Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Setting leading

From: InDesign Typography

Video: Setting leading

In this chapter, we are going to talk about leading, the space between the lines, so called because it used to be achieved by adding thin strips of lead, and we can achieve leading far more easily by using the control panel, and we can just nudge the leading up or down. We can choose the value from the leading scale. We can type in a value, or with the type selected, we can just use these quick keyboard shortcuts: Option or Alt and the down arrow to increase the leading, Option or Alt and the up arrow to decrease, or tighten the leading.

Setting leading

In this chapter, we are going to talk about leading, the space between the lines, so called because it used to be achieved by adding thin strips of lead, and we can achieve leading far more easily by using the control panel, and we can just nudge the leading up or down. We can choose the value from the leading scale. We can type in a value, or with the type selected, we can just use these quick keyboard shortcuts: Option or Alt and the down arrow to increase the leading, Option or Alt and the up arrow to decrease, or tighten the leading.

Now, how much leading is the right amount? There is no answer to that question, as you probably got it. It is going to depend upon a number of things, and these are some of the things that it will depend upon. As a general rule of thumb, for continuous reading text, we want plus 1 to plus 3 of our point size. That's a general, very broad rule of thumb for working in print. Different rules apply when working onscreen, and I will be devoting a chapter to screen typography a bit later on.

But here is a consideration; what is the X-height of the typeface that you are using? As I mentioned earlier, some typefaces have X-heights that are relatively high, and some less so. An example of a typeface with a relatively high X-height is Helvetica, and because of that, Helvetica and other fonts with a high X-height will require a bit more leading. On the left-hand side, we have Caslon 9 point on 10 point leading.

If we were to use the same leading value with the Helvetica, it's going to look too tight, and that's going to diminish the readability. The descenders are going to start to get very close to the ascenders of the lines that follow. Another consideration is the width of your column, or your column measure. This is very important in determining the readability of your text, and I will be talking about what is a good width for your columns, but right now we have these two examples, both of which are too wide, really; I have too many characters per line, but we see how we can compensate for the increased number of characters per line by increasing the leading, and that will make the type more readable.

It's an obvious point, but still one worth making. Should we want to reverse our type out of a solid background, it will increase that type's readability by increasing the leading by 1 or 2 points. That's what's happened in the example on the right-hand side. Sometimes when working with display type -- and this is only applicable to display type, you wouldn't need to get this fussy about, body copy -- sometimes you may need to manually adjust the leading according to the characteristics of the letters that you are working with.

In this case, in the top example, the leading is consistent throughout the paragraph, but there appears, optically, to be more space between lines three and four, and this is a factor of there being no descenders on the word temptation, so it looks like there is more space between these two lines. You can see in the example below, I have compensated for that by adding some optical leading, some manual intervention. And if I wanted to do that, I would just select that line, and then Option or Alt, and the up arrow, and just do that until visually it looks like the spacing between the lines is consistent.

Consistency with leading is all important. We don't want our leading to vary, because then our text is going to lose its rhythm, and it's going to look like it is the visual equivalent of a concertina, constantly varying the space between the lines. And another consideration is when working with leading and multiple columns, how wide should the space between the columns be? On the left-hand side, we have a two column layout where the gutter width is too tight, and if we look at this more closely, what's likely to happen is that when the reader gets to the end of the first column, because the gutter space, the space between the two columns, is actually less than the space between the lines, the temptation is for the eye to jump the column, and go on and read the first line of column two.

So we want to make sure that when we are working with multicolumn text, that the gutter space, and that's this value right here, is at least as much as the leading value, and in this case, I've made it exactly the same. So there are just a few considerations when setting the leading of your type. Now, in the next movie, I am going to address the thorny issue of auto-leading, and why it's best avoided.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for InDesign Typography
InDesign Typography

107 video lessons · 19673 viewers

Nigel French
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  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

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now "Already a member? Log in

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed InDesign Typography.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.