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Paragraph rules provide us with a great way of breaking up and differentiating different parts of our text, and also an interesting way to give emphasis to our heads and subheads by having them reverse out of a solid color rule. Now, the basic premise of a paragraph rule is, as its name suggests, that it is attached to the text itself, which means that if you move the text, the rule will move with it. So you don't have to draw yourself a line and then when your text reflows, chase after that text with the line, which would get very tedious and would be prone to all sorts of errors.
So let's take a look at the different things that we can do with a paragraph rule. So in the heading that I have here, I have a Rule Above and a Rule Below. So it's not just an either/or, but you can have both. I am going to come up to my Control panel, and down to Paragraph Rules, and you can see that I have a Rule Above 1 point, this is its Color, this is its Offset, it's position relative to the baseline of the type.
And then I also have a Rule Below, which is turned on, same Weight, same Color, different amount of Offset, that's the result. Note that for both the Width of the rule is set to the text, i.e., it's going to be as long as the line of text is. Now some other examples. This one here, the COLUMN WIDTH RULE, I'll use the keyboard shortcut this time to jump to my Paragraph Rules, which is Command+Option+J, or Ctrl+Alt+J. And here we see I have a Rule Above on.
Now, to make that rule sit behind my type, firstly I have made it a heavy white, it's 12 points. That's relative to a point size of 12 points. You'll notice that I have put the type in All Caps so that we get a visibly equal amount of space above and below the type. And I have adjusted the Offset of the rule, like so. And of course, I have changed the Color of the type to paper so that it reverses out of the rule.
These can be tricky to set up, but once they are set up, then all we need to do is define them as a Paragraph Style, which you can see is what I have done right there. So if this were to start out like this, as a basic paragraph, all I need to do is click on the style name to apply all of those formats to the text. Next we have a slight variant of that, a TEXT WIDTH RULE. And if we look at its formats, we can see that the only difference here really is that the Width is set to the Width of Text.
Now, when I do that, I find there is a bit of a problem in that the Width of the rule is fit too tightly around the type. So to give it a bit of extra breathing space, I have added in these parameters right here, a Left Indent of -2 points and the same on the Right. Now, look what happens if I set those to 0, we can see that especially on the right, that rule is far too close to the E, so that's the purpose of that Right Indent, to move the Right Indent out beyond the Width of the Text, we need it to be a negative amount, and the same amount on the left.
In addition, on the left-hand side you'll see, if you look up on the Control panel right here, I have indented the text itself by 2 points to compensate. So however much you make this negative, make the Left Indent a positive amount. In this next instance we see a RULE ABOVE AND BELOW combined in a single paragraph, so we have the Rule Above, which is the Color, the solid color that the text is reversing out of. This is at 12 points, same amount of Left and Right Indent as before, and then for the Rule Below, we have it set to 1 point and the Width of the Column.
In terms of the Offsets of these rules, if you apply a positive Offset to a Rule Above, it will go up above the baseline. If you apply it to a Rule Below, positive Offset, it goes down below the baseline. Now, you could try and remember that, but I wouldn't even bother, because the easiest way to do this is just by putting your cursor in the Offset field and then pressing your Up Arrow, and you can see it moving right there. I have got my Preview checked, which is essential, or your Down Arrow, and you can just dial in the right amount of space.
There's another instance of a Rule Above and Below, and in this case the Rule Below is the heavier of the two, and it is the one that is actually above the Rule Above, and I know that's a little bit counterintuitive, but that's just how it is, Left Indent and Right Indent. In this case--and of course these values will vary according to your Column Width--but in this case we have 110 points each, narrowing the width of that rule.
I mentioned this usage of Rules Above and Below when we were looking at tables, so here I have a Rule Above and Below, useful for some sort of form or reply coupon where you want to indicate with shading the field into which you want your user to type. So let's just take a look and see what we have here. We have a Rule Below, which is set to Paper, and this has a Weight of 12 points, that's relative to a type point size of 10 points, so it's covering the whole of this, and it is obscuring the tinted rule that would otherwise go across the whole column. And if I turn that off, you can see what I mean.
Without that Rule Below set to Paper and at the Width of the Text, it would look like that. Somewhat counterintuitive is the fact that if you are combining Rules Above and Below on the same line like this, the Rule Below will actually be above the Rule Above in the stacking order, as we see here. We can also do things like this, if you'd like to have a LOZENGE RULE that your type reverses out of, then this is achieved by a combination of a Rule Below and a Rule Above, where the Rule Below is actually a series of dots.
Making the two line up can be a little bit tricky, there is some trial and error involved. But as I said before, you get it right once, and then you save it as a Paragraph Style. If I turn off the Rule Above, you can see how this is created. So the Rule Below is just a series of dots, combine that with the Rule Above, and that's our result. And in this result where we're getting into the realm now of stupid paragraph rule tricks, I'm not sure I could ever find a usage for this, but it is interesting to note that you don't need to have the Rule Above and the Rule Below be the same color.
And then just to address this check box here, the Overprint Stroke, look what happens when we choose to have different colors, and in this case I am using a Right Slant Hash rule for the Rule Below, and we choose to Overprint the Stroke. Now, at the moment I do not have my Overprint Preview turned on. But when I turn it on, you can see that the cyan combines with the yellow to give us this additional color of the green. As I said, I'm not sure how I could ever really use that in practice, but you never know, one day perhaps.
Another useful thing we can do with rules is we can use them as our head styles for info boxes, like so. And let's just see, this is a box head style, so if I apply a box head style right there and then this is the box text. But we could go one further than this, and you saw me in the earlier movie address the issue of sequential styles. If I now come to my Object Styles and then apply the fact box Object Style to that, we get all of that formatting in a single click.
If you are going to use this technique, you will need to make sure that in order to have your paragraph rule flush with the top of the text frame, that the following is true, that the frame itself has no top inset, it is inset on the left, right, and the bottom. And that the paragraph rule specification is set to Keep In Frame. And that's going to make sure that when you add a rule to your type, that if necessary the rule will push the type down rather than stick up out of the top of the text frame.
So if I turn that off, you can see everything moves up. But we want things contained within our box and presumably within our type area. You may be wondering, is there nothing that you cannot do with paragraph rules? And actually, yes, there are quite a few things you can't do with paragraph rules, so don't expect miracles from them. They work great when applied to single line paragraphs, they do not work when applied to multi-line paragraphs. So, for example, right now I have this Paragraph Style applied to this text.
If I were to apply that style to this text, the whole thing goes pear shaped. So some workarounds for you should you need to work with this style of highlighting, or if you want to put a box around a paragraph of text. This is achieved using a Character Style. I highlight Character Style, and it's actually achieved with an underline. Same sort of principle, we make the Weight a heavy weight, and then we adjust the Offset of the line.
This allows us to apply a rule, or in this case a highlight, to a specified range of text, rather than as a paragraph rule would to the whole paragraph. I covered this particular scenario when we were working with tables. If you want to put a box around a paragraph, or if you want to reverse out a paragraph from a solid field, then what you need is a single column, single row table. And taking that one step further, you can also use tables to apply a vertical rule to a paragraph, which is not something that you can do with Paragraph Rules.
If we take a look at this text right here, we see that this is a single row, single column table, and that I have applied different settings to the four sides of the table border. I'm going to triple click on my Preview proxy to uncheck all of those four sides, and then when I click back, we see that on the left side we have the red 12 point Straight Hash style applied, but for all three other sides, there is nothing applied, all the Weight of the rule is set to 0.
So that's just a sometimes useful work-around if you ever need to use a vertical rule with a paragraph. So many things we can achieve with paragraph rules, some things that we can't, and some work-arounds to make up for those shortcomings.
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