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Setting tabs

From: InDesign CS5 Essential Training

Video: Setting tabs

I want to zoom in on the upper-right corner of this page here, to this table of contents, and I'll double-click between the a and the 4 and press the Tab. When you press the Tab key on your keyboard, the text indents a certain amount. By default, it's a half-inch. Now Tabs can be helpful for setting the horizontal position of some text in the line. But if you are going to use Tabs, you have to follow three ground rules. First, never type a Tab at the beginning of a paragraph in order to create an indent. That's what the Left Indent and First-line Indent features are for.

Setting tabs

I want to zoom in on the upper-right corner of this page here, to this table of contents, and I'll double-click between the a and the 4 and press the Tab. When you press the Tab key on your keyboard, the text indents a certain amount. By default, it's a half-inch. Now Tabs can be helpful for setting the horizontal position of some text in the line. But if you are going to use Tabs, you have to follow three ground rules. First, never type a Tab at the beginning of a paragraph in order to create an indent. That's what the Left Indent and First-line Indent features are for.

We talked about those earlier in this chapter. Second, never type two Tab characters in a row. If you want your Tab to take you farther than that half-inch, then set a tab stop. I'll show you how to do that in just a moment. Finally, if you're using Tabs to make something that looks suspiciously like a table, it probably is a table and you should use InDesign's table features instead of Tabs. I cover tables in a later chapter. Now all that said, if you still want to use Tabs, like here in this table of contents, we probably do, here is what you do.

I have typed the Tab in here, but now I want to set a tab stop to determine where that 4 should go. I am going to scroll up very slightly, go to the Type menu and choose Tabs. That opens the Tabs panel. Now why did I scroll up first? Because InDesign will place the Tabs panel in kind of random places, unless InDesign is displaying the top of the text frame. Now for some reason, if it does show up in a different place, like down here, all you need to do, to set it back to the top of the text frame, is to make sure there's enough room for it above the frame, and then click this little icon.

Looks like a horseshoe, but it's actually a magnet. It means snap it to the top of the frame. To add a tab stop, all you need to do is click up here in the ruler. Now that it's there, I can drag it to the left or to the right and notice that as I drag it, I get a black line in my text frame. That's showing me exactly where in the frame this tab stop is going to position the 4. There are four different kinds of tab stops I can use. Right now, I am using a rightalign tab stop. That means the right edge of the 4 is going to be aligned at that position.

But I can also change this to a left aligned tab stop, by clicking this first button over here, a center align tab stop, or a decimal align tab stop. Decimal align tab stops are useful when you're doing things like accounting, where you want to align decimal numbers, for example, this 4.25. I'll move this over to the left, and you can see that wherever that tab stop is the InDesign is going to position that decimal point. In this case, however, I'm doing a table of contents, not on accounting spreadsheet. So I'm going to change this to a right align tab stop and move it over here to the edge.

Now if I know exactly where I want this, I could replace this number up here. Let's say I want it at exactly 2.5 inches. So I'll type 2.5 in and then hit Enter and you can see it positions that tab stop. Now when a Table of Contents like this I probably want to fill that space with something, maybe dots. That's called tab leader ad you can add a tab leader by first clicking on the tab stop that you are trying to affect, coming up to the Leader field, and entering whatever character you want to put in there. In this case, I'll just put a dot and hit Enter. There is my tab leader and as my tab stop changes, the tab leader updates.

The problem with tabs and tab stops is that sometimes the width of your column changes. Let me show you what I mean. I am going to move that out of the way, choose the Selection tool, and then I am going to make this text frame smaller. When I do that, you can see that the 4 breaks on to the next line. It's trying to get out to that tab stop, but it can't get there, so it breaks to the next line. That's pretty ugly. In this case, I'd have to go in and change my tab stop. So wouldn't it be cool if there was a kind of tab stop that would always go to the right margin, no matter where that right margin was? Well, there is.

It's called the right indent tab. Let me undo this with Command+Z or Ctrl+ Z on Windows, and I am going to select that tab stop. This is actually an important thing about Tabs. Tabs actually are characters. In fact, I can go to the Type menu, choose Show Hidden Characters, and you can see a little blue icon there for my hidden character. So that's actually a character that I can drag over and then delete. So back to what I was saying. I want to place a right indent Tab, rather than a normal Tab. I can get that by going to the Type menu, choosing Insert Special Character and then Other.

There it is, Right Indent Tab ,and you can see that the keyboard shortcut is Shift+Tab. Shift+Tab adds a right indent tab and you can see that the 4 is pushed all the way to that edge, and now as I drag this frame smaller or wider, you can see that the 4 always moves with that edge. That's incredibly helpful when you are trying to layout a page quickly. But here is the weird part. If you think about it, where did those dot leaders come from? Well, when you use a right indent tab, InDesign picks up the tab leader from any tab stop that's inside this ruler.

If I get rid of that tab stop, the leader goes away. Let's go ahead and add one back in again. To do that, I simply click anywhere in here, doesn't matter which, because the right indent tab is going to pick it up from anywhere. Come over here and press dot and then Enter. There we go, great! That's looking pretty good, except that those dots are really clunky looking. So once again, I want to remind you a Tab is a character and I can select that Tab character, come up to the Control panel, and change its size. And when I do that, it changes the size of every dot in that dot leader.

To make those dots move farther apart, I simply change the Tracking value. I'll bump that up to 200 and now you can see that the tab leader is looking much more elegant. Setting tabs and tab stops are typically important in creating table of contents, indexes and other long documents that have some structure. These essential tools will take you a long way toward making sure those documents look good.

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This video is part of

Image for InDesign CS5 Essential Training
InDesign CS5 Essential Training

135 video lessons · 89799 viewers

David Blatner
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 5m 50s
    1. Welcome
      1m 33s
    2. What is InDesign CS5?
      2m 26s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 51s
  2. 54m 49s
    1. Understanding the Application window
      6m 0s
    2. Navigating pages
      6m 39s
    3. Zooming and magnifying
      6m 57s
    4. Managing more than one document window
      3m 36s
    5. Setting rulers and measurements
      2m 9s
    6. Positioning panels correctly
      6m 28s
    7. Saving time by making workspaces
      3m 24s
    8. Setting the view quality of artwork
      4m 9s
    9. Adjusting View and Preview settings
      4m 56s
    10. Rotating pages and spreads
      3m 2s
    11. Displaying a new view with the New Window feature
      3m 29s
    12. Setting application and document preferences
      4m 0s
  3. 21m 31s
    1. Using the Tool panel
      8m 1s
    2. Learning and editing keyboard shortcuts
      6m 24s
    3. Working with spring-loaded tool shortcuts
      1m 17s
    4. Using contextual menus
      2m 51s
    5. Choosing menu items with Quick Apply
      2m 58s
  4. 45m 25s
    1. Creating new documents
      7m 28s
    2. Saving and reverting documents
      3m 41s
    3. Using multiple Undo and Revert
      4m 28s
    4. Setting margin and column guides
      5m 16s
    5. Using ruler guides
      8m 10s
    6. Bleeding colors or images off the side of the page
      4m 29s
    7. Saving objects in libraries
      4m 49s
    8. Exporting and importing page snippets
      4m 29s
    9. Saving for CS4 with IDML
      2m 35s
  5. 31m 18s
    1. Inserting, deleting, and moving pages
      7m 23s
    2. Changing page size
      6m 14s
    3. Adding page numbering
      3m 43s
    4. Changing page numbering with sections
      5m 58s
    5. Creating and applying master pages
      5m 20s
    6. Overriding master page items
      2m 40s
  6. 1h 21m
    1. Understanding text frames
      4m 6s
    2. Typing and editing text
      4m 36s
    3. Filling with placeholder text
      2m 38s
    4. Inserting special characters
      4m 43s
    5. Importing text
      7m 49s
    6. Threading text frames
      4m 1s
    7. Setting text frame columns and insets
      6m 32s
    8. Setting vertical justification and first baseline position
      6m 9s
    9. Putting text on a path
      6m 51s
    10. Using the Story Editor
      8m 43s
    11. Checking spelling
      7m 42s
    12. Using Find/Change
      9m 25s
    13. Tracking text changes
      8m 1s
  7. 49m 50s
    1. Importing graphics
      8m 11s
    2. Importing from Mini Bridge
      5m 27s
    3. Using the Links panel
      6m 34s
    4. Embedding links
      2m 37s
    5. Editing graphics in their original app
      3m 14s
    6. Fitting graphics to a frame
      6m 12s
    7. Taking advantage of image transparency and clipping paths
      4m 53s
    8. Adding live captions
      5m 56s
    9. Colorizing images
      2m 1s
    10. Turning image layers on and off
      4m 45s
  8. 46m 15s
    1. Selecting objects
      5m 32s
    2. Applying basic strokes and fills
      8m 18s
    3. Using advanced strokes
      3m 28s
    4. Adjusting transparency
      4m 38s
    5. Adding drop shadows
      6m 41s
    6. Applying feathering
      4m 25s
    7. Copying formatting with the Eyedropper tool
      4m 35s
    8. Finding and changing object formatting
      4m 50s
    9. Making polygons and starbursts
      3m 48s
  9. 22m 56s
    1. Making interactive documents
      2m 6s
    2. Adding hyperlinks
      5m 52s
    3. Building bookmarks
      3m 38s
    4. Creating buttons
      8m 57s
    5. Animating an object
      2m 23s
  10. 23m 29s
    1. Creating color swatches
      5m 52s
    2. The danger and power of unnamed colors
      4m 47s
    3. Building tint swatches
      2m 18s
    4. Creating gradient swatches
      3m 56s
    5. Applying gradients
      6m 36s
  11. 50m 0s
    1. Positioning objects with the Page Gap tool
      2m 53s
    2. Stacking objects
      2m 13s
    3. Creating and controlling layers
      3m 53s
    4. Managing objects in the Layers panel
      3m 37s
    5. Nesting objects
      2m 46s
    6. Editing frame and path shapes
      4m 6s
    7. Adding rounded corners and other corner options
      3m 57s
    8. Grouping objects
      3m 14s
    9. Locking objects
      2m 39s
    10. Aligning and distributing
      5m 43s
    11. Understanding text wrap
      8m 13s
    12. Using anchored objects
      6m 46s
  12. 18m 49s
    1. Duplicating objects
      5m 39s
    2. Rotating objects
      3m 3s
    3. Scaling objects
      3m 57s
    4. Mirroring objects
      3m 46s
    5. Using the Transform Again feature
      2m 24s
  13. 25m 52s
    1. Applying basic character styling
      7m 8s
    2. Applying advanced character formatting
      4m 54s
    3. Changing case
      2m 51s
    4. Understanding OpenType features
      3m 19s
    5. Using Find/Change for text formatting
      3m 18s
    6. Using Find Font
      4m 22s
  14. 45m 27s
    1. Applying formatting to a paragraph
      4m 14s
    2. Spanning a paragraph across multiple columns
      3m 5s
    3. Splitting a paragraph into multiple columns
      2m 1s
    4. Using drop caps
      3m 16s
    5. Adjusting text hyphenation
      3m 21s
    6. Fine-tuning justified text
      4m 19s
    7. Setting tabs
      5m 54s
    8. Aligning to a baseline grid
      4m 24s
    9. Controlling orphans and widows with Keep Options
      2m 39s
    10. Adding rules (lines) above or below a paragraph
      3m 14s
    11. Adding automatic bullets
      4m 39s
    12. Working with numbered lists
      4m 21s
  15. 31m 3s
    1. Creating and applying paragraph styles
      6m 34s
    2. Using character styles
      5m 43s
    3. Applying styles automatically with Nested Styles
      7m 19s
    4. Using object styles
      3m 27s
    5. Using Quick Apply with styles
      2m 49s
    6. Cleaning up a local formatting mess
      5m 11s
  16. 37m 0s
    1. Creating a table
      5m 54s
    2. Adjusting rows and columns
      6m 35s
    3. Formatting a table
      8m 5s
    4. Adding headers and footers
      1m 58s
    5. Applying table styles
      5m 32s
    6. Adding Microsoft Word and Excel tables
      8m 56s
  17. 10m 26s
    1. Checking your document with the Preflight panel
      2m 54s
    2. Creating a custom preflight profile
      4m 45s
    3. Checking color with the Separations Preview
      2m 47s
  18. 31m 7s
    1. Packaging for output
      4m 13s
    2. Using the Print dialog box
      10m 22s
    3. Exporting a PDF
      8m 47s
    4. Exporting an interactive PDF
      3m 59s
    5. Exporting text
      1m 36s
    6. Exporting SWF files
      2m 10s
  19. 1m 32s
    1. Finding more information and help
      1m 12s
    2. Goodbye
      20s

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