFit Panel), I’m also applying a small Baseline Gap of 2p0, this ensure that the bottom of the frame extends at least 2p0 from the baseline of the last line of text in the frame.

Position the Header Text Frame at the top of the article. Overlapping the Body Content Text Frame.


Set the Text Wrap to Jump Object. A


Next thread the Header Text Frame with the Body Content Text Frame, by clicking the Out-Port of the Header Text Frame, then clicking the Body Content Text Frame.


Edit > Select All of the dummy text that was helping out until now, and delete this. You can group the two frames together (this makes it easier to move the article around on your page after content has been added).


To group the two frames, click-drag a marquee around them with the Selection Tool, then select Object > Group. We’re now ready try out the AutoFit functionality we’ve added to the two frames.

AutoFit at work

Place your text cursor in the Header Content Frame and start type-setting, or Place some text.


All of the text will sit inside the first frame, and this frame will grow to make the text fit.


Let’s format our text and see what happens next…  Edit > Select All. Right-click the Heading Paragraph style and select “Apply Heading then Next Style”.


Wow, this is cool!  The entire article runs in fully formatted. So what happens if you edit the heading?


Both Text Frames resize!!

Video Tutorial


Similar posts
  • Adobe InDesign and XML: A Reference Guide The following is a reference guide I have compiled over time for those of you who are looking at doing a little more with XML in InDesign (originally published Feb. 2011, last updated Feb 2018). If you have any extra information you’d like to see added to this guide, feel free to message me. Mapping XML tags to InDesign [...]
  • How to change the colour of bullet points in InDesig... A few weeks ago I recorded a short quick tip tutorial. InDesign’s Control panel, gives users a quick and easy way to format text as a bulleted list. Highlight the text, and click the Bulleted List button in the Paragraph Formatting Controls mode for the Control panel. This applies a universal bullet character as the [...]
  • Creating a pop-up window in a PDF with Adobe InDesig... In the following YouTube tutorial, we’ll create an interactive PDF from Adobe InDesign, in which we click on a button, which in turn opens up a simple pop-up window containing a close-box. When the close-box is clicked the pop-up window disappears [...]
  • InDesign: Facing pages with odd-numbered left pages Back in 2004 I wrote a tip for InDesign CS on how you could have the first page of your document be a left page AND have it start with page number 1. It’s hard to believe this is almost a decade ago… But a recent question on Facebook, made me think I should really [...]
  • Negative Lookbehind – GREP for Designers This is the fourth and final blog-posts in a series of posts on lookaheads and lookbehinds in GREP, written after speaking at the Perth InDesign User Group. My speaker notes are also available: What is GREP? (PDF download) (2.4Mb). In the previous three posts I briefly introduced GREP, and we took a look at Positive [...]

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *