InDesign Column Rules Demo

Waiting for the Column Rules Revolution, many of us console themselves with workarounds. The animation above is my contribution to this desperate competition. The trick consists in using in the background a second texframe, 90° rotated. In this underlying texframe, we create empty paragraphs (one for each rule) whose the leading is set to 0pt. Then, we make use of paragraph rules. The most important point is that the “rule frame” must have vertical justification set to “Justify” (Text frame options) and the first baseline fixed to 0 (Baseline Options).

Thanks to those settings, the “rule frame” is perfectly elastic. When you resize it --in width and/or in height--, the rules fit automatically the frame and stay uniformly distributed. To add a rule, you just need to key a new paragraph return. You can also decide to show or hide side rules, as illustrated below:

Configuring the column rules, including “side rules”.

Configuring the column rules, excluding “side rules”.

Then, position your customized “rule frame” behind the target text frame, and group them. Obviously, the front frame must be transparent, but it is not really a problem, because you can apply the desired background to the “rule frame”.

What is cool with this method? The resulting group is resizeable at will: the column rules always go with the flow.