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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.
Welcome to another installment of InDesign secrets. Today I want to talk about adjusting the size of certain characters in your text. For example, I love this font, but if I zoom in here on this text, you can see this m dash just way too wide. Don't like that. I'd like to make it narrower. To fix that, I'm going to use something called Grep Styles, which a lot of people are afraid of because it sometimes uses scary codes, but don't fret. This is going to be really easy. I'm going to switch the paragraph styles, and then double-click on this text frame to switch to the Type tool.
That shows me that this paragraph style is in body text. If I double-click on that and look at the style options, I can jump over here to the Grep Style pane and add a new Grep Style which is going to make that m dash narrower. Let's see how you do it. Click New Grep Style, Then type in the code for an m dash. Now you may not know what the code for that m dash is. That's okay, we'll delete the code that's there. Go over to this little Flyout menu, and choose from the Hyphens and Dashes popup menu, m dash, it types the code for you. Great.
Now, I need to change the style. The style right now, if I click on the word None, it turns into a pop-up menu. And it shows me all the different character styles I have in this document right now. None of these really work for what I want. So I'm going to go down here to the bottom and choose New Character Style. And I'll call this Make it Narrower. You can call it anything you want of course. I'll switch to the Advanced Character Formats pane, and I'm going to change the horizontal scale to let's say, 70%. Click OK, and we'll see if it works.
I'll make sure the preview checkbox is turned on, move this out of the way. And you can see this m dash is now narrower. I like that. Let's try it on another one. I'll close that. And let's say, hypothetically, we have a bunch of these registered trademark symbols throughout our document. I'm just going to throw some in there to show you the example. These may seem a little bit too big to me; I like to make them smaller. So once again, I'll go in here to the Paragraph Styles definition. I'll make a GREP Style, choose New GREP Style, and I'll say, find anything that looks like a registration mark.
That's going to be here under the symbols pop up menu, Registered Trademark Symbol. Now, I need to apply a character style to it. I'll make a new one. Call it Make This Smaller. You can call it anything you want of course, and we're going to say this is going to be a bit smaller, maybe 60%, vertically and horizontally. So that just makes it smaller than it currently is. And let's give it a little bit of baseline shift here, just maybe three points. Click OK. Click OK. And you'll see that all of those have now been made smaller.
The Grep style immediately looks for all instances of the registered trademark symbol and applies that character style to them automatically. Even better, next time I type one of those, which is an Option+R or Alt+R on Windows, it automatically applies a character style to it as well. Of course because it's a character style, it's easy to tweak. I'll open my Character Styles panel, right click on Make This Smaller. And that brings up the context menu so I can choose Edit > Make This Smaller. Let me call this something better, like Registered Trademark Symbols.
That, that's a little but easier to remember what it is. And I can go in here and change this. Let's make it maybe even a little bit smaller, 55%, and I'm going to move it up just a little but more, to four points. And you'll see that immediately it updates throughout the document. You see that wasn't that hard, was it? I love grep styles. Now if you want to get even more out of grep and grep styles, check out my title called InDesign: 10 Things to Know About GREP here on the online training library.
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