InDesign makes it surprisingly difficult to break the link between two text frames without otherwise modifying the layout.

The official way of breaking the thread between frames is to click the in-port or out-port of a text frame, and then click again inside the text frame itself (described here). This will break the link to the previous or next frame. But it also makes any text that cannot fit into the text frame go into overset mode. So an extra step is required: Cutting any overset text, and pasting it back into its text frame.

A number of scripts exist to simplify this procedure, but as far as I can tell none, individually, provide all the options that Break Text Thread does.

With Break Text Thread you can easily:

  • Break the link to the next text frame
  • Break the link to the previous text frame
  • Break the link between all frames in a selected story
  • and (the most interesting option, IMO) break the link before any text frames containing a specific paragraph style.

This last option makes it easy to break up a long document containing many chapters all as a single story into separate stories, one per chapter.

When you run the script, you get the following UI, which is pretty straightforward.

Screenshot of Break Text Thread UI


Select some text, or a text frame, and run the script.

Choose the appropriate option and click OK.

That’s it!

(This script should work with all recent versions of InDesign, including the latest, on both Windows and Mac.)


The default selection when you run the script depends on what you have selected in InDesign before running it.

If you just want to break the frame after a particular text frame, select the frame and then run the script. When a text frame is selected, the default choice in Break Text Thread is the second option (“Break thread AFTER”). Also, the OK button is targeted, so really all you need to do is select a frame, run the script, hit Enter, and the thread to the next frame will be broken.

If you’re planning to use the fourth option – break thread according to paragraph style – place your text cursor in a paragraph that has the style applied to it before running the script (rather than selecting a text frame, as previously).

For instance, if you plan to divide a book according to the Chapter Title paragraph style, place the text cursor in a chapter title.

Now when you run the script, the style dropdown will be preselected with the style under the cursor (so you don’t need to wade through potentially dozens of paragraph styles in the dropdown).

(Of course, if you haven’t done this, or want to choose a different paragraph style, just select it from the dropdown list.)

Known Limitations

Continued Tables and Footnotes: The continued part will become overset. If you try to break the thread after a text frame containing a table or a footnote that continues to the next page (or frame), the continued part of the table or footnote will belong to the first frame and will be overset (it won’t appear inside the frame and instead a little red plus sign will appear to indicate overset text). And as a consequence, the layout of the text in the second text frame will be modified.

Endnotes 1: If you break the link between two frames containing endnotes (not references to endnotes, but the endnotes themselves), be careful! All the endnotes in the second frame onwards will stop behaving like proper, linked endnotes. Their endnote number will turn into this <?>. The reason is simple: At best, InDesign can only have one set of endnotes per story (or, sometimes, a single set of endnotes for all stories in the document, depending on your endnote-preference settings). So splitting an endnote story into two unthreaded stories means that only one of them can remain an endnote story. The second becomes regular text. Break Text Thread will warn you if the operation you’ve just performed has caused some endnotes to go missing.

Endnotes 2: If you break the link between two frames containing endnote references (not the endnotes themselves, but the main text of the chapter containing the references to endnotes) weird things might happen, especially if you’ve got your endnote preferences set to make the endnotes appear at the end of the story (rather than all together at the end of the document). In this case, InDesign does its best to make sure you don’t lose any endnotes. To achieve this, it has to create a new text frame for the second set of endnotes that has just been created (since you split the story into two, each story needs its own set of endnotes). In my experience, it plonks this new endnote frame right at the beginning of the document. And of course, this causes all pages to shift. So use with care!

Endnote Issues Workaround: To be on the safe side and stay in complete control, if your document uses endnotes and you want to use Break Text Thread, consider first converting all endnotes into footnotes. This way nothing will go missing. Afterwards you can convert the footnotes back to endnotes again.


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