Personalize (and Sanitize) Your InDesign Placeholder Text

You may know that InDesign has a handy feature wherein you can fill a text box with quasi-random, Faux Latin text if you don’t have actual copy available. Simply click on any text frame, choose Type > Fill with Placeholder Text and, voila, your previously empty box fills with some kind of Latin-looking text that nicely shows your design as you intended it.

Or does it? What do we really know about that text? Why is “greeked” text apparently in Latin? And what are you really saying, entirely unbeknownst to yourself? Ignore me if you’re a designer by day and Latin scholar by night, but the rest of you…read on to take control of your own placeholder text.

Traditionally, the “Lorem Ipsum” text, as it is affectionately known, came from Cicero’s De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum (On the Purposes of Good and Evil). Sounds cool enough, but what do we really know about this Cicero? And can you really trust that Adobe engineers haven’t put all kinds of scandalous messages in that text in the intervening coupla thousand years? No, you can’t. But you can change that text to anything you want, simply and easily, thus remaining safe from the radical politics and notoriously blue humor of Roman philosophers and Seattle-based software engineers.

First, find yourself some text. Project Gutenberg is a fun place to go shopping if you’re a literary type and you like shopping when it’s free. I’ve chosen the first chapter of Alice in Wonderland (because you know, some days it feels like I’ve jumped down a large rabbit hole to a world where nothing quite makes sense and people speak in riddles). Put your desired text into a plain text file, name it “Placeholder.txt” and drop it in the application folder for InDesign.

That’s it. Next time you use Fill with Placeholder Text, your frames will fill with the pure wholesome placeholder goodness you’ve supplied.

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  • paragraphing placeholder text

    InDesign ignores the return characters in my placeholder.txt file.

  • You’re right, that’s annoying

    Gonna do a little investigating to see if there’s a fix for that. Thanks for bringing it up!

  • Can you please reveal where

    Can you please reveal where is the application folder for InDesign CS4 located in a PC?

  • Look in C:\\Program Files\\Adobe

    That’s where it goes by default on the PC.

    May have to use Folder Options to reveal otherwise hidden system files.

  • Works like a charm.

    Deeply grateful for your wisdom all knowing one.

  • extra clicked

    now I can’t delete it..the post of mine there is.

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