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In InDesign CS4 Power Shortcuts, Adobe product manager and designer Michael Ninness reveals hundreds of tips to boost productivity, including the top 20 power shortcuts every InDesign user must know. From placing multiple images to the hidden power of Quick Apply, each one of these videos covers an important topic, and includes just the right amount of information to make anyone a true InDesign power user. InDesign users are always looking for faster, more efficient ways to do everything, and this course offers just what they're looking for. Exercise files accompany the course.
Okay let's say that you want to add a nice Drop Cap to this paragraph here. You want that B to be a little larger and take up two or three lines to give it a nice initial Cap or Drop Cap treatment to that paragraph. The problem is I can never remember what menu Command it's under or what panel it belongs to. Let's go ahead and click into this paragraph. It turns out it's in the flyout menu of the Control panel. is the only way I can really remember which menu it's under, Drop Cap and Nested Styles. But it turns out, look, it actually has a keyboard shortcut. For whatever reason, that's just how I am oriented. I remember keyboard shortcuts more than I remember what specific menu things are under.
So let's go ahead and do that. I have clicked into that paragraph that I want to add the Drop Cap to and we'll invoke the keyboard shortcut. Before we do that though, I want to turn on our guides and see our frame edges because I want to teach you an extra bonus trick here. I am going to go ahead and get out of this text frame by hitting the Escape key and then press the W key to get back out of Preview mode back in the Normal mode. Now I am going to go ahead and zoom in right up on this edge, so we can take a look at what this Drop Cap is going to look like real close. Okay, so we are back. Let's go ahead and double-click to get back into the Text Frame. Hit Command+Option or Ctrl+Alt+R to open up the Drop Caps and Nested Styles dialog box.
Now you want to make sure Preview is turned on, so you can see the results of the choices you make in this dialog. Let's go ahead and choose the number of lines. We'll go 1, of course it doesn't do anything with just 1, so we should skip that up to 2, and you can start to see a little bit that on the left-hand edge of that Drop Cap, there is a little bit of an annoying gap. Now InDesign is actually doing the right thing here. Every character, every glyph in a font - glyph is just another fancy name for a character - has something called a 'leading left space' and a 'preceding right space', I think I have that term wrong.
But anyway, there is amount of space in the left and right of the glyph that's actually part of the glyph itself, and that's what makes it so that letters don't slam into each other as they're being typeset. But with Drop Caps, especially characters like B's and O's, where there's either insets here or especially if there is rounded edges there like on 'O'. Sometimes that leading left space can actually be very distracting and not have a very clean edge. So let's go ahead and do three lines and you can see the bigger the type gets, the more pronounced that space gets between the left edge of the frame.
Now I like clean left edges there, so it turns out, there's this cool little checkbox, which I think should be on by default, but for whatever reason it's not, so nobody discovers it. I am going to turn on the Align Left Edge of my Drop Caps and watch what happens. It's very cool. Only a typophile or geek would appreciate this, but it basically ignores that leading left space of the glyph, how cool is that? I love it. You're going to turn into obsessive-compulsive freaks. You'll now find yourself looking at magazines or newspapers and you will see if that left edge that Drop Cap or the initial cap is cleanly lined up with the left edge of the frame and you'll instantly know if they used InDesign to create that layout.
So little trivia there for you. Align Left Edge here as before with it turned off. Here is it with it turned back on and maybe it's just me, but man! I think it makes your Drop Caps just look so much more professional and cleaner. So there you have it, Command+Option+R, Ctrl+Alt+R to open up the dialog and then just remember your good friend Align Left Edge to give it that extra professional touch that will make your friends envious. Okay I'm probably overselling it, but there you have it. A couple shortcuts for Drop Caps.
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