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I love that InDesign has sophisticated hyphenation algorithms built-in. I love that it can automatically convert dumb straight quotes to smart curly ones. I love all of those cool built-in text features except that sometimes I really wish I could just turn them off for a moment. For example, in this document I have a URL and it's hyphenating. I don't want a hyphen in there. Then somebody reading this might think that the hyphen is actually a part of the URL. That's a disaster. Got to get rid of that. Also down here, just for the sake of this demo, I've inserted some HTML code, and I need to put quote marks in here.
But as soon as I type a quote mark, it changes to a curly quote. That's a disaster and it has to be a straight quote. Let me delete that. So I really wish I could get InDesign to just stop for a minute. Don't hyphenate, don't do the curly quotes, don't even spell-check. Can I do that? I can, and the trick is to set up a language that won't do any of those things. I'm going to do it as a character style because I'm going to be applying that same character style to various pieces of text in my document. So I'll open the Character Styles panel, I'll Option+Click or Alt+Click on the New Style button, that forces the dialog box to open, and I'm going to call this my don't do anything style.
You can call it anything you want. You could call it URL if you want. That might make more sense. But the main thing this is going to do is it's going to change the language of that text. The language shows up in the Advanced Character Formats pane of this dialog box and we can see that there're all kinds of languages that we can choose from in here; Danish, Czech, Croatian, and so on. But in this case, I want to choose No Language. No Language is the key to this whole trick. No Language means don't spell-check, don't hyphenate, don't convert quotes, don't do any of that stuff. Let me show you.
I'll click OK, I'll select this URL, and I'm going to click on my don't do anything style character style, and you can see that a couple things happen. First, it breaks appropriately only at spaces or periods or slashes just where I'd want it to break. It will not hyphenate at all, so that's great. Second, the spell-checking got turned off, so that Dynamic Spelling that I had turned on, this does not appear to be misspelled. That's not a big deal, but it does save me from the annoyance of looking at it and saying, is that misspelled or not. It's just a URL, not a big deal.
So that's a good thing too. Now let's try it down here. I'm going to select this whole HTML section, turn on the character style, and immediately it stops saying that it's misspelled, which is one good thing, and then I'm going to come in here and type my quotes. You can see as I'm typing them, they show up as straight quotes, which is what I want, not the curly quotes. No Language is like an elegant little trick up your sleeve for those times when you just need to stop InDesign from being so dang helpful.
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