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Optical Margin Alignment is very useful, especially when working with justified text, and it's going to ensure that we keep a nice strong straight line on the right-hand edge of our text frame. So here's how we apply Optical Margin Alignment. We do nothing more than put your cursor in the story or you can have it selected as a frame with your Selection tool, and then come to the Story panel, which I have as part of my workspace, but if you don't have as part of yours you'll find under the Type menu, and then you just need to check that check box, and that's it.
The one option that you have is to change the point size, and theoretically this should match the point size that you are working with, so since I'm working with 10 point type, that's what I have this value set to. Now what's the difference? Let's just compare these two paragraphs, the top one without Optical Margin Alignment, and the bottom one with. The purpose of Optical Margin Alignment is to make sure that we avoid these optical holes caused by punctuation and hyphenation at the end of the line, and also, and we see it in this case at the beginning of the line as well, so if I turn on this extra layer that I have made, we can see I have highlighted in red where these visual holes occur caused by where the punctuation falls.
But if we compare that with the Optical Margin Alignment--and just to really define that edge I am going to press my W key to go to the Normal View where I can my frame edge--and we can see that we have the punctuation and the hyphenation sticking out beyond that right-hand edge. Now people don't like it. I think it's great. I think that the reason some people don't like it is we got used to seeing our text without it because for many years it wasn't easily possible. Of course it's very, very easy here, all you need to do is check a check box.
Just a couple of other things relating to Optical Margin Alignment, if you want to apply it in a global way, it's not part of a Paragraph Style. You can't apply it as a format to your text. But you can apply it as a format to your Object Styles. Now I'm going a little bit off topic here, I will be talking about Object Styles later on, but since we're specifically talking about Optical Margin Alignment here, I could make myself an Object Style that I wanted to apply to my text frames, and I could incorporate into that Optical Margin Alignment, so that's an option.
And one other thing I should mention, I have just said you can't incorporate as part of a Paragraph Style, but you can incorporate exceptions to it as part of a Paragraph Style. What I mean by that is that if you come to your Indents and Spacing, you'll see that you have this option, Ignore Optical Margin. So let's say that you have gone the former route, and you have made an Object Style, you have applied it to a text frame, so the whole story has Optical Margin Alignment applied, but then you just want certain paragraphs to not be optically margin aligned.
Well, you would just incorporate this into the style definition. And you might want to do that for paragraphs that begin with numbers or bullets, those are the type of paragraphs that don't benefit from Optical Margin Alignment. I have demonstrated this with justified text. It's also relevant with left aligned text, although the results are less dramatic. So Optical Margin Alignment, best thing since sliced bread in my opinion, and very easy to use.
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