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Many designs call for a line, also called the rule, to sit above or below a paragraph, especially a heading. You could spend all day drawing lines with the Line tool, but you'd be a lot better off using InDesign's paragraph rules feature. I have my catalog file open from the exercise folder, and I'm going to jump to a previous spread by pressing Option+Page Up or Alt+Page Up. I'm going to zoom in on the lower left corner of this page, and I can see that I have a heading here, but it looks kind of a dull. I want the eye to be drawn to it, so I want to put a rule above or below it.
To do that, I need to put my text cursor inside the paragraph, so I'll double-click on it, and then I'm going to go to the Paragraph Rule dialog box. To get there, I go all the way over to the right side of the control panel, and open the control panel flyout menu. Here I can choose a Paragraph Rules. The shortcut is Command+Option+J, or Control+ Alt+J. The Paragraph Rules dialog box is actually two different dialog boxes in one: the Rule Above dialog box, or the Rule Below dialog box.
You can swap between them using this little pop-up menu. I want to create a rule above, so I'll choose that, and then I'll turn on the Rule On checkbox. Because the Preview checkbox is turned on inside this dialog box, I can see the effect immediately. I have a one point black solid line right at the baseline of the text. That's probably not what I want, so let's change it. First, I'll change the text color; let's make it orange. Next I'll make it little thicker; maybe 3 points instead, and then I'm going to change the Offset.
The offset is how far away from the baseline it should be. I'll increase this to about 8 points, and you can see it places it right above the text. I also have the ability to change how wide this rule should be. For example, I'll change the left indent to 5 points, and hit Tab, and you can see that it moves in 5 points. Alternatively, I can actually make it -5 points, and that way it actually sticks out the side of the text frame. Of course, I could do the same thing with the right indent.
The other way to control how wide this rule can be is the Width pop-up menu. Right now, this is set to Column, but if I change it to Text, then the rule goes only to the edge of the text. InDesign is smart enough to know where the edge of the text is, and however long that line is, that's how long the rule will be to. InDesign is smart enough to know how wide that line is, and so if I add text to this line, the rule will get wider. If I take some of the text away, the rule get shorter. In this case, I actually do want it to fill the entire column, so I'll just choose Column.
You can see that there is a number of interesting effects that you could create with the paragraph rules feature. For example, let's make this much thicker; I'll make it up to, like, 10 points thick, and then, instead of using a positive offset, I'm going to move it down a little bit, like -2 points. By doing that, I actually place a bar behind the text. If I make this a darker color, like this dark blue, and click OK, I might want to select the text itself, and change it to paper color.
Now the text is reversed out of a dark bar. Well, that's pretty cool. It just goes to show, sometimes you have to think outside the box.
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