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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: Now I know that all of you know what this is, the problem here: the dreaded pinking. This is the kind of highlighting called Composition Highlighting that InDesign will add when you open up a document that uses a typeface that you don't have available to you on your computer. The Composition Highlighting means that it is substituting a different typeface. It's a fake typeface. If you click inside here, you can see that it's supposed to be Avenir (85 Heavy) but we don't have that. That's why it's in brackets.
There are actually many other types of highlighting that InDesign can do to other text situations and they aren't turned on by default. They can come in very handy though if you turn them on in diagnosing problem child files. Like is this type here... let's zoom in a bit. Is this my eyes or is this type really tracked in a lot? Like this right here. Or what is the difference between these two instances of the number 530 and other weirdnesses.
So let's see how you can do that. First of all to turn on the other composition highlightings, they are not turned on by default, go to Preferences. On the Mac, that would be under the InDesign menu > Preferences and on the PC, that last item under the Edit menu. We want to go to Composition, so there is Composition Highlighting and Substituted Fonts is turned on by default. So it's just highlighting substituted fonts. Let's turn on let's turn on all the other ones, Keep Violations, H&J Violations, Custom Tracking and Kerning, and Substituted Glyphs. And Keep Violations are if you have set up keep settings like keep the subhead with the next two lines of the follow paragraph, it's something you can set up in your paragraph style options or just for the paragraph.
If for some reason InDesign has to violate your keep settings, then it will highlight that, if you turn on this composition highlighting. Same thing with H&J Violations. If you set up certain settings for your hyphenation and justification and for whatever reason InDesign has to add another hyphen or has to violate your settings for how much word spacing there can be in a line, it will highlight that as well. If somebody has kerned or tracked characters in or out, on top of anything else, then it will automatically highlight custom tracking and kerning and finally, if you have turned on some kind of alternate for certain glyphs, then it will highlight the substituted glyphs.
So with all these turned down, let's see what we can see in our document. Whoa! I suggest you that you try this with your documents especially, if you're having other people work on them because its an eye opener, let me tell you. Now, most of these things are innocuous, other than of course the dreaded pinking. You never want to see that. But some of them definitely point to problems that you might not even realize the problems until you make a PDF or until you print it out. What we are looking at are the yellow lines here. You can see that they are sort of like different shades of yellow. I am not talking about the orange by the number. We will get to that in a second.
But the yellow highlighting points to H&J violations. So let's zoom in on this a bit. If I go to the Paragraph and go down to Justification, usually these problems are when for whatever reason because of the way that the type paragraph composer is working, it cannot fit the Word Spacing or Letter Spacing or Glyph Scaling within your minimum and maximum settings. Then it's going to highlight this. So for example, this line is probably exceeding the maximum amount of word spacing and letter spacing.
You can see for yourself, it's kind of airy. So it highlights it in this medium shade of yellow. The darker the shade of yellow, the more the violation is. So the ones that are the paler shade of yellow mean these are very close to what you had set. This is medium and then this is papa bear amount. This one for some reason, it looks to me like the word spacing is really wide. So let's click OK and zoom out again and then you can better judge the areas that InDesign is having problems with. And if this were really important to you, if you do not see any this yellow, then you would have to edit the text to get it to work right.
The dark orange is indicating Substituted Glyphs. Let's come back up here. Substituted Glyphs. I wish they would put like little patches of the color next to these. That's orange. Let's zoom in here. Now Substituted Glyphs is not as bad as Substituted Fonts. Alright, it usually means that you wanted InDesign to automatically substitute the normal glyph for the special kind of glyph, and it nearly always occurs with OpenType fonts because those are the typefaces that have lots of alternative glyphs that you can use.
So in this example, the reason that it's highlighting this in orange is because if we go to the OpenType menu, you can see that it's using Proportional Oldstyle for these numbers. So it is substituting the normal numbers. This is the default figure style. It's substituting the Proportional Oldstyle numbers for these normal numbers. If I click here and come up to the same menu, those are in the Default Figure Style. You will always see them around every instance of ligatures as well, because we have Ligatures turned on.
If I select this paragraph and I come up here and I turn off Ligatures, then that markup disappears and these turn into individual characters again. But of course we like Ligatures because they look better and they read better. So I will turn it back on. You will also see it if you make a word all caps like here, TOUR INFO. So this was typed as a capital T and then a lowercase "our" is being highlighted because if you look up here it's been set to be all caps.
Same thing for small caps. You will see the small caps automatically highlighted and that's a really nice trick for you to be able to quickly tell if somebody is using small caps because some of those small caps look like full caps. So just turn on Composition Highlighting or Substituted Glyphs and you can spot them right away. Then one to worry about is this green. The green is, if we come up here to Composition, it's the Custom Tracking/Kerning. And often, more often than I care to admit, I opened up documents that I've worked on in the past and turned on Composition Highlighting for that and I see huge patches of green like mold growing on my document.
And what this means is that I was trying to get things to fit or to break right and instead of doing it correctly by editing the text or by editing the H&J settings, I was just swiping over text and kerning it in and kerning it out. So, actually here because we are not seeing any green, this text really isn't tracked in or out at all. That was just a trick on my eye, but this actually is. Apparently, someone had selected this text to get it to fit inside this box. So just clicking inside this text shows you that this text was actually kerned in or out.
And you can go through an entire document and scroll through it and look to see now, like for example say that I selected these paragraphs and I want to kern them in, say -50, then they automatically get highlighted. So you can see it even as you work. Now if you're keeping score, you may have noticed, let me jump back to the Preferences with Command or Ctrl+K, in Composition Highlighting we are not seeing the problem with the Keep Violations. And that's because really they are rarer than a unicorn.
It's is very, very seldom that InDesign is not going to be able to adhere to the keep settings that you do. The worst that can happen is that it shows a overset symbol or it pushes the text to the next frame, when you don't want it to push there. So it's really hard, in fact it is impossible for me to come up with a situation, that would show you keep violations. But H&J Violations, Custom Tracking/ Kerning, and Substituted Glyphs are all fantastic diagnostic tools for you to highlight in your documents when you're trying to figure out what's happening with the type.
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