Missing Text InDesign – Solved!

It’s so frustrating when you’re working on a file and suddenly text starts to disappear. There are a couple of reason for this. Let’s have a look at why it occurs.

Text is missing in InDesign because there is overset text in a text box, represented by a little red outlined box with a + sign in it. Or there is a conflict with Font Ligatures where certain characters are missing throughout the document.

Sometimes problems just occur mid job and hours can be spent trying to figure out what has happened. Thank goodness for the internet. Let’s take a look at the options to fix missing text problems.

What is the Red Box with a + sign?

Missing text occurs when your text box on a page is not big enough or you have too much text to fit on one page.
This is a relatively simple fix and Adobe InDesign have made it easy to recognise when this happens.

Missing Text Indicator

Option 1:

If you have copied text from elsewhere and pasted it on a blank page, InDesign will paste a small text box on the page and the text will be contained within this box. If the box is not big enough – which it usually isn’t -you will have to increase the size of the text box. Grab a right hand corner and click and drag to the right. Hopefully now all your text will be visible.

Option 2:

If you click and drag your box and you still have the red + sign this means there is still more text hidden within the box. InDesign has a great tool for this, which is handy if you don’t know how much more text there is.

Click on the Text box.
Go to Edit – Edit in Story Editor

This will display a new panel of Text. Everything from the red line onwards is overset text. You can edit the text within this panel or just use it to give you an idea of how much further space is needed.

From here there are two options.
Delete the Overset Text.
By placing the cursor where you want your text to end, then hold Ctrl + Shift + End and press Delete.
This will remove all unseen text.
Although this is a good shortcut I don’t find it beneficial. The text was part of the document for a reason, right? Why would we just ditch it?

The second option is the better solution.

Click on the selection Tool and then click on the Red + square at the end of your text box. Your overset text is then part of the selection tool and you can now create a new linked text box anywhere you like. If you click and drop on a new page, top left corner, it will generate a full page text box.
Dropping it in the middle of the page will generate a text box the full width of your page but only the height from where you click.

If you find you still have more overset text within the box, just repeat the above steps.

Missing Letters Throughout the Document

This issue of missing letters is not as common as overset text but nonetheless still frustrating.
Again there are a couple of reasons why this happensand here’s how to fix them.
The main reason certain letters are missing is because of a Ligature Font Clash.
Ligatures are when two letter in a word are joined to make a single glyph. Examples are fl ff ae

This option needs to be turned on and off in InDesign. So if letters are missing let’s firstly see if it is being caused by the ligatures.

In the Character Panel – Top Right – Toggle the Ligatures On and Off.

If the Ligatures are on and the letters reappear when you toggle it off this is the problem.

So why is this happening?

Ligatures disappear because of a Font Clash. On your system you have two fonts with the same name ie two versions of the same font. Computer systems don’t like this at all and it can cause glitches like the one we are discussing.

One of these fonts needs to be removed in order to fix the problem.

In the Search Bar on your Desktop key in


This will locate your font folder. In the InDesign document identify which font you are using that is causing the missing letters. Copy the Font Name into the Font Folder Search Bar.

Here you will find two fonts with the same name. Select one and Right Click to Delete.

Restart your InDesign and your Ligatures will now appear as normal.

If this hasn’t worked your font may be corrupt. Go back to your font folder and remove all versions of this partuicular font and reinstall one.

If you haven’t got a clean font, I would simply select another font that looks similar and do a font replace within your whole document.

Or as a final alternative turn off your ligatures permanently. But this is sometimes not possible because of language or client preference.

Hopefully all your text is now visible and working as it should. It’s always a good idea to do a full restart after you have changed any fonts in your system.

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Tara Cunningham

My name is Tara. I am a Graphic Designer for the last 25+ years. Designing everything from Wedding stationery to Magazines. I have been using Adobe products since I was in college and know all the tips and tricks that make life a little easier when completing a project. Hopefully you will find the answer to your question on PurpleHotKeys.com

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