Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
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 the most direct path to a drop cap is the control panel. I have my brochure document open from the exercise folder, and I'm going to zoom in on this text. I want to apply a drop cap to this second paragraph. It doesn't really matter which I choose, but in this case, I'm just going to apply to the second paragraph, and I'll place my cursor in there by double-clicking.
Next, I'm going to make sure my control panel is in the Paragraph mode. Right now it's in the Character mode, and the keyboard shortcut for swapping between those modes is Command+Option+7, or Control+Alt+7. In the control panel, there are two fields to control your drop caps; here they are. The first field let's you choose how many lines the drop cap should drop. Right now it's set to 0, because there is no drop cap at all. If I choose 1, it basically does the same thing; it doesn't drop at all, but in this case, I'm going to go down to 3. I'll press Tab for it to take effect, and Tab is also a fast way to jump from one field to the next.
You can see the drop cap is now three lines down. This second field lets me control how many characters should drop down. Right now it's only set to one, the first character, but I'm going to change that to 3 as well, and I'll press Enter or Return. Now three characters are dropped. This is still editable text. There is nothing special about it; it's just a little bit bigger, and the text is flowing around it, but I can select it, and change it in any way I want. For example, I'll change the formatting of this text by going back to the control panel, and switching to the Character mode, and then turning on Small Caps.
The characters are a little bit far away from each other, so I'm going to track them together a little bit, and then I'll even change the color. You get the idea. You can make them any style you want. Let's do another drop cap for this first paragraph. Ordinarily you wouldn't have two in a row, but I'm just showing how to do it here. For this paragraph, I'll go back to the Paragraph mode of the control panel, and I'm going to increase the size of this space before, so we have a little bit of room to work with. I'll press Tab to jump to the space after Tab again to jump to the drop cap.
I'll just drop this one two lines, and I only wanted to do one character, so I'll just hit Enter or Return. That drop cap is looking a little bit small to me, so I'm going to select it, and instead of dropping it farther, I'm going to raise it. I can raise it by going back to the Character mode, and increasing the font size. So now it's dropped and raised. The only problem here is that drop cap is kind of bumping into the I on the second line a little bit too much. I'd like to move the text away from the A slightly.
So to do that, I place my cursor between the A and the T in this word, just after the drop cap. I go up to the control panel, and I change the kerning -- we looked at that in the last chapter -- change the kerning to add a little bit of space. I'll bump this up to about 50. You can see that when I add kerning between the A and the T, it also affects the other lines below that. So all lines in the drop cap are moved away from the drop cap character. You can create all kinds of interesting typographic effects with drop caps; just let your imagination go wild.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
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.