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Using drop caps

From: InDesign CS5 Essential Training

Video: Using drop caps

Much of the art of design revolves around drawing the eye to where you want the reader to go and one of the best ways to draw the eye to the beginning of a story or a section is with a drop cap. InDesign lets you easily apply a drop cap to any paragraph and even automatically change the drop cap styling. Now the most direct path to a drop cap is the Control Panel. Let's see how it works. I'll zoom-in on this paragraph and I want to apply a drop cap at this letter N. To do that, I'll double-click to switch to the Type Tool and then I'll make sure that the cursor is flashing inside this paragraph.

Using drop caps

Much of the art of design revolves around drawing the eye to where you want the reader to go and one of the best ways to draw the eye to the beginning of a story or a section is with a drop cap. InDesign lets you easily apply a drop cap to any paragraph and even automatically change the drop cap styling. Now the most direct path to a drop cap is the Control Panel. Let's see how it works. I'll zoom-in on this paragraph and I want to apply a drop cap at this letter N. To do that, I'll double-click to switch to the Type Tool and then I'll make sure that the cursor is flashing inside this paragraph.

Now I go to the Control Panel, making sure that it's in Paragraph mode and I can set the drop cap here. Right now, it's set to 0, which means no drop cap. I'm going to change it to 3 and then hit Enter or Return, that's it; I've got a drop cap. Now there are a few ways to fine-tune that drop cap, however. So let's take a look at that next. To adjust a drop cap, go to the Control Panel fly-out menu and choose Drop Caps and Nested Styles. Let's move this big dialog box out of the way so we can see what we're doing.

Here at the top you can see that our drop cap is going to drop 3 lines and it's going to be 1-character long. Most drop caps are only a single character but if you want to make this longer, you can. Let's change this to 2 and you can see that the entire word No is now a drop cap. You can make this as many characters as you want really. Let's set it back down to 1 though. One problem with setting a drop cap is this really huge character ends up being indented very slightly from the left edge. That looks a little bit weird so we're going to turn on the Align Left Edge checkbox.

That tells InDesign to make sure the left edge of the drop cap is aligned with the left edge of the rest of the text. If this drop cap had a descender like the letter Q or lowercase p that descender might bump into the text underneath it. If that were the case, I would turn on the Scale for Descenders checkbox but in this case, I'll leave it turned off. In a lot of designs the drop cap, is a different color or a style, sometimes even a whole different font from the rest of the text. Here by default, the drop cap is the same style as the rest of the text, but we can override that by choosing a Character Style here from this pop-up menu.

I've talked about Character Styles in a later chapter but I've gone ahead and created a Character Style here called drop swash and when I choose that, you can see that it immediately changes the whole drop cap. Let's go ahead and click OK so I can show you one last thing about drop caps that you need to know. Sometimes a drop cap, especially if it's italic, will bounce into the characters after it. You can adjust the amount of space between the drop cap and the letter next to it by changing its kerning. That's a character format. So I'm going to change the Control Panel to Character mode and then I'll come over here and change the kerning value.

As we saw earlier in this chapter, if I make this a negative number, it makes the space between these letters smaller. It brings the O closer to the N, but in the case of a drop cap, it brings all of the lines of that drop cap closer. If I do the opposite and make it a positive number, it pushes all of those lines away from the drop cap. You can create all kinds of interesting typographic effects with drop caps; just let your imagination go wild.

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This video is part of

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InDesign CS5 Essential Training

135 video lessons · 89547 viewers

David Blatner
Author

 
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  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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