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044 Formatting fractions correctly

From: InDesign Secrets

Video: 044 Formatting fractions correctly

Nobody likes dealing with fractions in text but typesetting fractions doesn't have to be a pain. I created a plug-in, part of my Blatner Tools Suite, that automates formatting fractions. But I am just going to show you how you can do it manually in InDesign using the tools you already have. The key to making fractions easy in InDesign is having the right font. Some fonts have fractions built right into them, so it's easy to swap out a fake fraction for a real one. I am going to double-click on this to switch to the Type tool and then I can select that fraction and I can see that this font is Chaparral Pro.

044 Formatting fractions correctly

Nobody likes dealing with fractions in text but typesetting fractions doesn't have to be a pain. I created a plug-in, part of my Blatner Tools Suite, that automates formatting fractions. But I am just going to show you how you can do it manually in InDesign using the tools you already have. The key to making fractions easy in InDesign is having the right font. Some fonts have fractions built right into them, so it's easy to swap out a fake fraction for a real one. I am going to double-click on this to switch to the Type tool and then I can select that fraction and I can see that this font is Chaparral Pro.

Chaparral Pro is one of Adobe's Pro OpenType fonts, which has lots of fraction functionality built into it. So to turn this fake fraction into a real fraction, I will go to the right side of the Control Panel, all the way over here to the Control Panel menu, choose the OpenType submenu, and then choose Fractions. That's all it takes and it looks much better. So this is great. Really easy, unless you happen to have about 500 of these fonts throughout your document, you would not want to choose that menu 500 times.

So let me show you a trick to how you can turn these fractions into good looking fractions really quickly. Let me undo this with a Command+Z or Ctrl+Z on Windows, and instead, I am going to go to the Paragraph Styles panel, double-click on the Paragraph Style and I am going to build a GREP Style into this paragraph style. GREP Style is not that hard, it's not going to hurt, and here is how it woks. First, I am going to click on New GREP Style. That creates a new rule. Now the basic idea of GREP Styles is that it's going to search for a particular pattern and text, and the pattern we're looking for is a fraction, something that looks like a fraction, and it's going to apply a character style to whatever it finds.

What character style do you want it to apply? Well that's what we choose right here. I will click on None and I will choose a character style from this pop-up menu. We don't have a fraction style yet, so I will choose New Character Style and I am going to call it fraction. All this character style is going to do is apply the OpenType feature called Fractions, just like pulling it out of that OpenType menu. I will click OK and now we need to type the GREP code for finding a fraction. Here is how it works.

Click on this code down here to highlight it and then type this code, \d+, it actually already typed that for me, followed by a slash and then do the same thing again; \d+, just simple as that. That code really means find one or more digits followed by a slash, followed by one or more digits. That wasn't that hard, was it, because that's exactly what we're looking for; one or more digits, followed by a slash, followed by one or more digits. When I click OK, you will see that every fraction in this paragraph style gets turned into a real fraction.

I see one problem here that's really bugging me, and that is, some of these fractions have spaces before them between the main number and the fraction. I am going to get really geeky here with GREP Styles to get rid of that space. I will go back to my GREP Style pane, I am going to create a new GREP Style and this GREP Style is going to apply a new character style called Disappear. I like using the disappear character style whenever I want something to disappear in my text, in this case, I want that space to go away. And in order to make the text disappear, I change the size to about 1 point, I change the color to None, so it really disappears no matter what it is, and I usually go in here and change the Horizontal Scale to maybe 1%.

I am going to apply that Disappear style to anything that is a space, of course it can't just be any space, because all my spaces would disappear. I want it to be a space, so I just removed that code there and I just typed a space, and it only has to be a space that's followed by a fraction. Here's how we do that. I am going to go out to my @ sign pop-up menu, I am going to scroll down here to Match, and then I am going to choose Positive Lookahead. Again, that sounds scary, but all it really means is, look for a space that's followed by something.

It needs to come after that equal. What is it looking for? Well, I need to specify a fraction, right? So I am going to grab that text up here, copy it, come down here, and paste it, and now I am done. It's going to apply the Disappear character style to every space that's followed by a fraction. Let's try it out. I will click out here to make it take effect, I will click OK and we can see that all those spaces disappeared before the fraction. Of course, this space disappeared as well, so I think I made a little mistake there, I better fix that.

Let's go back and say this is going to be a edit to the GREP Style. I need to change this, so it's a space that's followed by a fraction and comes after a number. So I better go in here and say this is going to be a Match > Positive Lookbehind, so look behind a space, and it has to be a number which is that \d, let's try that. Click OK, ah! Now that's much better. If the space comes after a number and is followed by a fraction, the space disappears, but, if it's just a number, a fraction with outer number before it, the space stays.

Now as I said earlier, some fonts have fractions built in and some fonts don't. So what happens if I have to change my font? I will change this section blurb paragraph style to something else like Times, and all of a sudden, we'll see that this doesn't have fractions built into it. Now we're going to have to build those fractions manually in this kind of font. I am going to show you a way using character styles so it's repeatable and easy. I am going to create one character style for my numerator and a different character style for the denominator.

Let's start with a numerator. First, I am going to create a character style by Option or Alt+Clicking on this button and I am going to say this is my numerator. I could change the size of this manually, but instead, I prefer to change it based on the horizontal and vertical scale. That's because as the text around it gets bigger or smaller, the fraction will get bigger or smaller too because it's all based on the scale. I usually like my fractions a little bit wider than they are tall. So I will set this to a Horizontal Scale of 70 and a Vertical of 60, but it's completely up to you.

Use your judgment based on what font you're using. I will set this Baseline Shift of let's say 4. I also like giving the numerator and the denominator a stroke, just a little stroke. In fact, I am going to set this to black and just a tenth of a point here, just to give it a little bit of weight. That way it will match the text around it a little bit better. I will click OK and then apply that to the text. Now we'll do the denominator. I will select the 2, create a new style, I am going to base this on the numerator, but I am going to call it denominator.

This is going to be slightly different because of course it will not have a baseline shift. There we go! I have set the numerator and the denominator and I've applied it to the text. Now I need to change this middle character from a regular slash to a true fraction bar. Let me zoom in here so we can really see what's going on. I am going to press Command+4, or Ctrl+4 on Windows to go to 400% and I am going to type Option+Shift+1 or Alt+Shift+1 on Windows to get a fraction slash, not the regular slash. Now that took a lot of work, creating those character styles and applying it to one fraction but the good news is, once I have them, it's easy to apply those using GREP Styles or manually, simply by selecting the text and applying the character style.

There is my numerator, there is my denominator, and there is my fraction bar. Now if you have to use these non-OpenType fonts, or fonts that don't have fractions built into them and you have a lot of fractions, I really would recommend using Blatner Tools at blatnertools.com. But for most people, if you don't have too many fractions, these manual techniques will really be all you need.

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This video is part of

Image for InDesign Secrets
InDesign Secrets

169 video lessons · 77766 viewers

Anne-Marie Concepción and David Blatner

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  1. 3m 14s
    1. 169 Change the UI languaging in InDesign CS6 and CC NEW
      3m 14s
  2. 15h 14m
    1. 001 Intro to InDesign Secrets
    2. 002 The hidden "auto-expand text" feature
      5m 51s
    3. 003 Letting InDesign do the math for you
      3m 15s
    4. 004 The indispensible Quick Apply feature
      5m 29s
    5. 005 Customizing the Links panel
      6m 53s
    6. 006 Magically building graphs with the Chartwell font
      7m 43s
    7. 007 Using the Eyedropper tool to pick up character or paragraph attributes
      3m 21s
    8. 008 Selecting through and into objects using cmd-click and Select Above/Below
      5m 46s
    9. 009 Some great tips and tricks for the Swatches panel
      9m 40s
    10. 010 Saving down for backward compatibility with INX and IDML
      5m 55s
    11. 011 Using the INX and IDML formats to fix problems
      4m 46s
    12. 012 InDesign's Easter eggs
      5m 0s
    13. 013 Three cool GREP styles everyone can use
      7m 35s
    14. 014 A field guide to special characters
      8m 2s
    15. 015 Trashing the application preferences to solve weird behaviors
      4m 42s
    16. 016 Aligning numbered lists by decimal points
      3m 10s
    17. 017 Running a script
      9m 33s
    18. 018 When text disappears from a text frame
      6m 18s
    19. 019 Preview and Presentation modes (changing color, etc.)
      4m 8s
    20. 020 Using multiple windows for comparisons
      3m 35s
    21. 021 Putting images on a stroke
      5m 23s
    22. 022 Making your own motion path
      5m 43s
    23. 023 Copying objects between Illustrator and InDesign
      6m 53s
    24. 024 Using layer comps in Photoshop files to show alternates in InDesign
      4m 19s
    25. 025 Adding custom HTML tags to EPUB/HTML exports
      5m 32s
    26. 026 Tracking down type issues with the composition highlighter
      8m 13s
    27. 027 Managing your InDesign panels
      5m 46s
    28. 028 Creating running heads using variables
      5m 1s
    29. 029 Live Caption tips and tricks
      8m 3s
    30. 030 Making professional drop caps
      10m 37s
    31. 031 Making two-state buttons in interactive documents
      5m 5s
    32. 032 Moving pages from one document to another
      3m 15s
    33. 033 Wrapping bulleted text around a curve
      5m 58s
    34. 034 Importing a custom dictionary
      7m 8s
    35. 035 Changing document orientation and page size
      6m 45s
    36. 036 Numbering instead of using auto page numbers
      6m 23s
    37. 037 Setting story order with the Articles panel
      8m 3s
    38. 038 Updating a linked table without losing formatting
      5m 38s
    39. 039 Creating electronic sticky notes
      4m 49s
    40. 040 Moving master page items to the top layer for visibility
      2m 48s
    41. 041 Five guide tricks that will impress your coworkers
      6m 18s
    42. 042 Letting InDesign add the diacritics
      4m 21s
    43. 043 Using single-cell table cells for custom paragraph formatting
      6m 2s
    44. 044 Formatting fractions correctly
      8m 11s
    45. 045 Fixing unwanted hyperlinks in an imported Word file
      5m 57s
    46. 046 Inline graphic tricks with invisible paragraphs
      4m 21s
    47. 047 Ensuring the first line of every chapter starts in the same spot
      3m 1s
    48. 048 Specifying an exact amount of space between objects
      5m 17s
    49. 049 Fixing last lines that are too short
      8m 16s
    50. 050 Creating web graphics from your InDesign artwork
      7m 20s
    51. 051 Using “No Language” to suppress unwanted hyphenation, spell-checking, and smart quotes
      2m 48s
    52. 052 Five things that should be in every new file
      5m 19s
    53. 053 Forcing EPUB page breaks with invisible objects
      6m 21s
    54. 054 Understanding component information
      6m 39s
    55. 055 Creating running heads using section markers
      4m 16s
    56. 056 Making a font with InDesign using the IndyFont script
      5m 20s
    57. 057 Finding where that color is used
      7m 17s
    58. 058 Text wrapping
      6m 54s
    59. 059 Inserting pages: Understanding the Pages panel
      4m 20s
    60. 060 Copying paths between Illustrator and InDesign
      5m 14s
    61. 061 Automating Find/Change with the Find/ChangeByList script
      12m 48s
    62. 062 Embedding images
      7m 43s
    63. 063 Adjusting leading inside a paragraph
      4m 31s
    64. 064 Placing one InDesign file inside another
      3m 58s
    65. 065 Creating bookmarks for PDFs
      7m 25s
    66. 066 Customizing the story editor preferences
      6m 4s
    67. 067 Setting the size of text exactly with this free script
      3m 28s
    68. 068 Using Gravity to simulate perspective
      3m 15s
    69. 069 Fixing the overflowing text frame problem in EPUBs
      5m 0s
    70. 070 Ten uses of the Story Editor
      11m 39s
    71. 071 Moving an object: Ten ways!
      7m 18s
    72. 072 Understanding optical margin alignment (and the quote trick)
      4m 23s
    73. 073 Changing the shape of any frame with the pen tool
      6m 12s
    74. 074 Working with sets in the content conveyor tool
      10m 40s
    75. 075 Running text along the top and the bottom of a circle
      3m 51s
    76. 076 Creating a list using the Table of Contents feature
      3m 25s
    77. 077 Quickly threading frames together and unthreading frames
      13m 22s
    78. 078 The secrets of formatting objects with Find/Change
      6m 34s
    79. 079 Using ruler guides: 10 great tricks
      5m 3s
    80. 080 Converting a clipping path to a frame
      4m 24s
    81. 081 Adding a drop shadow to a single word inside a frame
      3m 14s
    82. 082 Creating a custom cross-reference format
      13m 53s
    83. 083 Putting different-sized pages on a single spread
      3m 7s
    84. 084 Formatting prices with nested and grep styles
      6m 21s
    85. 085 Checking out the Gridify tricks
      5m 17s
    86. 086 Using Illustrator to create InDesign gradient swatches
      4m 49s
    87. 087 Building a simple grep style to change character size
      3m 45s
    88. 088 Exporting a grayscale PDF
      3m 16s
    89. 089 Three ways to cheat text outside of its frame
      6m 8s
    90. 090 Three great Object Styles for any designer
      8m 1s
    91. 091 Choosing alpha channel image transparency
      2m 25s
    92. 092 Adding and reading metadata for InDesign files
      3m 25s
    93. 093 Adding ALT tags to your images
      6m 59s
    94. 094 How to Place & Link a text frame's text but not its formatting
      7m 4s
    95. 095 Setting the baseline position of a caption
      2m 39s
    96. 096 Managing changing pages with primary text frames
      5m 23s
    97. 097 Secrets of the Info panel
      7m 31s
    98. 098 Surprising ways to do a word count
      5m 29s
    99. 099 Placing an object where you want it with an object style
      6m 18s
    100. 100 Aligning Objects tips and tricks
      5m 10s
    101. 101 Applying corner options to any shape
      2m 17s
    102. 102 Converting footnotes to endnotes with a free script
      4m 49s
    103. 103 Making tab leaders pretty
      4m 18s
    104. 104 Converting text to outlines the right way
      4m 30s
    105. 105 Turning InDesign into a speed demon
      8m 31s
    106. 106 Working with MiniBridge
      5m 45s
    107. 107 Customize your QR codes
      6m 17s
    108. 108 Using the same keyboard shortcut for two different commands with the Context feature
      5m 22s
    109. 109 Making a text highlighter
      3m 33s
    110. 110 Updating an interactive PDF without losing work done in Acrobat
      5m 31s
    111. 111 Adding custom text at the beginning of each line automatically
      4m 0s
    112. 112 Packaging images on the pasteboard
      3m 32s
    113. 113 Automatically updating figure references for books
      6m 9s
    114. 114 Adding Tool Tips to your form fields in InDesign
      3m 21s
    115. 115 Setting poetry, flush left, center on longest line
      3m 54s
    116. 116 Use bookmarks to navigate long documents in production
      4m 57s
    117. 117 Selecting text with the InDesign keyboard dance
      2m 0s
    118. 118 Including a total page count in your page numbers
      6m 19s
    119. 119 Making a custom arrowhead
      5m 37s
    120. 120 Making alternative body text styles for fast typesetting
      5m 4s
    121. 121 Making InDesign patterns with the free PatternMaker
      3m 45s
    122. 122 Creating pull quotes the easy way
      5m 1s
    123. 123 Allow text frame to resize with text
      2m 43s
    124. 124 Mapping Word styles to InDesign styles
      5m 48s
    125. 125 Make two automatically threaded text flows
      3m 37s
    126. 126 Saving for Web in InDesign
      6m 7s
    127. 127 Numbering rows in a table
      5m 10s
    128. 128 Making automatic jump lines
      6m 52s
    129. 129 Turning off allow pages to shuffle in order to separate facing pages
      3m 40s
    130. 130 Dealing with parentheses around text size
      4m 19s
    131. 131 Make a fill in the blank label for contracts and forms
      7m 53s
    132. 132 Changing the shape of polygons and starburst as you draw or afterward
      4m 17s
    133. 133 Contextual text and images that you only want sometimes visible
      4m 55s
    134. 134 Creating nav points in a movie
      4m 31s
    135. 135 Adding effects to your rule above and rule below
      3m 38s
    136. 136 Fitting text to a specific size
      4m 45s
    137. 137 Quick tips for making a small PDF file size
      6m 9s
    138. 138 Sharing presets, workspaces, and custom shortcuts sets
      5m 17s
    139. 139 Making a multi-level numbered list
      5m 17s
    140. 140 Faking bold and italic when the font family doesn’t have one
      5m 2s
    141. 141 Keeping the same scale size when updating or relinking to images
      3m 9s
    142. 142 Inserting glyphs
      6m 42s
    143. 143 Building richer, bolder color gradients
      3m 7s
    144. 144 Finding the right font with InDesign’s font menus
      4m 35s
    145. 145 Lay out a front, back and spine for a book jacket
      6m 12s
    146. 146 Ghosting area of image behind text
      2m 53s
    147. 147 Make a transparency mask in InDesign
      3m 45s
    148. 148 Using preflight to find common document errors
      6m 11s
    149. 149 Cropping with paste into
      5m 18s
    150. 150 Using vertical justification to spread out text in a frame automatically
      5m 16s
    151. 151 Rotate text inside a frame, or the frame around the text
      2m 30s
    152. 152 Looking at snippets vs. libraries
      6m 49s
    153. 153 Import a folder full of pictures, one per page
      8m 54s
    154. 154 When InDesign ignores your leading values
      4m 5s
    155. 155 Extracting images from a Word document
      3m 42s
    156. 156 Uncommon uses for Quick Apply
      6m 2s
    157. 157 Uncovering InDesign's magic font folders
      3m 9s
    158. 158 Sharing swatches (PS/IL/ID and ID to ID)
      3m 36s
    159. 159 Convert rounded corners to editable paths
      3m 15s
    160. 160 Convert local formatting to character styles
      5m 14s
    161. 161 Sort an index by page number
      7m 49s
    162. 162 Keeping page numbers on top of master items
      3m 55s
    163. 163 Adding automatic currency symbols in a table cell or before text
      3m 50s
    164. 164 Make a pop-up footnote for your ebook
      3m 48s
    165. 165 Deleting tabs at the beginning of paragraphs and applying a paragraph style
      3m 10s
    166. 166 Five InDesign Presentation tips
      6m 28s
    167. 167 Creating blank entry spaces on forms
      3m 53s
    168. 168 Creative uses of the Slug area
      4m 45s

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