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Uppercase characters versus lowercase characters. Which to use, and when? Sometimes, you want text in upper case for emphasis, but then what about small caps? Well, my basic rule is, never type anything in all caps, if you can avoid it. Instead, always type in lowercase, and apply caps styling to it. Let me show you what I mean. I'll zoom in on this text up here, and I'm going to select this first line by triple-clicking on it. Let's say my design calls for that heading to be in all caps. Instead of retyping the words, I'm going to come up here to the control panel and click the All Caps button.
It looks like it's in all caps, but it's not really; it's actually just a style applied to that text. And that's great, because later on, when my art director says, I don't want it in all caps anymore, you can simply turn this style off, and it goes back to the way it was. Small caps is like all caps, but it's more elegant. You can turn on small caps by clicking on this other Small Caps button just below All Caps. You can see that small caps is actually a combination of large and small capital letters. Now, different font handle small caps differently.
Some fonts, like the one I'm using here, Adobe Garamond Pro, actually have true small cap characters built in. That's nice, because we have very even spacing and color across the line. Do you know what I mean by color? I don't mean red or blue; I mean if you squint your eyes, and the whole thing kind of goes gray and blurry, you want to have even color across the whole line. Now look what happens if I change this to a font that doesn't have true small cap characters. I'll triple-click on it, go to the Type menu, and I'm going to choose Arial > Regular.
I'll deselect here, so we can actually see the text instead of the highlighting, and you can see that we have a very different effect. Arial does not have true small caps, and so InDesign has to fake it. It fakes it by taking the true capital letters, and shrinking them down to about 70%. The effect is technically small caps, but you'll see that the color is very different. We have a very thick R and an A, and then these other characters look kind of anemic next to them. There is not a lot you can do about that, really. It's just something you need to pay attention to when you're working with different fonts.
I'm going to jump to the second spread of this document by pressing Option+Page Down or Alt+Page Down, and then I'll scroll over a little with my Option+Spacebar or Alt+Spacebar, and I can see that this text here is in all caps. Somebody actually typed that in all caps. That's an uncommon, but it is icky. We don't like that style. We would rather apply italic or bold to it to give it some emphasis, not all caps; that makes it looks like someone is shouting. Simply select it, go to the Type menu, and choose from the Change Case submenu.
Here, you can see, we can choose any of four different cases: UPPERCASE, lowercase, Title Case, and Sentence case. I'm going to choose the last one, and you can see that InDesign actually changes it for me. In this case, it's not a style; InDesign is actually retyping those characters to make them capital at the beginning, and then all the rest of lowercase. Now I can apply italic, or bold, or whatever I'm going to do to them. As I've said before, I really like to keep my options open whenever possible. I'd much rather use change case to make these lowercase, and then use italic, or all caps, or small caps in order to maintain flexibility, and still get the effect that I want.
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