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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.
You know what's really hard in InDesign? Setting the size of this text so that it's exactly 60 points tall. You would think it would be easy, right? You think you could just choose the Type tool, select the text, and say make it 60 points tall. But is it really 60 points tall? Let's find out. I am going to use my little measuring stick called an empty frame. I'll grab this Rectangle Frame tool and simply click, that forces the rectangle dialog box to appear, and I can say give me a frame that's exactly 60 points by 60 points.
It's a little trick for getting a measuring stick. I'll bring this down and zoom in to like 600%, and I can see that this text is definitely not 60 points tall, it just isn't. So what did I set to 60 points? Well, I set the slug of text to 60 points. The slug is everything that includes the ascenders and any descenders. For example if I type a G in here, we can see that the ascenders and descenders have to be included in that 60 points and indeed, they are.
I'll move that box over and you can see that all of that gets included in the 60 points, but that's not what my art director said! My art director said, I want that a to be exactly 60 points and that's what's hard. Fortunately, I have a script that will make it really easy. I wrote the script up here on our site indesignsecrets.com, it's called Set the Size of Text Exactly. You can read about it and download it simply by clicking on the download it here button. Once you download it, you need to install it. Let me show you how.
I'll go back to InDesign, I am going to go to the Window menu and choose Utilities > Scripts. The Scripts panel appears and I can right-click on the User folder and choose Reveal in Finder. On Windows, it would say Reveal in Windows Explorer. I want to put the script that I downloaded inside the Scripts panel folder, not the Scripts folder, but the Script panel folder. So I'll double-click on that to open it. Here in my Downloads folder, I can see the script, except that notice that it added a .txt at the end.
That happens sometimes, it's unfortunate. I need to change the name and remove the .txt. InDesign scripts must end with .jsx or .js, but definitely not .txt. There we go. Now I have got a script that I can drag into my Scripts panel folder, I will go back to InDesign and you'll see that it immediately shows up in the Scripts panel right here in the User folder. To run the script, first select some text. I am going to get rid of that g, I don't want that in there, and I am going to select that whole word, aardvark and double-click on the script.
When I do that, it says how large do I want the character to be. I want it to be 60 points based on the letter a. That is, the a is going to be exactly 60 points large. It automatically converted this into millimeters, but that's okay. So I'll click OK and I'll zoom back and we'll see that the text is in my text frame. I better make this frame a little bit larger now, there we go to fit the whole text and let's check it out now. Let's see without ruler, is this 60 points? Yes, exactly 60 points tall.
Now sure, it's not every day that you need to set text to be an exact size, but when you need it, you really need it. So this script is one of the many that I keep in my Scripts panel ready for any situation where InDesign's features just don't go far enough.
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