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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.
Quick! What's the keyboard shortcut to type the Registered Trademark Symbol or how about an Em Dash? If you don't use these characters very often, there's just no reason to clutter your head with trying to remember all those shortcuts. Besides, InDesign has a couple of features that make inserting special characters like these a breeze. Let me show you. I'm going to place a special character after this word Hansel & Petal. I want the Registered Trademark Symbol. So, I'll double-click with the Selection tool to insert the text cursor there. I'm going to go to the Type menu and scroll down to Insert Special Character.
There's all kinds of interesting characters in here. It's really worth taking a little time just to go through each of these submenus and find out what kind of cool stuff there is. Bullets and Copyrights, and let's go down to Hyphens and Dashes, if you want to know how to do an Em Dash or special Quote Marks, etcetera, etcetera. There are really cool things in here. But in this case, I just want Symbols > Registered Trademark Symbol. There we go. I'll select that from there and you'll see that it inserts the little R with a circle around it, just where I wanted it, very, very handy. Now over here, just before this word Hansel & Petal, I'm going to put a forced line break, but I can't remember what the keyboard shortcut is for that.
So, I'm going to grab it out of the Insert Special Characters menu item again. This time I won't go to the Type menu. I'll simply right-click anywhere on my page and scroll down. You can see I have the same sorts of menus here in the context menu. So, that makes it very handy. In this case, it's not a special character. It's a break character. So, I'm going to choose it from the Insert Break Character submenu and it's down here, Forced Line Break. Oh! That's right! It's Shift+Return or Shift+Enter. Now I know, now I'll try to remember. But if you don't remember next time, don't worry.
It's there in the menu waiting for you. I'll select that and it forces it down to the next like. Pretty keen! Now, another way to find uncommon characters is the Glyphs panel. You can find the Glyphs panel by choosing it from the Type menu. It is right there, or you can find it, of course, in the Window menu. All the panels are in there as well. Down here in Type & Tables, there we go. I'll choose Glyphs from here. Now, the Glyphs panel shows me every character inside of a font, even characters I cannot type. That's the cool part. There are a lot of characters inside fonts that you cannot type, but the font designer put them into the font anyway.
So, for example, there's all these wacky little ornaments and stuff inside this particular font. I can choose a different font from the Font menu here or from the Type menu in the Font fly-out menu here. Just grab any font you want and it will show you all the characters from that font. In this case, I'm going to stick with this Chaparral Pro. I'll make this little bit bigger, so you can see lots of characters in here. Now, if that text is too small, if these characters are too tiny for you, you can zoom in on them by clicking on this little mountain range. Click the one on the right to make them bigger. You click the one on the left to make them smaller.
But you get the idea. You can zoom in and out here. There's another way to change your view of the Glyphs panel here. That is by choosing stuff from the Show pop-up menu. So, for example, let's say I'm only looking for math symbols. I can choose Math right out of the Show pop-up menu. Here's all the symbols in this font that have to do with math, or maybe I'm just looking for some cool ornaments to insert somewhere. I could do the same thing by choosing Ornaments. Now, it's going to show me the ornaments inside this font. To add one of these special characters, I place the cursor where I want the character to be.
In this case, I'm going to put it right before the word Attention. Then I double-click on it in the Glyphs panel. I'll double-click on that ornament and you can see that it added it to my text frame right where the flashing cursor was. I'll put a space after that to give it a little extra space. The other thing you should notice here is as soon as I did that, InDesign added it to my list of Recently Used glyphs. Now, a glyph is just a character. Don't get confused with glyph or character or whatever. It's just a character within a font. So, these are the recent little glyphs that I used. It's not just in this document, but for all my documents.
That's really handy, because, next time I need that character, maybe I want to put it down here, I don't have to go searching through my Ornaments or whatever, for example, I could switch this back to entire font, I don't have to go searching through all of this again. I simply click where I want the character and then double-click it right out of the Recently Used glyphs. There it is and I'll put a space after it to give it a little space as well. I use the Glyphs panel all the time. I use it so much that I reserve a special place for it in my dock. So, I'm going to grab this Glyphs panel from the title and drag it out here and dock it over here.
Now, every time I need a glyph, I just click on it, up comes a panel. I grab what I want, and then close it again by clicking on the tile in the dock again. No matter what font you're using, I really encourage you to take a little bit of time and just scroll through it to find what kind of characters are in there. There are all kinds of treasures hiding and they are waiting for you to use.
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