Finessing Files in InDesign

It is fun to find talented designers/layout artists and guide their hands as they work in InDesign. It is also interesting to hear their questions. I have worked at typesetting/desktop publishing for so many years that I do certain tasks as a matter of course, keeping in mind that an extra hour spent at the beginning will save precious minutes over the course of a series of books, or even during the edit phase of a project.

So, the next few blog entries will feature ways to create smarter styles so that text reflow in the editing phase of a project will go more smoothly. You will find discussions about times to use a Nonbreaking Space, how to set up a No Break Character Style, and even a very shallow discussion about Using GREP to Control Bad Breaks before they crop up. I hope you find some of these tips useful.

Playing in the Cloud … the Adobe Cloud.

Be careful what you share in groups … you may have to demonstrate what you know.

The other day I made a comment on my local Adobe user group site that I was playing around with Muse, that I liked the interface, that it reminded me of InDesign, that it was easy to use, blah blah blah.

They said, “Wow, great, could you demonstrate it to us?”

“Erm …”

Be careful what you share … you may have to demonstrate what you know (or don’t know!)

So, I did what any red-blooded newby Muse-user would do and I said, “Sure.”

Now here’s the thing: I am not an expert Muse-user. I am barely a beginner Muse-user. So, am I really qualified to demonstrate to my user group what I know?

Continue reading Playing in the Cloud … the Adobe Cloud.

InDesign Hyphenation Domination, Part 3: Turn it Off

No Hyphenation; No Worries! Right?

Screen shot of narrow text column with no hyphenation enabled
Disabling hyphenation in justified text can create rivers in narrow columns

Well, yes … and no. Some discretion is advised.

If your text is fully justified, you run the risk of creating distracting rivers the width of the Amazon in the text, especially if the columns are  narrow. And, be advised, in order to keep the text flowing, InDesign will force a break somewhere in a word that exceeds the column width, even with hyphenation disabled. And it will not use standard hyphenation rules to do so.

If this is your only option, there are a number of steps you can take to make the text look better. You can:

  • Change Kerning from Metrics to Optical
  • Play with the Word and Letter Spacing in the Paragraph Justification panel (more leeway = better spacing)
  • Switch from Paragraph Composer to Single Line Composer and adjusting the tracking (track whole paragraphs if Paragraph Composer is used; track single lines if the other option is chosen)

Continue reading InDesign Hyphenation Domination, Part 3: Turn it Off

InDesign Hyphenation Domination, Part 2: Cheats

Cheats? Really? Why?

Sometimes, in the course of copy-fitting a document (or to please an editor or art director) you will have to fix a hyphen that, despite your best efforts, appears in the running text.

You could insert a soft return to force the word to the next line, but you really don’t want to.

You could (but I strongly encourage you not to) insert a soft return (usually a shift-return) in order to simply move the word to the next line. Problem solved, right? Well, no. The reason you really don’t want to use this shortcut is because if the text reflows (due to editing, or text revisions, or text wraps caused by changing image placement) you could be introducing an unsightly return in the middle of a line of text.

Continue reading InDesign Hyphenation Domination, Part 2: Cheats

InDesign Hyphenation Domination

Unwanted Hyphens Got You Down?

Are you tired of reading and re-reading your InDesign document trying to cure unwanted or awkward hyphenation? Do you find yourself eliminating a hyphen in one line only to have another set of hyphens appear two lines down? Did the last word in a paragraph hyphenate, causing your editor to literally open his veins so that he’d have enough red ink to circle that egregious offense? I’ll be presenting some problem scenarios below, along with potential solutions.
Continue reading InDesign Hyphenation Domination