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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.
Today in the InDesign secrets hit parade, I want to talk about an issue that drives many designers crazy, and that is the dreaded parenthesis in the text size field. I'm sure that you've seen this, watch. I'm going to click inside this caption, lower right, you can see my selecting some text. Look at the text size field, 12.(9.36. Now if I go to his brother on the left hand side and I click inside, there it is. A normal eight and nine. Get this all the time from people who email me saying how did these parenthesis get there and how do I get rid of them? Like if I select all this and say okay, I want to make this eight points, just like this one here.
So I come here and I select the field, I type in eight. I press Tab, 8.6.24. What is going on? Two things happened. First of all, a default preference was changed. Second of all, this frame was scaled. Let's take a look at that preference first. I'm going to go to Preferences under the InDesign menu. On a PC, it's under the Edit menu. And in general, it's this thing called, when scaling under object editing. In the earlier versions of InDesign, I'm using CC here, the default was actually set to this guy, adjust scaling percentage.
If this is the one that's in effect, then when you scale a text frame, meaning you not just resize the frame, but you're actually scaling the frame, and the text inside it. Then you're going to end up with this kind of read out. But a couple of versions ago, InDesign changed the default. So now you should very seldom, if ever, see parenthesis. Because scaling is set to Apply to Content. Watch what happens. I'm going to leave it at Apply to Content and click OK, and I'm going to take this text frame over here. Let's zoom in a bit, so we can see it a little better.
And holding down the Cmd+Shift key, or the Ctrl+Shift on Windows, I'm going to scale the frame. So I press and drag. And as I drag, see the type changes size as well. So that's how you tell can you're scaling. When I release the mouse button and I click inside here with the type tool, you can see the type size is changed. That is how InDesign is supposed to work by default in recent versions. But over here, I got this file from somebody who apparently had switched that preference setting, and then they scale this.
Let's zoom in to this guy. Remember, this is the one where if you click on it and it says 6.6.24. Let's scale this, hold down Cmd+Shift or Ctrl+Shift and drag. And then click inside here and it's still maintaining it. So you see that InDesign's trying to do you a favor. If you had switched that preference setting and then scaled it, that text frame is going to remember that setting. Even if you fix the preference setting in InDesign. So if this is happening to you, and you don't want that scaling, why would you want it, by the way, you ask. Oh. It's because, for some reason, maybe, you want to know what was the original size of this type, and what is its current size after scaling. So if I scale this.
I'll do Ctrl+Shift drag again, or Cmd+Shift drag. And click inside here. This type here is now 8.3 points, but it was 6.47 before scaling. If you want to see the scaling, select the text frame with your Selection tool, and look in the scale field. You'll see that one says 78%. And this guy over here, says 100%. So this is the default way that InDesign works. When you scale a text frame, it should just change the size of the type but always keep the scaling amount 100% because that's normally what designers want.
Now the question is, how do you fix this guy? Really easy, just select the text frame with your Selection tool, go to the Control Panel menu and choose Redefine Scaling as 100%. In other words, make it work as though the preference setting were correct and now when we click in here it shows us that is the true size of the type. And if we select all this type and I come up here and I say, you know what, we want this type to be eight points on nine, by gum that's what it is. Eight points on nine.
I just made it all caps for some reason but that's because I just want to be emphatic about it. To sum up, if you never want to see those parentheses, make sure that preferences are set to when scaling apply to content.
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