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In this series, David Blatner and Anne-Marie Concepción, co-hosts of the web's top resource for InDesign tips and tricks, InDesignSecrets.com, share some hidden and sometimes surprising workflow tips that will make working in InDesign more efficient and more fun. The course covers built-in timesaving features such as Quick Apply and auto-expanding text, but also little-known tricks, such as using the eyedropper to copy and paste character and paragraph text attributes and making accurate selections by selecting through or even into objects.
New techniques will be added to the collection every other week, so check back early and often. Find more tips and tricks at indesignsecrets.com.
Anne-Marie Concepcion: I want to call this video "The case of the disappearing text!" Really, one of the most common and frequently asked questions that David and I get on InDesignSecrets is "how come I can't see my text?" Here is an actual reenactment of a typical file that a client sent us. I am going to scroll down here through this document and everything looks hunky-dory, right? And then suddenly, where is the text? What happened to the text? Why isn't it showing up? So they say that they've tried everything.
It used to show and now it doesn't show. They don't know want they did to make it not show. So I'm going to take you through these diagnostic steps of detective InDesign Secrets because seriously this happens so often it's ridiculous. The first thing that I look at when somebody says "I can't see the rest of the text," my first suspect is a hidden character. The hidden character called break, one of those break characters, under here Type > Insert Break Character. Because it is all too easy to just tap on the Enter key, to lean on it while you're reaching for a pen or something and enter a column break or a frame break or a page break or like an odd page break when you have no odd pages, because for some reason you've just numbered all your pages even.
So I go to where the text ends, zoom in really closely with the Command+Plus or Ctrl+Plus, turn on Hidden Characters if they are not already showing, which they are as you could see from the from the pilcrow here, and I do not see the telltale symbol which is let me go ahead and press the Enter key here and then jump this down. I am going to come back here to Golden and then there it is right there. This tiny little speck. Do you see how easy it is to miss? Often when you import documents like from Microsoft Word, if you forget to turn off Include Page Breaks, then those get converted to frame breaks or even actual page breaks.
So you place it into a set of threaded frames, but you don't see the rest of the text because it's jumping or trying to jump. However as you can see, that is not the issue here. There is nothing following this. So the next thing is I wonder if there actually is text following this. How can you see text that doesn't appear inside the text frame? Go to the Edit menu and choose Edit in Story Editor. The Story Editor window will show you all the text regardless of formatting or jumping or what have you. And aha! So the client was not lying. There actually is text there.
I can already see that it's overset, so that's the issue. If I didn't see this overset, if I just saw the rest of the text, you know what I would suspect? That somebody selected the text and changed the Fill Color to Paper or something like that so we couldn't see that text was actually there. But that's not the case here, as you can see if I select the text and look at Swatches. It's actually filled with a color. That's the subhead style and then this text body no indent is filled with black. So that's not the problem. Hmm! Now that I know the text is definitely there and there is a lot of text, then I know that the problem probably has to do with something right here with maybe with this one paragraph.
So let me see if I select this paragraph and cut it what happens. Aha! A whole pile of text ended up and then the problem is solved, right? Well, actually not quite, because there is probably supposed to still be text here. Let's again take a look in the Edit > Story Editor and again there's overset text and again we see subhead is the culprit. There is something happening with the subhead style.
So another thing I might check would be to select some of this text and then go to the Control panel menu to see if No Break is turned on. I've found that sometimes people will accidentally select a whole swath of text or like a multi-line paragraph and turn on No Break and then InDesign can't figure out where to break it, right? It's not allowed to break it so it just gives up over sets everything, starting with that paragraph. But I don't see a checkmark here so it's something else having to do with subhead itself. Now it has nothing to do with camera icon. It has to do with a cross-reference or hyperlink.
So let's go to Paragraph Styles and investigate subhead. And my first suspect when I'm looking at paragraph style that's been a bad boy is to go to the Keep Options because sometimes the person won't have set the Keep Options like everything is kept with everything else. It's actually impossible for InDesign to show everything, but no that's not the case here. Keep Lines Together, All Lines in Paragraph. That's pretty normal for a subhead. I'm looking at Start Paragraph, which is also another prime suspect. Sometimes people will set the Start Paragraph to start On the Next Even Page and there is No Even Pages, but no it says Start Anywhere. Hmm! Let's take another look. Let's try Hyphenation.
Maybe there are crazy hyphenation rules. If you disallow Hyphenation and then you add really long word, older versions of InDesign would just refuse to break the word and then would overset from then on. I noticed since version 5 or so that it'll go ahead and break it up even at what it considers to be logical syllables, so that's usually not the issues. Let's keep looking. Let's try Indents and Spacing. The problem is here. Do you see it? Right here, Right Indent.
Somehow the user set the Subhead Style to have a Right Indent of 30 pikas and this is exactly what happened with this user's file. Apparently, when the design was first created, the subheads extended the entire page width and they wanted them indented from the right by this huge amount. Then they redesigned the file and put them into narrower columns, but they forgot to change the right indent. So if I change the Right Indent from 30 to say 0, let's see if that fixes the problem, and yes it does. Everything comes back including when the subhead was used in these sidebars.
Another case solved by the team at InDesign Secrets. If this ever happens to you, you have disappearing text, just make sure to investigate all of the likely suspects.
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