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Aligning text margins and indents optically

From: Illustrator Insider Training: Type and Text

Video: Aligning text margins and indents optically

When we were discussing the different character settings that you have inside of Illustrator, one of them was something called Optical kerning. It was basically kerning that happened, but based on the optical way that the text looked, meaning based on the actual shapes themselves and not necessarily the mathematical size of that particular text. Well, the same thing also happens to apply when dealing with margins. For example, right now, if I take a look at this paragraph of text, it's currently set to be justified, meaning the left and the right side of the text frame define the bounds of the text.

Aligning text margins and indents optically

When we were discussing the different character settings that you have inside of Illustrator, one of them was something called Optical kerning. It was basically kerning that happened, but based on the optical way that the text looked, meaning based on the actual shapes themselves and not necessarily the mathematical size of that particular text. Well, the same thing also happens to apply when dealing with margins. For example, right now, if I take a look at this paragraph of text, it's currently set to be justified, meaning the left and the right side of the text frame define the bounds of the text.

So each line of text actually starts where the text frame starts and ends where the text frame ends. So if I select this object right now, I can see here is my one frame, and you can see that each line of text starts at the beginning and stretches all the way to the end. There is no rag setting here along the right side of the frame. Now, in this document here called margin_alignment, I actually have another layer here called the Background layer. And if I turn that layer on, you'll see that, from a mathematical perspective, I do have a line over here that is consistent.

The same thing applies here on the left side. However, because of the different letterforms and the shapes that appear inside of the text, my eye doesn't necessarily see a straight line until I turn that background on. So we see here that the line is indeed straight, but when I turn off that background again, my eye doesn't necessarily treat these punctuation marks, or hyphens for example, in the same way that it does the text. So my eye kind of sees a line that starts here, jumps out for the r and the g and the t, comes back in again for the n, back for the e, so on and so forth.

And the same thing applies here on the left side, where maybe I don't see the S and the e starting in the same place because my eye sees such a big white gap over here underneath the quote mark. So there are two settings inside of Illustrator that we can take advantage of to help us get an effect that's a little bit more visually appealing. I am going to select the frame itself, and from a frame perspective, I have a setting in my Type menu called Optical Margin Alignment, and this allows me to set my paragraph now to be aligned optically instead of mathematically.

Now, in truth, this applies just to the shapes themselves, so I don't really see that much of a difference. It's really looking at the letterforms, and it's making sure that the letterforms are adjusted just a little bit to be aligned more from an optical perspective. And this will change depending on the different typeface that I might be using. However, when it comes to different punctuation, for example commas, or hyphens or quote marks, I may want to use an effect called hanging that punctuation, so that the punctuation actually sits outside of the frame. Meaning that when Illustrator calculates where the actual text needs to be stretched to, it should only do that for the characters, but it should ignore the punctuation in that case.

We refer to that as hanging punctuation. I can access that through my Paragraph panel. So I am going to go to my Window menu here, scroll down to where it says Type, I will choose Paragraph. Next, I will go to the flyout menu of the Paragraph panel and choose this option here called Roman Hanging Punctuation. When I turn that option on, take a look at what happens. You can see that the hyphens themselves are pushed outside of the frame and it's the actual letters themselves that now align themselves to the edge of that frame. Same thing here for the comma and the same thing over here for the quote at the beginning of the paragraph.

In fact, now, if I turn that background on and I go ahead now and I deselect this, you can clearly see that the punctuation now is being pushed outside the frame, and that gives my eye a clear line straight down both the left and the right margins so my text looks more uniform and more clean. So if you are a stickler for aligning your type correctly, just keep in mind that Illustrator has two options: Optical Margin Alignment, which applies to the frame, and Roman Hanging Punctuation, which applies to the text within that frame.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator Insider Training: Type and Text
Illustrator Insider Training: Type and Text

52 video lessons · 14986 viewers

Mordy Golding
Author

 
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  1. 6m 13s
    1. Welcome
      1m 24s
    2. Art, typography, and Illustrator
      4m 23s
    3. Using the exercise files
      26s
  2. 38m 30s
    1. Knowing Illustrator's limitations
      5m 47s
    2. The three type objects in Illustrator
      11m 18s
    3. Area type, point type, and the bounding box
      4m 35s
    4. The difference between type and text
      3m 42s
    5. Unicode: consistent type for all
      4m 23s
    6. Bringing text from Microsoft Word into Illustrator
      8m 45s
  3. 39m 51s
    1. Understanding font types
      6m 28s
    2. Using the Glyphs panel
      8m 30s
    3. OpenType support and automatic glyph replacement
      9m 43s
    4. Previewing fonts as you use them
      5m 0s
    5. Converting text into editable vector paths
      6m 19s
    6. Using the Find Font feature
      3m 51s
  4. 49m 4s
    1. Setting up the document
      12m 26s
    2. Basic character settings and keyboard shortcuts
      7m 28s
    3. Kerning, tracking, and optical kerning
      13m 6s
    4. Using horizontal and vertical scaling
      4m 38s
    5. Using the Baseline Shift and Character Rotation options
      7m 28s
    6. Using underlines and strikethroughs
      2m 5s
    7. Working with small caps, superscript, and subscript
      1m 53s
  5. 46m 36s
    1. Basic paragraph settings and keyboard shortcuts
      6m 47s
    2. Setting tabs and leaders
      11m 51s
    3. Setting indents and spacing
      9m 6s
    4. Understanding hyphenation and justification settings
      10m 28s
    5. Understanding the composers in Illustrator
      8m 24s
  6. 16m 7s
    1. Threading text across multiple objects
      8m 17s
    2. Adding multiple text columns in a single object
      3m 29s
    3. Specifying an inset for area type objects
      4m 21s
  7. 32m 53s
    1. Text styles in Illustrator
      7m 6s
    2. Defining and modifying character styles
      10m 40s
    3. Defining and modifying paragraph styles
      5m 0s
    4. Understanding the style override
      5m 3s
    5. Sharing styles across documents
      2m 10s
    6. Changing default type settings
      2m 54s
  8. 37m 9s
    1. Aligning text margins and indents optically
      3m 53s
    2. Creating non-breaking text
      2m 36s
    3. Changing case
      1m 39s
    4. Using smart punctuation
      5m 12s
    5. Selecting type objects easily
      3m 20s
    6. Understanding hidden text codes
      2m 20s
    7. Checking spelling
      3m 3s
    8. Using language support to your advantage
      3m 41s
    9. Changing text with Find and Replace
      3m 54s
    10. Finding substituted fonts and glyphs
      3m 55s
    11. Wrapping text around objects
      3m 36s
  9. 16m 47s
    1. Setting type along a path
      10m 22s
    2. The difference between open and closed paths
      6m 25s
  10. 10m 57s
    1. Understanding legacy text
      4m 23s
    2. Updating legacy text
      6m 34s
  11. 1m 16s
    1. Next steps
      1m 16s

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