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Navigating tricky drop caps

From: InDesign Typography

Video: Navigating tricky drop caps

Not surprisingly when you take one character and make it significantly larger than the characters that it's next to, this can sometimes create spacing problems. And here are three such problems. Here we have a character collision, or near collision, between the W and the H, in this particular instance, the I is not aligned to the left edge, and the third instance the descender of the J is colliding with the first letter of the fourth line, so these are all very easily fixed but you must watch out for them.

Navigating tricky drop caps

Not surprisingly when you take one character and make it significantly larger than the characters that it's next to, this can sometimes create spacing problems. And here are three such problems. Here we have a character collision, or near collision, between the W and the H, in this particular instance, the I is not aligned to the left edge, and the third instance the descender of the J is colliding with the first letter of the fourth line, so these are all very easily fixed but you must watch out for them.

So I'm going to come to the Layers panel, where I'll turn off those red circles. And this one, you have already seen me do if you watched the kerning chapter, all I need to do is insert my cursor between those two letters and kern in some extra space. That's Option+Right Arrow, Alt+Right Arrow. When I kern looser, InDesign incorrectly interprets my intent as wanting to go tighter, so actually we have made the spacing a whole a lot worse but that is just something that happens in this context.

So we just need to now press Option or Alt and the right arrow several times, quite a few times. If I wanted to speed this up, I could also throw in the Command or Ctrl key, and that will shunt it over a little bit faster. We'll go with that. Now in this second instance, this is very easily fixed, what we need to do here is check the relevant check box, and that relevant check box is, if we're doing this locally Drop Caps and Nested Styles are right there, if we're doing it as a part of a Paragraph style, then we would edit it right there.

I'm going to do it locally because I fear that if I do it as part of it, that will also fix this one, and we don't want to fix that one just yet. So with my cursor in this paragraph Drop Caps and Nested Styles, I need to just check this option Align Left Edge, and you can see it makes the straight side of the I perfectly flush left with the left-hand edge of the text frame. Moving on down to the next instance, and you could probably, you already guess what I'm going to do here Drop Caps and Nested Styles in this case, Scale for Descenders is what we want.

Now that as you can see is going to do exactly what it says, it's going to make that letter smaller. So if you don't want that result, what you could do instead, would be to select the J and then shift it up using baseline Shift, that's Option+Shift+Up Arrow, Alt+Shift+Up Arrow, and that's going to give you a slightly different effect, but one that's just as good I think. Okay, so those are some common problems, other issues that you may run into are paragraphs where you begin with punctuation.

So firstly, the best cure is prevention if you are working with text that involves a lot of this sort of thing, then choose some other opening device, something different from a Drop Cap. But if you just need to make the odd exception, that's certainly possible, and that's what I'm going to do here. So I'm going to fix this version and make it look like the one we have here. So obviously, the problem here is that the Drop Cap is the punctuation, and that looks frankly rather daft, so I'm going to come to my Paragraph Formats where I need to specify that I want two characters made large, and then to finesse this, I might decide to kern the space between that punctuation and the Drop Cap and, like so.

How tight you go is a matter of your own personal taste, but then just one other thing, I think I'd like to make that quote mark a little bit smaller. So I'm going to select it, and I'm going to press Command+Shift+Lesser than, or Ctrl+Shift+Lesser that, and that will necessitate me shifting it up using baseline Shift, Option+Shift+Up Arrow, and I think we will call that one done. Another problem that you might run into is when you have chapter openers that begin with single-line paragraphs.

If your style calls for your Drop Caps or drop four lines into the paragraph, if there is only a single line, then that's going to be a problem. Thankfully, InDesign handles this very well indeed although as I mentioned before the best cure is prevention, so if you find you have lots of single-line paragraphs as chapter openers, don't use Drop Caps. But here, I'm going to set this to 4, like so. and again, we need two characters and again we need to make that a little bit smaller and shift it up.

And you'll see what InDesign does is it puts in the indent on the second line which is really rather clever of it. But if we don't want that because it does create a rather odd visual hall right there, what I'm going to do now is delete that so that the second paragraph actually begins flush on the second line, right after the Drop Cap. So those are some problems you may encounter with Drop Caps and the solutions for how to deal with them.

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This video is part of

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InDesign Typography

107 video lessons · 20212 viewers

Nigel French
Author

 
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  1. 4m 4s
    1. Welcome
      55s
    2. Using the exercise files
      51s
    3. Customizing the workspace for type
      2m 18s
  2. 55m 41s
    1. Working with text frames
      8m 26s
    2. Using a primary text frame (CS6 only)
      3m 59s
    3. Understanding text flow methods
      6m 25s
    4. Understanding text threads
      3m 40s
    5. Understanding Smart Text Reflow
      2m 27s
    6. Mocking up pages with placeholder text
      5m 47s
    7. Placing multiple text files
      3m 50s
    8. Using Auto-Size text frames (CS6 only)
      4m 1s
    9. Copying and pasting vs. placing
      2m 25s
    10. Cleaning up text with Find/Change
      5m 46s
    11. Using the Story Editor
      3m 41s
    12. Spanning columns
      5m 14s
  3. 45m 50s
    1. Choosing your type
      6m 46s
    2. Understanding text essentials
      6m 37s
    3. Scaling type
      2m 27s
    4. Using italic and oblique type
      4m 33s
    5. Working with condensed and extended type
      4m 26s
    6. Setting type in all caps
      3m 46s
    7. Setting type in small caps
      4m 21s
    8. Underlining type
      4m 11s
    9. Using superscript and subscript
      4m 35s
    10. Applying baseline shift
      4m 8s
  4. 16m 6s
    1. Understanding type anatomy
      3m 25s
    2. Exploring serif and sans serif
      2m 48s
    3. Comparing points, picas, and ems
      8m 34s
    4. What's in a name?
      1m 19s
  5. 16m 27s
    1. Setting leading
      4m 56s
    2. Avoiding auto-leading
      4m 12s
    3. Leading shortcuts and preferences
      4m 7s
    4. Using autoleading with inline graphics
      3m 12s
  6. 21m 25s
    1. Defining kerning and tracking
      2m 5s
    2. Understanding kerning methods
      5m 10s
    3. When and how to kern
      5m 53s
    4. When and how to track
      8m 17s
  7. 45m 48s
    1. Working with quotes, primes, and apostrophes
      8m 16s
    2. Using dashes
      5m 24s
    3. Using ellipses
      2m 56s
    4. Working with accents and special characters
      4m 1s
    5. Using space characters
      4m 15s
    6. Working with ligatures
      4m 29s
    7. Setting fractions
      3m 56s
    8. Using lining and proportional numerals
      2m 49s
    9. Using alternates, swashes, and ornaments
      5m 2s
    10. Working with optical sizes
      4m 40s
  8. 57m 20s
    1. Understanding alignment
      3m 47s
    2. Working with left-aligned type
      3m 24s
    3. Working with justified type
      7m 5s
    4. Using Optical Margin Alignment
      3m 39s
    5. Determining column width
      4m 53s
    6. Working with center alignment
      5m 36s
    7. Working with right alignment
      1m 22s
    8. Aligning to or away from the spine
      1m 50s
    9. Understanding the Paragraph Composer and Single-line Composer
      3m 44s
    10. Combining alignments
      9m 20s
    11. Using hanging punctuation
      2m 13s
    12. Working with vertical alignment
      10m 27s
  9. 14m 9s
    1. Using first-line indents
      2m 26s
    2. Using indent alternatives
      2m 3s
    3. Working with left and right indents
      4m 0s
    4. Using last-line indents and outdents
      1m 26s
    5. Using paragraph spacing
      4m 14s
  10. 23m 19s
    1. Setting hyphenation
      6m 14s
    2. Working with line breaks and discretionary hyphens
      4m 48s
    3. Balancing ragged lines
      1m 36s
    4. Using the No Break feature and non-breaking characters
      2m 52s
    5. Using frame, column, and page breaks
      3m 42s
    6. Defining Keep Options
      4m 7s
  11. 37m 53s
    1. Understanding tabs
      8m 58s
    2. Considerations for table text
      3m 55s
    3. Table tips and tricks
      11m 55s
    4. Creating a bulleted list
      6m 50s
    5. Creating a numbered list
      3m 46s
    6. Creating a multi-level numbered list
      2m 29s
  12. 23m 12s
    1. Understanding drop caps
      11m 3s
    2. Navigating tricky drop caps
      5m 14s
    3. Using a nested character style with a drop cap
      3m 59s
    4. Other uses of drop caps
      2m 56s
  13. 1h 11m
    1. Understanding paragraph and character styles
      7m 13s
    2. Creating, applying, and editing styles
      7m 3s
    3. Removing overrides
      4m 58s
    4. Creating and applying character styles
      5m 4s
    5. Creating and applying nested styles
      12m 30s
    6. Using GREP styles (regular expressions)
      4m 8s
    7. Creating and applying sequential styles
      6m 19s
    8. Using paragraph rules creatively
      11m 48s
    9. Mapping Word styles
      6m 12s
    10. Working with anchored objects and object styles
      6m 24s
  14. 25m 30s
    1. Applying a text wrap
      6m 7s
    2. Making items ignore a text wrap
      1m 46s
    3. Using text wraps for flexible layouts
      3m 2s
    4. Working with difficult text wraps
      8m 39s
    5. Inverting text wraps
      2m 7s
    6. Setting text wrap preferences
      3m 49s
  15. 29m 33s
    1. Choosing a page size and setting margins
      6m 33s
    2. Setting up columns
      2m 53s
    3. Dividing a page into rows
      3m 27s
    4. Setting up a baseline grid
      5m 40s
    5. Handling baseline grid problems
      3m 37s
    6. Baseline grid tricks
      7m 23s
  16. 12m 19s
    1. Looking at screen documents
      4m 2s
    2. Setting size, leading, and line length onscreen
      3m 13s
    3. Exploring typefaces designed for the screen
      3m 36s
    4. Accessibility: Contrast and color
      1m 28s
  17. 28s
    1. Goodbye
      28s

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