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How to Link and Unlink Text Frames in Adobe InDesign

As you probably know text frames in Adobe InDesign can be linked with means that text in one frame is linked or connected with text in linked frame. This means that changing text in previous frame (or in any of previous frames) like deleting or adding line of text will reflect in all linked frames. If you add extra line of text that will push all text beneath that line to the next line. This is true for all linked frames that comes after frame where you make changes.
Before/After adding line of text in preceding linked frame
Before/After adding line of text in preceding linked frame

How to see which frames are linked
To see relations between text frames and how they are linked go to View > Extras > Show Text Treads (Alt + Ctrl + Y). To hide text treads use same shortcut or command from View menu. When Show Text Treads is active you will see diagonal lines which connects output port on previous and input port on next text frame. Every two frames which are connected with diagonal line have and text inside connected or linked so changes like adding or deleting text in some of previous frames will affect text in all next frames.
Show/Hide text treads in Adobe InDesign
Show/Hide text treads in Adobe InDesign

How to unlink all text frames
You can quickly and easy unlink all text frames using SplitStory.jsx script from Window > Utilities > Scripts (Alt + Ctrl + F11). In Scripts panel expand Application folder then Samples folder and lastly expand JavaScript or VBScript subfolder and locate SplitStory.jsx or SplitStory.vbs. Click on any linked frame to select it then double click SplitStory script and you are done, all linked text frames are unlinked.
Unlink all text frames using SplitStory script
Unlink all text frames using SplitStory script

How to link unlinked frames
In previous step or explanation all linked frames are unlinked, but what if you want to have some frames linked and other unlinked? Use this method when you have only few frames either filled with text or empty. First click on output port of preceding frame and and move cursor over next frame you want to link. Below cursor you will see link icon, click on frame and you are done. You have linked two text frames. Nothing will change in any of two linked frames if frames are empty and does not contain overset text.
Link two frames
Link two frames. First click on output port in preceding frame then navigate mouse over frame you want to link. When link icon appear, click once to link frames.

How to unlink some text frames
If you have long document with lot of frames and you want to unlink some text frames but to keep other frames linked use this solution. To unlink two frames double click on output port of previous frame (or input port on next). When you double click on output port you will unlink that frame with next that comes but also and get overset text (red plus sign) and empty frames in all following frames. This mean that text from following frames is moved to frame on which you have clicked output port.
Unlink two frames in InDesign
To unlink two frames double click output port on preceding.

If you click red plus icon InDesign will load overset text in cursor and you can click on any frame to paste it but with result that frame from which overset text comes and frame where is pasted are linked. To paste text in any frame (or linked frames) without to link with previous use this tip:
With overset text loaded in cursor (click red plus sign to load overset text) click and drag anywhere on pasteboard to draw new text frame which will be filled with overset text. You do not need to draw big frame, draw small one. New small text frame will have overset text (red plus sign) but do not worry about that.
Draw text frame with loaded overset text
With loaded overset text, click and drag to draw new (small) text frame

Click on new small text frame on pasteboard and go to Script > Application > Samples > JavaScript > SplitStory.jsx. Double click SplitStory.jsx to unlink frames.
With small frame which contains overset text selected, run SplitStory script
With small frame which contains overset text selected, run SplitStory script

Select Type Tool and click anywhere inside small text frame on pasteboard then choose Edit > Select All (Ctrl + A). With all text selected choose Edit > Cut (Ctrl + X).
Click inside small text to see blinking cursor then select all using Ctrl + A keyboard shortcut

Next step is to click with Type Tool active (or double click with Move Tool) inside frame where you want to paste text without to link with any previous frame. When insertion point appear choose Edit > Paste (Ctrl + V) or right click and choose Paste. You will paste all selected text, if text does not fit in frame you will have red plus sign for overset text or text will flow to next linked frame as in screenshot below.
After pasting copied text from small frame on pasteboard
After pasting copied text from small frame on pasteboard

Last operation to perform is to select small text frame on pasteboard and to delete it.

If you want to split your story or in other words to unlink and some other frames repeat steps described previously in this section. I mean after unlinking first frame from rest of story you have second and all other frames linked but you want to unlink sixth and all other following frames. In that case double click on ouptut port on fifth frame and repeat steps  from clicking red plus sign to load overset text then draw small text frame on pasteboard…

Templates, Actions, Patterns, Styles, Frames

There is free script on InDesign Exchange which can split story before or after selected frame. Adobe ID is required (it is absolutely free) in order to download free StorySplitter script.

What will happen with formatting, images and objects in text frames
Probably you have question what will happen with formatting, images or any other object like shape if you have any. Formatting will be just fine as it is but note that you have option to paste text and without formatting. When images, graphics and shapes are concerned there are difference:
  1. If you have anchored object they will travel with text as they are, anchored to text. There wont be any changes, after performing steps to unlink frames and select all inside frame on pasteboard as previously explained you can paste content in any frame with exact same formating and layout. 
  2. If you have placed images, graphics or any other object without to anchor it to text, they will stay at same position after double clicking output port on some of the frames. You will get overset text at frame where you have double clicked output port and images or graphic will stay in same place.
When not anchored object is present, first double click output port on preceding frame
After double clicking output port on preceding frame when non anchored object is present in layout
When non anchored object is present in layout, all text will be loaded in frame on which output port is clicked but object will stay in same place where it was
Conclusion
Although InDesign is absolutely best page layout software which have excellent integration with other Adobe products especially with Photoshop, there are some missing features. One way to remind developers and tell them about our needs is to ask for feature on  Adobe Forums - InDesign Feature Requests. Another question you may have is: how to add a frame inside a sequence of threaded frames, please visit reference link below for answer.

Reference:
InDesign Help / Threading text

Product used in this tutorial: Adobe InDesign CS6

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