Make a topic go to the second column on a page

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Make a topic go to the second column on a page

Postby sarahb on Mon Oct 18, 2021 9:19 am

We have PDF files for our training course descriptions. We have probably 50 courses. The content is unique to each course, but we provide the same type of information in each (description, course length, objectives, agenda, etc.).

So, for our course descriptions, I have a page layout as follows:

page 1: Graphic banner at the topic with a single body text box for the rest of the page
page 2: Two columns

Course descriptions have 10 topics.

When building the TOC, I've assigned the first 4 topics to use the page 1 layout, and the remaining 6 topics to use the page 2 layout with the two-columns.

My struggle is with the page 2 layout with the two columns. How can I assign specific topics to either column 1 or column 2? Right now, it fills up column 1 first and then when that's full of content, it starts filling up column 2.

I can't create 6 smaller body text boxes and create a flow from one body text box to another, because the amount of content in each topic varies from course to course. So while the idea of 6 smaller body text boxes might work for one course, it won't work for another. The idea is have a single page layout that all the course descriptions can use.

So I guess my question is, is there any way to assign specific topics to specific columns using the TOC?

Thanks!
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Re: Make a topic go to the second column on a page

Postby Nita Beck on Mon Oct 18, 2021 11:43 am

I think the easiest thing to do is to apply inline formatting where you want content to break to the second column. (I know, I know... we're not supposed to use inline formatting. But given that you're producing PDF, I think you can get away with it here.) So say there is a particular paragraph that you want to start at the top of column 2. Select its Paragraph properties and then on the Breaks tab, set the colume-break-before field to Always.

Alternatively, you could create in your stylesheet either a generic selector that includes "column-break-before: always;" or a specific selector such as h2.ColumnBreakBefore to achieve the same and then apply that selector where needed.

These column breaks have nothing to do with TOC properties, btw, other than to make sure you specify the 2-col page layout where you want it to be used. I hope I haven't taken you off course (no pun intended).
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Re: Make a topic go to the second column on a page

Postby robdocsmith on Mon Oct 18, 2021 3:19 pm

A page layout will fill the columns in the numbered order specified in the page layout. If you open the page layout you'll see arrows indicating direction of text flow.
I use Nita's suggestion in my three column print docs. I know inline is not good, but sometimes it's the easiest and most direct way to guide text in multicolumn layouts.
I also have some headings set to always have a column break before, or a page break before in the css. I also sometimes group paragraphs together inside a no-break-inside div, forcing a page or column break and keeping text with graphic and/or heading to aid readability.

Rob
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