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Setting first baseline options

From: InDesign CS4 Beyond the Basics

Video: Setting first baseline options

Where do you want the first line of text to sit inside your textframe? For example, I have my Bliss_Magazine document open from the Exercise Files and I am going to press Shift+Page Down a couple of times and I will zoom in here so we can look at this first line of text inside this frame. Now most InDesign users just fill a frame with text without giving the exact location of that first baseline a second thought. But whenever quality and precision counts, you need to control every aspect of your text including its vertical position. Here's how to do it. Select the frame with the Selection tool, go to the Object menu and choose Text Frame Options or press Command+B or Ctrl+B on windows. Inside the Text Frame Options dialog box, click on Baseline Options.

Setting first baseline options

Where do you want the first line of text to sit inside your textframe? For example, I have my Bliss_Magazine document open from the Exercise Files and I am going to press Shift+Page Down a couple of times and I will zoom in here so we can look at this first line of text inside this frame. Now most InDesign users just fill a frame with text without giving the exact location of that first baseline a second thought. But whenever quality and precision counts, you need to control every aspect of your text including its vertical position. Here's how to do it. Select the frame with the Selection tool, go to the Object menu and choose Text Frame Options or press Command+B or Ctrl+B on windows. Inside the Text Frame Options dialog box, click on Baseline Options.

Here the first feature, First Baseline, lets us control exactly where that baseline is going to land. The Default value is set to Ascent, which means look at the ascender in this particular font. The ascender of course is anything that sits above the X height of this font. So the height of the L in this case is going to determine where the baseline of the first line is going to sit. If we change this to something different, for example, X height, you can see that the baseline moves pretty dramatically. Now is the X height, which is the height of all these lower case characters.

What if we choose Cap height? Well just as you would expect the height of a capital letter is aligned along the top of the text frame and some other characters stick out just a little bit and some go under but the one that I use most often are Leading and Fixed. Leading is great because if you are working with a strict Leading Grid, you know that the top of this frame down to the first base line is exactly the size of your Leading Grid unit, which is the same thing of course as the distance from this line to the next line and so on. So it gives you a lot of precise control on your page.

I typically use leading for most of my text frames whenever I have a bunch of text in a frame. Well let me show you another use for Fixed. I am going to create a new text frame here, which is going to be a caption underneath this image, and I am just going to say, "This is a scoop". I can't see it very well because it doesn't have any text wrap. So do a Command+Option+W or Control+Alt+W, hit Escape so I can select the object itself and give that some text wrap and press the keyboard shortcut again to make that disappear. Now I can really see that I have a caption inside this text frame. I will press Command+Shift+C or Control+Shift+C on Windows to center that text inside the frame and now the last thing I want to do have exactly five millimeters of space between the bottom of this image and the baseline of this caption. Why 5 millimeters? Because that's what my Art Director told me to do. Often times, when you have a strict design, you have these measurements that you need to pay attention to. Exactly five millimeters from here down to the baseline. So how are you going to do it? Well it's not that hard once you know how. First I am going to drag this text frame up until it snaps against the bottom of the graphic frame. That's a new thing in CS4. The smart guides thing that will snap one object against another.

The next thing I need to do is control how far down this is from the top of this text frame. We already know how to do that, right? We go to Object menu, choose Text Frame Options, come over to Baseline Options and we can say that we want this to have a fixed first baseline offset and the fixed amount is going to be five millimeters. Click OK and it snaps exactly to that five millimeter point. So we know that if this is five millimeters from the top of the text frame, the text frame is 0 millimeters from the image itself. So the caption is exactly where it needs to be. I am going to show you one other trick having to do with setting the first baseline in a frame. I will zoom out to fit page in window with a Command+0 or Ctrl+0 on Windows and I will go next page by pressing Shift+Page Down. In this design, I would like this first line of this text frame to be at exactly 100 millimeters down from the top of the page. I want it to be exact, so I need to use the Text Frame Options dialog box to do that, but in this case I am not going to use first baseline offset, I am going to use a Baseline Grid. Let me show you. I will select this text frame, I will go to Object > Text Frame Options and I will choose Baseline Options.

I am going to ignore the First Baseline feature here and instead I am going to use a Custom Baseline Grid for this text frame. I am going to say I want this Custom Baseline Grid to start at exactly 100 millimeters down from not the Inset but the top of the page. So this Custom Baseline Grid is going to start exactly 100 millimeters from the top of the page, just right around here somewhere, and it's going to do it only on paragraphs that have the Align to Baseline Grid turned on. So I have setup the Custom Baseline Grid here for this frame. Click OK. Now I will double click on that first line, which of course switches to the Type tool, and while the cursor is flashing inside that paragraph, I come up here to the Control panel and turn Align to Baseline Grid.

Now we know that the baseline of this paragraph is exactly at 100 milimeters and we know that because it's snapping to the first line in the Baseline Grid and the first line was at 100 millimeters. That is just a little trick that I learned from my friend and colleague Rufus Deuchler and it really helps when you are trying to be precise in laying things out on your page. In fact when people say that InDesign gives you an incredible amount of control over your text, this is the kind of thing that they mean. When you need precision, InDesign has the tools for you.

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This video is part of

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InDesign CS4 Beyond the Basics

90 video lessons · 24515 viewers

David Blatner
Author

 
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  1. 2m 11s
    1. Welcome
      1m 3s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 8s
  2. 25m 16s
    1. Reviewing Control panel shortcuts
      8m 34s
    2. Managing panels
      6m 14s
    3. Letting InDesign do the math
      2m 52s
    4. Using Selection tool clicks
      1m 39s
    5. Using Quick Apply shortcuts
      3m 2s
    6. Setting up context shortcuts
      2m 55s
  3. 23m 51s
    1. Using column guides
      3m 42s
    2. Formatting and positioning guides
      5m 15s
    3. Setting first baseline options
      5m 30s
    4. Using the Document grid
      3m 13s
    5. Setting bleeds
      3m 3s
    6. Using slugs
      3m 8s
  4. 48m 2s
    1. Shuffling pages (or not)
      2m 47s
    2. Scaling objects to a specific size
      2m 32s
    3. Aligning objects to a page
      4m 41s
    4. Using advanced libraries
      4m 5s
    5. Using advanced anchored objects
      11m 21s
    6. Setting non-printing objects
      3m 10s
    7. Creating notes
      5m 23s
    8. Using Data Merge
      10m 41s
    9. Creating templates
      3m 22s
  5. 39m 32s
    1. Creating polygons and starbursts
      2m 35s
    2. Setting custom stroke styles
      5m 15s
    3. Using advanced effects
      8m 46s
    4. Making masks in InDesign
      4m 10s
    5. Integrating InDesign and Illustrator
      4m 59s
    6. Setting compound paths
      5m 4s
    7. Using advanced clipping paths
      6m 6s
    8. Using advanced image transparency
      2m 37s
  6. 55m 26s
    1. Using advanced text formatting
      5m 37s
    2. Using other languages
      4m 22s
    3. Setting advanced paragraph numbering
      3m 12s
    4. Using GREP to find/change
      6m 54s
    5. Managing glyphs
      5m 6s
    6. Finding and changing glyphs
      2m 39s
    7. Adding footnotes
      7m 57s
    8. Creating outlines
      3m 39s
    9. Setting conditional text
      9m 16s
    10. Creating cross-references
      6m 44s
  7. 33m 3s
    1. Advanced text importing
      7m 49s
    2. Using Apply Next Style
      5m 4s
    3. Advanced text styling
      6m 9s
    4. Setting load styles
      2m 58s
    5. Linking to text files on disk
      4m 1s
    6. Understanding GREP styles
      7m 2s
  8. 1h 4m
    1. Building a multi-document book
      4m 42s
    2. Setting page numbering across books
      7m 53s
    3. Setting chapter numbering
      6m 7s
    4. Using the Section Marker feature
      6m 53s
    5. Creating "Continued On..." numbers
      4m 44s
    6. Synchronizing documents in a book
      5m 41s
    7. Creating a table of contents
      11m 24s
    8. Indexing documents
      7m 24s
    9. Generating an index
      6m 47s
    10. Printing or exporting a book
      3m 10s
  9. 46m 4s
    1. Creating hyperlinks
      12m 53s
    2. Setting bookmarks
      6m 7s
    3. Creating buttons
      11m 16s
    4. Making movies
      8m 24s
    5. Creating sounds
      4m 51s
    6. Setting page transitions
      2m 33s
  10. 25m 59s
    1. Setting up swatch and style defaults
      3m 24s
    2. Using mixed ink colors
      6m 16s
    3. Working with duotones
      4m 23s
    4. Overprinting
      2m 10s
    5. Ink aliasing
      4m 50s
    6. Using the Kuler panel
      4m 56s
  11. 50m 27s
    1. Creating the transparency blend space
      4m 6s
    2. Understanding InDesign color settings
      9m 8s
    3. Assign Profile and Convert to Profile
      3m 26s
    4. Working with RGB images
      7m 54s
    5. Working with CMYK images
      6m 28s
    6. Soft-proofing
      5m 18s
    7. Managing color at print time
      7m 25s
    8. Managing color in a PDF export
      6m 42s
  12. 42m 1s
    1. Embedding preflight profiles
      5m 1s
    2. Using the Transparency Flattener preview
      3m 23s
    3. Reviewing Transparency Flattener settings
      6m 30s
    4. Setting print presets
      3m 35s
    5. Setting PDF presets
      3m 21s
    6. Exporting to XHTML
      7m 42s
    7. Exporting to SWF
      6m 45s
    8. Exporting to XFL
      5m 44s
  13. 25m 58s
    1. Understanding XML and InDesign
      6m 51s
    2. Structuring InDesign content
      4m 17s
    3. Importing XML
      6m 57s
    4. Exporting to XML
      7m 53s
  14. 34s
    1. Goodbye
      34s

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