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Setting indents and spacing

From: Illustrator Insider Training: Type and Text

Video: Setting indents and spacing

Think back to your days of first and second grade when you were learning how to write and creating all your compositions, and of course one of the most important things you had to always do for your paragraphs is indent them. Indents are a great way for people to understand when one paragraph ends and when the next one begins. In addition, just about any basic word processor has indents built-in. So we pretty much know what indents are, and in reality, if you go to the Window menu, scroll to the bottom over here where it says Type, and then choose Paragraph, you will see some basic settings for indents here on the left and on the right and also something here called First-Line Indent, which is when only the first line is indented in your paragraph.

Setting indents and spacing

Think back to your days of first and second grade when you were learning how to write and creating all your compositions, and of course one of the most important things you had to always do for your paragraphs is indent them. Indents are a great way for people to understand when one paragraph ends and when the next one begins. In addition, just about any basic word processor has indents built-in. So we pretty much know what indents are, and in reality, if you go to the Window menu, scroll to the bottom over here where it says Type, and then choose Paragraph, you will see some basic settings for indents here on the left and on the right and also something here called First-Line Indent, which is when only the first line is indented in your paragraph.

Again, that just helps you understand where the beginning of a paragraph is. So I think you have a pretty good idea about what indents are. But what I want to share with you in this video is how you might be able to combine indents together with tabs, and something also called paragraph spacing to help you align and set better text inside of Illustrator. Now first, let's understand what paragraph spacing is. Right now, I am going to simply going to go ahead now and select this text object. It's one area textframe, and you can see that I have several different paragraphs in here. I actually have four paragraphs.

I have three different steps here and then the first paragraph here at the top. Now, we already discussed that the amount of space that appears between each line in the paragraph is referred to as leading. In fact, if I switch my Character panel here, you can here that my Leading setting is empty, because I have different values applied to different paragraphs here, but if I take my Type tool and I click maybe over here in this one, I can see that my Leading is set to 24 points. That means that the amount of space from this baseline here to the next baseline is 24 points.

However, because I don't have any indents right now set for my paragraps, if this were regular text, you might not be able to differentiate where one paragraph ends and where the next one begins. Besides indenting, another way to indicate where a paragraph begins is to add a little bit of extra space before the paragraph, so that the eye knows, oh, okay, this is now a new paragraph. Now there are two ways to create that kind of spacing. We can either add space before each paragraph-- so for example, I can specify that extra space is added before each paragraph begins--or I can add a space after a paragraph, meaning at the end of a paragraph, add some space there.

I can also choose to add space both before and after paragraph. So, to better understand that, I'm simply going to press Command+A or Ctrl+A to select all of my text over here, I am going to go to my Paragraph panel, and then over here where it says Space before, I am simply going to choose to add a few extra points of space. Let's maybe add six points of space. Now you can see that there is still consistent leading in each of these paragraphs, but at the beginning of each paragraph there is now some extra space that appears in front of it. In fact, to make it even easier to see, let's change that value to maybe 12 points.

So now if I go ahead and I deselect this type and I quickly look at it, my eye can very quickly see that oh, these are three distinct paragraphs or three steps underneath this one headline. And again, I've accomplished that not by adding extra leading to these lines, because that would confuse things more, and the reason why is because since this is an Area Type object, I can select the entire Area Type object and resize it. And if this turns into being more lines now, all the lines still have consistent 24-pt leading, but there's extra space that appears in front of each paragraph to kind of offset it just a little bit.

So I am going to actually go ahead and kind of make this little bit wider, and let's focus on other ways to make this list little bit more readable. I can see right now there are three distinct steps, but I want to able to kind of call attention more to the 1, the 2, and the 3. I want my eye to be drawn to those three different steps so that I can really see that ordering flowers is as easy as 1, 2, 3. Now in the previous movie, we learned about tabs inside of Illustrator. Let's see how we can use tabs, along with these indents and these spacing settings, to create a really smart-looking list.

The first thing I am going to do is I am actually going to add some tabs to my documents. So I am going to switch to my Type tool, I am going to click to get an insertion point right over here before the word Call, I am going to delete the space, and I am going to insert a tab instead. I am going to do the same thing for this space right here. Again, delete the space, hit a tab, and then come down to number 3, right before the R, delete that space, and add a tab here. Now one thing that I am also going to do--and in a minute you will understand why I am doing this--I am going to place a tab before the number here as well. So I am going to type in a tab before the number 1, before the number 2, and before the number 3.

So I now have a tab, the number 1 and a period, and then a tab, and then I have the word Call. And down here I have a tab, number 2, and the period, and then another tab, and then the word Choose. And the same thing down here as well. The reason why I'm doing this way is because I'm going to now use these tabs to align this in a way that looks really nice. I am going to hit Command+A or Ctrl+A to select all of my text now. I am going to press Command+Shift+T or Ctrl+Shift+T to bring up my Tabs panel. And again, you can also go to the Window menu, scroll down to where it says Type, and then choose Tabs to do that as well.

Now the first thing I want to do, I want the numbers to line up nicely, so I am going to use a Decimal Align tab. So I am simply going to go ahead now and choose that option, and then click right about let's say maybe over here where it says 24 pt. And you could see right now that I am defining a spot over here at 24 pts where that period should be, and this is because maybe there are more then 9 steps. As soon as I get to 10 or 11, I start having multiple values, so I always want everything aligned by the decimal. Next, I am going to click over here to create yet a new tab. And I don't really care where it is right now.

I am simply going to click right about over here. But I don't want this one to be a decimal tab; I want this to be a left-aligned tab. So now you could see that what Illustrator is doing is it's using a Decimal Align tab in this position to simply line up all the decimals, or the periods, here after my numbers. And then I have now Left Align tab so that whatever text appears after that decimal now always lines up in the exact same location. So the word Call, Choose, and Relax, all start in the same spot. The reason why I just put it out over here right now is because I just wanted to simply create some kind of space, but now I can kind of eyeball it.

I can click on that tab and kind of bring it back to maybe 36 pt and kind of see where that lines up, and that looks pretty good. So I am going to leave it set right now to 36 pt, and you could see that I have used two tabs here. Remember, we actually typed in two tabs. The first tab aligns my text by the period. The next tab sets my text to all start at that same location. So now I have my tab sets up to make this list literally pop right off the page. If you look over here on the far left of my Tabs panel, I have these two little triangles. It actually almost looks like one triangle right here, but if you look closely, it's kind of split in two, to a top half and a bottom half.

This triangle refers to my indent, and right now my indent is set to 0. But if I were to click on this triangle right now and drag it out over here, you can see that I am only dragging the bottom half of that triangle. The bottom half of this triangle refers to the actual left indent for this paragraph. The top half of the triangle refers to the first line indent. So by grabbing the bottom half of this triangle and positioning it here at the 36-pt mark, my entire paragraph is always going to be indented at exactly 36 pts.

But because the top half of the triangle is still here, I left it behind, that means my first line indent has no indent whatsoever. In fact, it has what we refer to as a negative indent, because the rest of the paragraph is aligned here, or it starts here. The first line starts way back over here. We can actually see what happened here inside the Paragraph panel. By dragging that bottom little half of the triangle out to 36 pt mark, I set my Left Indent to 36 pts. But because I did not drag the top part of that triangle, that stayed where it was, so it automatically got set to -36 points.

So take a look now at how I created my list. If I deselect my text right now, I can see that all my numbers are kind of almost hanging off of the paragraph itself. This is another way that we refer to as creating a hanging indent inside of Illustrator. My first line does not have an indent, or it has a negative value. It starts just the same way that regular text would start, but I use some Tab characters to make sure that my text aligns the way that I want it to. And the first word actually starts at that 36 pt, which lines up with any other now additional line that appears inside of that paragraph, because that's where the indent lines up to.

So if I now my text as a whole, I take my Area Text object, and I simply resize it, no matter how many lines I get, it's always going to align with that hanging indent that I've created. So it's another way to use tabs, along with indents and spacing, to create great- looking text inside of Illustrator.

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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 · 14960 viewers

Mordy Golding
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  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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