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)

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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.

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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.
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