Textflow editor demo

A device sometimes used in magazine layouts is to have the text of an article follow the irregular outline of an illustration. This page is an attempt to accomplish the same effect, using a combination of HTML markup and CSS rules. Basically, the image[s] and text paragraph[s] are wrapped in a relatively positioned DIV. The image is positioned absolutely, with coordinates top: 0, and left: 0 for left-aligned images or right: 0 for right-aligned images. Also, the image is given a width: auto; and height set to a number of lines of text in the paragraph multiplied by the paragraph's line-height and defined in em units. This results in the image being an exact number of lines high while it's original aspect ratio is preserved. The defined height should be kept as close to the image's original height as possible [or smaller], else the image will be stretched too much by the browser's rendering engine and image quality will suffer. NB: as is abundantly clear from the last example on this page, this markup does not work for a left-aligned image that is smaller than the right-aligned one; I will have to figure out how to accomplish that.

The img tag is followed by a number of spacer DIVs, floated and cleared left or right, depending on the image's position, each having a width such that the end of the DIV coincides with the outline of the image. These spacers push the text out so that it seems to follow the image's outline. The button marked toggle outlines above will show [or hide] the spacer DIVs. Placing the mouse pointer over one of these spacers and moving it horizontally allows you to adjust the width of the underlying spacer, moving the text in- or outwards. Once you're satisfied with the results, pressing the toggle values button will display the values used for the spacer lengths, ready for copy & paste.

The whole mechanism is contained in a little script called textFlowTool.js. Including this script in a page which has the above outlined markup will turn the page in a textflow editor. It is smart enough to cope with different font sizes, as is illustrated by the captions on each image in this page: the text has a font-size of 100%, the captions are set in .8em.

The 'demo' button is just showing off. Pressing it will run a little script that sets the values of the spacers to predetermined values so the text wraps nicely around the images. It then scrolls to the next paragraph and repeats. If it looks like an algorithm to automagically determine the outline of an image, I wish it were as that would be a lot easier but alas, it isn't.

This whole exercise was inspired by an article I ran into: Bigbaer's image text wrap tutorial. And of course, A List Apart had been there before as well. It even offers a PHP script to calculate widths automatically. [Oh, and apparently, they're called 'sandbags' rather than spacers.]

Left-aligned image

raptor
image 1 of a raptor dinosaur

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Morbi commodo, ipsum sed pharetra gravida, orci magna rhoncus neque, id pulvinar odio lorem non turpis. Nullam sit amet enim. Suspendisse id velit vitae ligula volutpat condimentum. Aliquam erat volutpat. Sed quis velit. Nulla facilisi. Nulla libero. Vivamus pharetra posuere sapien. Nam consectetuer. Sed aliquam, nunc eget euismod ullamcorper, lectus nunc ullamcorper orci, fermentum bibendum enim nibh eget ipsum. Donec porttitor ligula eu dolor. Maecenas vitae nulla consequat libero cursus venenatis. Nam magna enim, accumsan eu, blandit sed, blandit a, eros.

Quisque facilisis erat a dui. Nam malesuada ornare dolor. Cras gravida, diam sit amet rhoncus ornare, erat elit consectetuer erat, id egestas pede nibh eget odio. Proin tincidunt, velit vel porta elementum, magna diam molestie sapien, non aliquet massa pede eu diam. Aliquam iaculis. Fusce et ipsum et nulla tristique facilisis. Donec eget sem sit amet ligula viverra gravida. Etiam vehicula urna vel turpis. Suspendisse sagittis ante a urna. Morbi a est quis orci consequat rutrum. Nullam egestas feugiat felis. Integer adipiscing semper ligula. Nunc molestie, nisl sit amet cursus convallis, sapien lectus pretium metus, vitae pretium enim wisi id lectus. Donec vestibulum. Etiam vel nibh. Nulla facilisi. Mauris pharetra. Donec augue. Fusce ultrices, neque id dignissim ultrices, tellus mauris dictum elit, vel lacinia enim metus eu nunc.

Right-aligned image

raptor
image 2 of a raptor dinosaur

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Morbi commodo, ipsum sed pharetra gravida, orci magna rhoncus neque, id pulvinar odio lorem non turpis. Nullam sit amet enim. Suspendisse id velit vitae ligula volutpat condimentum. Aliquam erat volutpat. Sed quis velit. Nulla facilisi. Nulla libero. Vivamus pharetra posuere sapien. Nam consectetuer. Sed aliquam, nunc eget euismod ullamcorper, lectus nunc ullamcorper orci, fermentum bibendum enim nibh eget ipsum. Donec porttitor ligula eu dolor. Maecenas vitae nulla consequat libero cursus venenatis. Nam magna enim, accumsan eu, blandit sed, blandit a, eros.

Quisque facilisis erat a dui. Nam malesuada ornare dolor. Cras gravida, diam sit amet rhoncus ornare, erat elit consectetuer erat, id egestas pede nibh eget odio. Proin tincidunt, velit vel porta elementum, magna diam molestie sapien, non aliquet massa pede eu diam. Aliquam iaculis. Fusce et ipsum et nulla tristique facilisis. Donec eget sem sit amet ligula viverra gravida. Etiam vehicula urna vel turpis. Suspendisse sagittis ante a urna. Morbi a est quis orci consequat rutrum. Nullam egestas feugiat felis. Integer adipiscing semper ligula. Nunc molestie, nisl sit amet cursus convallis, sapien lectus pretium metus, vitae pretium enim wisi id lectus. Donec vestibulum. Etiam vel nibh. Nulla facilisi. Mauris pharetra. Donec augue. Fusce ultrices, neque id dignissim ultrices, tellus mauris dictum elit, vel lacinia enim metus eu nunc.

Left- and right-aligned same-size images

raptor raptor
image 4 of a raptor dinosaur
image 3 of a raptor dinosaur

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Morbi commodo, ipsum sed pharetra gravida, orci magna rhoncus neque, id pulvinar odio lorem non turpis. Nullam sit amet enim. Suspendisse id velit vitae ligula volutpat condimentum. Aliquam erat volutpat. Sed quis velit. Nulla facilisi. Nulla libero. Vivamus pharetra posuere sapien. Nam consectetuer. Sed aliquam, nunc eget euismod ullamcorper, lectus nunc ullamcorper orci, fermentum bibendum enim nibh eget ipsum. Donec porttitor ligula eu dolor. Maecenas vitae nulla consequat libero cursus venenatis. Nam magna enim, accumsan eu, blandit sed, blandit a, eros.

Quisque facilisis erat a dui. Nam malesuada ornare dolor. Cras gravida, diam sit amet rhoncus ornare, erat elit consectetuer erat, id egestas pede nibh eget odio. Proin tincidunt, velit vel porta elementum, magna diam molestie sapien, non aliquet massa pede eu diam. Aliquam iaculis. Fusce et ipsum et nulla tristique facilisis. Donec eget sem sit amet ligula viverra gravida. Etiam vehicula urna vel turpis. Suspendisse sagittis ante a urna. Morbi a est quis orci consequat rutrum. Nullam egestas feugiat felis. Integer adipiscing semper ligula. Nunc molestie, nisl sit amet cursus convallis, sapien lectus pretium metus, vitae pretium enim wisi id lectus. Donec vestibulum. Etiam vel nibh. Nulla facilisi. Mauris pharetra. Donec augue. Fusce ultrices, neque id dignissim ultrices, tellus mauris dictum elit, vel lacinia enim metus eu nunc.

Big left- and small right-aligned images

raptor raptor
image 6 of a raptor dinosaur
image 5 of a raptor dinosaur

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Morbi commodo, ipsum sed pharetra gravida, orci magna rhoncus neque, id pulvinar odio lorem non turpis. Nullam sit amet enim. Suspendisse id velit vitae ligula volutpat condimentum. Aliquam erat volutpat. Sed quis velit. Nulla facilisi. Nulla libero. Vivamus pharetra posuere sapien. Nam consectetuer. Sed aliquam, nunc eget euismod ullamcorper, lectus nunc ullamcorper orci, fermentum bibendum enim nibh eget ipsum. Donec porttitor ligula eu dolor. Maecenas vitae nulla consequat libero cursus venenatis. Nam magna enim, accumsan eu, blandit sed, blandit a, eros.

Quisque facilisis erat a dui. Nam malesuada ornare dolor. Cras gravida, diam sit amet rhoncus ornare, erat elit consectetuer erat, id egestas pede nibh eget odio. Proin tincidunt, velit vel porta elementum, magna diam molestie sapien, non aliquet massa pede eu diam. Aliquam iaculis. Fusce et ipsum et nulla tristique facilisis. Donec eget sem sit amet ligula viverra gravida. Etiam vehicula urna vel turpis. Suspendisse sagittis ante a urna. Morbi a est quis orci consequat rutrum. Nullam egestas feugiat felis. Integer adipiscing semper ligula. Nunc molestie, nisl sit amet cursus convallis, sapien lectus pretium metus, vitae pretium enim wisi id lectus. Donec vestibulum. Etiam vel nibh. Nulla facilisi. Mauris pharetra. Donec augue. Fusce ultrices, neque id dignissim ultrices, tellus mauris dictum elit, vel lacinia enim metus eu nunc.

Small left- and big right-aligned images

raptor raptor
image 7 of a raptor dinosaur
image 8 of a raptor dinosaur

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Morbi commodo, ipsum sed pharetra gravida, orci magna rhoncus neque, id pulvinar odio lorem non turpis. Nullam sit amet enim. Suspendisse id velit vitae ligula volutpat condimentum. Aliquam erat volutpat. Sed quis velit. Nulla facilisi. Nulla libero. Vivamus pharetra posuere sapien. Nam consectetuer. Sed aliquam, nunc eget euismod ullamcorper, lectus nunc ullamcorper orci, fermentum bibendum enim nibh eget ipsum. Donec porttitor ligula eu dolor. Maecenas vitae nulla consequat libero cursus venenatis. Nam magna enim, accumsan eu, blandit sed, blandit a, eros.

Quisque facilisis erat a dui. Nam malesuada ornare dolor. Cras gravida, diam sit amet rhoncus ornare, erat elit consectetuer erat, id egestas pede nibh eget odio. Proin tincidunt, velit vel porta elementum, magna diam molestie sapien, non aliquet massa pede eu diam. Aliquam iaculis. Fusce et ipsum et nulla tristique facilisis. Donec eget sem sit amet ligula viverra gravida. Etiam vehicula urna vel turpis. Suspendisse sagittis ante a urna. Morbi a est quis orci consequat rutrum. Nullam egestas feugiat felis. Integer adipiscing semper ligula. Nunc molestie, nisl sit amet cursus convallis, sapien lectus pretium metus, vitae pretium enim wisi id lectus. Donec vestibulum. Etiam vel nibh. Nulla facilisi. Mauris pharetra. Donec augue. Fusce ultrices, neque id dignissim ultrices, tellus mauris dictum elit, vel lacinia enim metus eu nunc.