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Author David Blatner provides in-depth training on InDesign CS5, the print and interactive page layout application from Adobe, in InDesign CS5 Essential Training. The course shows how to create new documents with strong and flexible master pages, precisely position text and graphics, prepare documents for print, and export designs as interactive PDF or Flash SWF files. Exercise files are included with the course.
Someone somewhere decided that text will look good when it aligned on both the left and the right sides of a column, called justified text. We saw various options for creating justified text earlier in this chapter. Now, it's time to get into the nitty -gritty of controlling how InDesign justifies your text. This text down here is all justified. The way that programs like QuarkXPress and Microsoft Word justify text is by fitting as much text as they can on a single line, using hyphenation if they need to. And then when they get to the next line, they forget about the previous line.
But that's not what InDesign does. InDesign is constantly looking at all the lines in the paragraph trying to manipulate all of its justification settings and hyphenation settings until you get as even color as possible throughout the whole paragraph. You know what I mean by color? I am not talking about blue text or red text. I am talking about typographic color. That color that you see if you really squint your eyes a whole bunch until all you see is kind of grey. You want even grey color throughout the entire paragraph. However, the way that InDesign fits its text can be confusing at first because if you're making changes at the end of a paragraph, you might see text wrapped differently up above.
That doesn't happen in those other programs. If that makes you crazy, you can do something about it. You can change it. Let me show you how. I'll place my cursor inside this paragraph and go up to the Control panel fly-out menu and choose Justification. One of the controls here is the Composer pop-up menu. Currently, it's set to Adobe Paragraph Composer, which is what I was just describing. It's looking at the whole paragraph. If I change this to the Single-line Composer, its closer to the way those other programs work. It only looks at one line at a time.
It's fine to use the Single-line Composer. But in general you'll find that you won't have as even color throughout a paragraph as you will if you are using Paragraph Composer. So I am going to leave this set to Paragraph Composer. Okay, let's talk a little bit about the rules that InDesign uses to justify your text. The basic method of justifying text on a line has to do with changing three different attributes. Word Spacing, that is the space between each word, Letter Spacing, the space between each letter, and Glyph Scaling which is literally horizontally scaling each character smaller or larger.
Now, InDesign will try and give you the values in the desired column here, the one in the middle. In other words, no Word Spacing, no change in the Word Spacing, no change in Letter Spacing and no Glyph Scaling. But it's very hard to set a line just with those settings. So these other settings, the Minimum and Maximum, give InDesign a little bit of leeway to work with. Now, there are some people who will say you should never ever letter space anything. They set this to 0 and so they set this one to 0 as well. I am just tabbing from one field to the next. And they won't let anybody ever Glyph Scale.
So I'll set these to 100% as well. And because the Preview checkbox is turned on, you can see that the effect that this makes. You just can't get as even color throughout a paragraph if you don't give InDesign something to work with. So in my experience, it's not that big of a deal to give it a little bit of Letter Spacing, maybe -2 up to 2%. A little bit of the Glyph Spacing is okay, maybe plus or minus 1%. Nobody is going to notice if you scale a character 1%. One more thing about the Justification dialog box here.
It's not just for justified text. In this case, we are affecting the paragraph that's justified. But let me click OK and click okay and show you that I can adjust this paragraph up here too. I'll just click in it so that the flashing cursor is there. I'll go back to the Justification dialog box and show you that if I change the Word Spacing to something smaller, perhaps 90%, the Word Spacing updates in the paragraph. If I change the Letter Spacing to something smaller, well, I'll have to change the Minimum first. Let's set that to -2% and this to -2%, the Letter Spacing gets smaller in here as well.
For non-justified text, it always tries to use the desired value. So this is a great way to take a bunch of text, even if it's not justified, and make it tighter or looser. Obviously justifying text is as much an art as a science, but even with just a few tweaks here and there, you can get some great improvements over the default settings and get much better looking type.
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