InDesign Secrets: Why is text missing from my frame?

Published by | Thursday, December 15th, 2011

In this week’s free InDesign Secrets video, Anne-Marie Concepcion explores the case of the missing text. Quite often, you’ll find a blank area in your InDesign document where you know there should be text, but for some unknown reason, it’s missing from its frame. In this week’s free video our intrepid detective and keeper of InDesign secrets Anne-Marie takes you through a troubleshooting checklist to retrieve your lost words.

To start, Anne-Marie will show you how to spot troublesome hidden break-characters and describe the insidious ways these creatures can work themselves into your document. If that’s not it, you’ll see how to use the Story Editor to reveal text trouble spots and help gather clues. From there it’s all about troubleshooting. Is it a break instruction included in a paragraph style? Is your text color set to Paper, thus rendering it invisible? Are the indent and spacing settings correct in your Paragraph Styles? Or is something else afoot? Anne-Marie will help you unlock the mystery and free your missing text.

For members of the Online Training Library® Anne-Marie’s partner in InDesign secrecy, David Blatner, has an exclusive video this week, Preview and Presentation Mode, that helps you navigate and select the preview and presentation preferences that work best for you. (Because once you find your missing text, you’ll want to check it out accurately and be able to present it to your audience.)

Interested in more?
• All the InDesign Secrets on
• Courses by Anne-Marie Concepcion on
• Courses by David Blatner on
• All InDesign courses

Suggested courses to watch next:
• InDesign CS5 Essential Training
• InDesign CS5 New Features
Up and Running with InDesign
• InDesign FX series

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3 Responses to “InDesign Secrets: Why is text missing from my frame?”

  1. Ann Farr says:

    Disappearing text has been a ‘feature’ (?!!) of InD since version 4 as far as I know. There’s a whole section of it on the Adobe forum and it always seems to hit long documents with footnotes. One can happily lay out a chapter of a book, get it all neat and tidy with relevant styles, import pics/maps whatever, save it, go on to the next chapter etc. etc. Out of the blue, when next opening a chapter (any chapter with footnotes — all perfectly styled), bam, there’s a blank page and Preflight complains of overset text.

    Open the chapter: no column break, no style break, colour is fine, no right indent. Look in Story Editor, everything’s fine. What’s the cure? Select the black arrow, select the text frame on the empty page, hit the Up or Down key (or even enlarge the text frame by 0.001mm), and joy oh joy, the text returns.

    This doesn’t mean to say that the text won’t disappear from this frame the next time you want to make a PDF from it or something. Absolutely no one seems to know what the problem is (other than a document with footnotes) and we all have our little methods of jiggling the text frame.

    It doesn’t happen frequently and I for one can’t see why it happens at all, especially as I use templates for the books I set up …

    One assumes that Adobe reads what’s on the forums? This problem has also been sent in as a request to change.

  2. Thanks Ann! I’ve not heard of that one till now. Do you have a link to the forum thread?

    Also, mucho gracias for the fix! One more curative to add to the doctor’s bag.


  3. Barry says:

    Great stuff! Story editor – ah yes!

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