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I know that the package cuted can do its job quite well. However I'd be interested in different layout than what cuted provides. I hope that the image will be worth milion words:

On the left is the cuted output, on the right is what I would like to achieve.

enter image description here

Minimal example using the cuted package:

\documentclass[a4paper,twocolumn]{article}

\usepackage{cuted}

\usepackage{lipsum}

\begin{document}

{\bfseries PIECE 1 \lipsum[1]}

\begin{strip}\leavevmode\kern15pt
\begin{minipage}{\dimexpr\linewidth-30pt\relax}

{\itshape PIECE 2 \lipsum[2-3]}

\end{minipage}
\end{strip}

{\scshape PIECE 3 \lipsum[4-6]}

\end{document}
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Interesting. In fact it might even be a little simpler than column balancing. Just one question: Do you want the text to run on after area 3 to the next page or is it sufficient to specify one page this way? –  Stephan Lehmke Sep 6 '12 at 20:51
    
It is a one page of a whole large document. The problems arises in the second case where you modify the "previous column". –  tohecz Sep 6 '12 at 21:03
    
One big problem with this approach is how it "stacks". With the cuted approach, no problem, you can have multiple instances of balanced columns on one page. With your approach, column breaking will get tricky, and furthermore the reader might get confused where to continue reading, at least if you don't allow text of the facing column to "run along" the aligned object. If you want to allow page breaks, you're not really in control which inserted objects go on what page. –  Stephan Lehmke Sep 6 '12 at 21:08
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1 Answer

With the flowfram package that I discover yesterday (thanks to Stephan Lemke) it is possible to have the text flowing in frames in any order you can imagine. But there are a little problem with the different width of piece "2", since this force the insertion of \framebreak stopping the free flow of text with the previous and next frame. Here is a MWE:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage[margin=2cm]{geometry}
\usepackage{flowfram}
\usepackage{lipsum}

\newflowframe[1-3]{0.45\textwidth}{.4\textheight}
{0\textwidth}{.6\textheight}[1A]

\newflowframe[1]{0.8\textwidth}{0.15\textheight}
{.0\textwidth}{.4\textheight}[2B]

\newflowframe[1-3]{0.45\textwidth}{.4\textheight}
{0\textwidth}{0\textheight}[3A]


\newflowframe[1-3]{0.45\textwidth}{.4\textheight}
{.5\textwidth}{.6\textheight}[3B]

\newflowframe[1-3]{0.45\textwidth}{.4\textheight}
{0.5\textwidth}{0\textheight}[3C]


\begin{document}
\lipsum[1]
\framebreak
\lipsum[2]
\framebreak
\lipsum[3-7]

\end{document}
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Nice! However, I need the text to "fit precisely" like it does with cuted package. Think of it like of a displayed equation or a similar object. –  tohecz Sep 7 '12 at 8:28
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