InDesign Typography
Illustration by John Hersey

Working with difficult text wraps


InDesign Typography

with Nigel French

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Video: Working with difficult text wraps

So what do we do when good Text Wraps go bad? These are some common problems that you might encounter when working with Text Wraps. So it's great fun and very visually compelling when you get it right to wrap text around an irregular shape. However, the problems that you are likely to encounter are these where you get trapped words as well as bad word spacing. Firstly, the bad word spacing, which I don't have an example of here, but the simple solution there is don't put Text Wraps in narrow columns, simple as that, prevention being the best medicine.
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  1. 4m 4s
    1. Welcome
    2. Using the exercise files
    3. Customizing the workspace for type
      2m 18s
  2. 9m 25s
    1. What is Typekit? (CC 2014.1)
      1m 56s
    2. Choosing and syncing fonts (CC 2014.1)
      3m 6s
    3. Syncing problems (CC 2014.1)
      1m 43s
    4. Typekit resources (CC 2014.1)
      1m 5s
    5. Using the Font menu (CC 2014.1)
      1m 35s
  3. 55m 41s
    1. Working with text frames
      8m 26s
    2. Using a primary text frame (CS6 and later)
      3m 59s
    3. Understanding text flow methods
      6m 25s
    4. Understanding text threads
      3m 40s
    5. Understanding Smart Text Reflow
      2m 27s
    6. Mocking up pages with placeholder text
      5m 47s
    7. Placing multiple text files
      3m 50s
    8. Using Auto-Size text frames (CS6 and later)
      4m 1s
    9. Copying and pasting vs. placing
      2m 25s
    10. Cleaning up text with Find/Change
      5m 46s
    11. Using the Story Editor
      3m 41s
    12. Spanning columns
      5m 14s
  4. 48m 34s
    1. Choosing your type
      6m 46s
    2. Understanding text essentials
      6m 37s
    3. Scaling type
      2m 27s
    4. Using italic and oblique type
      4m 33s
    5. Working with condensed and extended type
      4m 26s
    6. Setting type in all caps
      3m 46s
    7. Setting type in small caps
      4m 21s
    8. Underlining type
      4m 11s
    9. Using superscript and subscript
      4m 35s
    10. Applying baseline shift
      4m 8s
    11. Combining typefaces (CC 2014.1)
      2m 44s
  5. 16m 6s
    1. Understanding type anatomy
      3m 25s
    2. Exploring serif and sans serif
      2m 48s
    3. Comparing points, picas, and ems
      8m 34s
    4. What's in a name?
      1m 19s
  6. 16m 27s
    1. Setting leading
      4m 56s
    2. Avoiding auto-leading
      4m 12s
    3. Leading shortcuts and preferences
      4m 7s
    4. Using autoleading with inline graphics
      3m 12s
  7. 21m 25s
    1. Defining kerning and tracking
      2m 5s
    2. Understanding kerning methods
      5m 10s
    3. When and how to kern
      5m 53s
    4. When and how to track
      8m 17s
  8. 48m 42s
    1. Working with quotes, primes, and apostrophes
      8m 16s
    2. Using dashes
      5m 24s
    3. Using ellipses
      2m 56s
    4. Working with accents and special characters
      4m 1s
    5. Using space characters
      4m 15s
    6. Working with ligatures
      4m 29s
    7. Setting fractions
      3m 56s
    8. Using lining and proportional numerals
      2m 49s
    9. Using alternates, swashes, and ornaments
      5m 2s
    10. Working with optical sizes
      4m 40s
    11. Stylistic sets (CC 2014.1)
      2m 54s
  9. 57m 20s
    1. Understanding alignment
      3m 47s
    2. Working with left-aligned type
      3m 24s
    3. Working with justified type
      7m 5s
    4. Using Optical Margin Alignment
      3m 39s
    5. Determining column width
      4m 53s
    6. Working with center alignment
      5m 36s
    7. Working with right alignment
      1m 22s
    8. Aligning to or away from the spine
      1m 50s
    9. Understanding the Paragraph Composer and Single-line Composer
      3m 44s
    10. Combining alignments
      9m 20s
    11. Using hanging punctuation
      2m 13s
    12. Working with vertical alignment
      10m 27s
  10. 14m 9s
    1. Using first-line indents
      2m 26s
    2. Using indent alternatives
      2m 3s
    3. Working with left and right indents
      4m 0s
    4. Using last-line indents and outdents
      1m 26s
    5. Using paragraph spacing
      4m 14s
  11. 23m 19s
    1. Setting hyphenation
      6m 14s
    2. Working with line breaks and discretionary hyphens
      4m 48s
    3. Balancing ragged lines
      1m 36s
    4. Using the No Break feature and non-breaking characters
      2m 52s
    5. Using frame, column, and page breaks
      3m 42s
    6. Defining Keep Options
      4m 7s
  12. 37m 53s
    1. Understanding tabs
      8m 58s
    2. Considerations for table text
      3m 55s
    3. Table tips and tricks
      11m 55s
    4. Creating a bulleted list
      6m 50s
    5. Creating a numbered list
      3m 46s
    6. Creating a multi-level numbered list
      2m 29s
  13. 23m 12s
    1. Understanding drop caps
      11m 3s
    2. Navigating tricky drop caps
      5m 14s
    3. Using a nested character style with a drop cap
      3m 59s
    4. Other uses of drop caps
      2m 56s
  14. 1h 11m
    1. Understanding paragraph and character styles
      7m 13s
    2. Creating, applying, and editing styles
      7m 3s
    3. Removing overrides
      4m 58s
    4. Creating and applying character styles
      5m 4s
    5. Creating and applying nested styles
      12m 30s
    6. Using GREP styles (regular expressions)
      4m 8s
    7. Creating and applying sequential styles
      6m 19s
    8. Using paragraph rules creatively
      11m 48s
    9. Mapping Word styles
      6m 12s
    10. Working with anchored objects and object styles
      6m 24s
  15. 25m 30s
    1. Applying a text wrap
      6m 7s
    2. Making items ignore a text wrap
      1m 46s
    3. Using text wraps for flexible layouts
      3m 2s
    4. Working with difficult text wraps
      8m 39s
    5. Inverting text wraps
      2m 7s
    6. Setting text wrap preferences
      3m 49s
  16. 29m 33s
    1. Choosing a page size and setting margins
      6m 33s
    2. Setting up columns
      2m 53s
    3. Dividing a page into rows
      3m 27s
    4. Setting up a baseline grid
      5m 40s
    5. Handling baseline grid problems
      3m 37s
    6. Baseline grid tricks
      7m 23s
  17. 44m 26s
    1. Working with type outlines (CC 2014.1)
      6m 50s
    2. Creating an interlocking effect (CC 2014.1)
      3m 31s
    3. Fusing letterforms (CC 2014.1)
      7m 15s
    4. Type and gradients (CC 2014.1)
      4m 57s
    5. Type and transparency (CC 2014.1)
      1m 50s
    6. Type on a path: Circles (CC 2014.1)
      4m 48s
    7. Type on a path: Calligram (CC 2014.1)
      6m 16s
    8. Vertical type (CC 2014.1)
      2m 58s
    9. Type and image: Gradient (CC 2014.1)
      1m 38s
    10. Type and image: "See-through" type (CC 2014.1)
      1m 8s
    11. Type and image: "Disappearing" type (CC 2014.1)
      3m 15s
  18. 12m 19s
    1. Looking at screen documents
      4m 2s
    2. Setting size, leading, and line length onscreen
      3m 13s
    3. Exploring typefaces designed for the screen
      3m 36s
    4. Accessibility: Contrast and color
      1m 28s
  19. 28s
    1. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course InDesign Typography
9h 20m Intermediate Aug 03, 2012 Updated Nov 12, 2014

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Explore the numerous type options, type-related features, and type-specific preferences of Adobe InDesign. Using practical, real-world examples, instructor and designer Nigel French dissects the anatomy of a typeface and defines the vocabulary of typography. The course moves from the micro to the macro level, addressing issues such as choosing page size, determining the size of margins, adjusting number columns, and achieving a clean look with baseline grids. This course takes you from laying out a page to delving into the hows and whys of typography.

Topics include:
  • Understanding text threads and text flow methods in InDesign
  • Using Copy and Paste vs. Place
  • Choosing and combining typefaces
  • Understanding leading and how it relates to type size and column width
  • Comparing points, picas, and ems
  • Learning the proper use of white space and break characters
  • Understanding the finer points of kerning and tracking
  • Working with punctuation, special characters, ornaments, and ligatures
  • Aligning text
  • Applying global formatting with paragraph, character, and object styles
  • Refining spacing with indents
  • Creating drop caps
  • Avoiding common problems associated with justified type and text wraps
  • Setting up margins and columns
Nigel French

Working with difficult text wraps

So what do we do when good Text Wraps go bad? These are some common problems that you might encounter when working with Text Wraps. So it's great fun and very visually compelling when you get it right to wrap text around an irregular shape. However, the problems that you are likely to encounter are these where you get trapped words as well as bad word spacing. Firstly, the bad word spacing, which I don't have an example of here, but the simple solution there is don't put Text Wraps in narrow columns, simple as that, prevention being the best medicine.

But here let's say that we really want our ducky at this position or close to this position, how do we fix this problem, and this problem? Well, sometimes a simple nudge may be all that you need. So I am going to select the picture, and I am just going to judge it up a little bit. Three nudges has fixed the problem, I am now going to undo that and approach in a slightly different way. Because sometimes you may find that the problem is more persistent than that and nudging your picture is not going to do it, in which case you have the option of adjusting manually the Text Wrap Offset.

So we have seen here, here is where we specify the Offset. Now when you choose to wrap around an object shape, you only have one Offset value, and it's going to maintain that value around the object shape. You might try increasing or decreasing the amount of Offset, and that will probably have a similar degree of success as nudging the object itself. But if you were to come and select the picture content, and I am going to move over the image so that I get my content selector and click on that.

Now, if you're all working with earlier than CS5, of course you won't have a Content Selector, it didn't exist prior to then, in which case you can come and choose your Direct Selection tool and click on the image. However, you get there, you need to know the image is selected, you are looking at the inverse color of whatever is your layout color, in this case brown--blue being my layer color--and we can now see my Text Wrap Offset outline, and I can edit that path. That's all it is. It's a vector path.

I can edit the path either with my Direct Selection tool, which is what I have there, and I can pull those anchor points down until eventually they move out of the way of the text. I can also--if I need to do a little bit more than just moving the anchor points--I can use my Pen tool, and I can come in and hover over an existing anchor point and click on it, and that will delete it. Should I need to add more anchor points, I hover over a path segment where there isn't one already.

You'll see a plus appears next to then Pen tool, and I can click to make one. So watch out for problems like that occurring. Try a simple nudge. If that doesn't work, try and Edit the actual Text Wrap Offset, either with your Direct Select tool or with your Pen tool. Let me just point out that we also have our Composition Preference, and we have looked at this earlier. But when you turn on H&J Violations and then turn your Guides on, you'll see highlighted in yellow those lines that are problematic, they are problematic in terms of the word spacing.

And it's no wonder, really, because what you're doing here is you are significantly narrowing the column by putting an image within it. You do want to minimize this as much as possible, might just want to make that smaller, and you can see that that reduces the amount of yellow highlighting. I am now going to turn that Composition Preference off, and let's go and look at another common problem you may encounter. Text Wraps on circles. They maybe even, they don't look even.

And what we need to do is what I did before, we just need to make a few manual adjustments. So I am going to use my Direct Selection tool. In this case I have just put the wrap around a simple shape, so I don't need to use my Content Selector to get to it, but if it were an image I could use my Content Selector as in the previous example. And then I am just going to pull that Offset up a bit, and we just want to make sure that optically the distance from the shape to the text is even.

If you are using a style that calls for a column rule in your gutters, just be aware that when you apply a Text Wrap, the Text Wrap will affect the text, it's not going to affect the column rule. And there really is no other way than manually coming in and changing the height of that column rule. So, if your house style does use column rules, beware of this issue. I am going to turn on my Guides, and I am going to come to my View Options and also turn on my Baseline Grid, because I'd like to resize this rule to the closest grid increment.

I am going to select it and then from its top anchor point, hold that down to that closet grid increment. Next in our roster of problems. This may be one for the once in a blue moon category, but should this problem come up for you, here is a potential solution. I have here a layout where I would like this circle to have a wrap on it so that it affects the column in the left-hand column. But I want the text in the right- hand column to overlap that circle.

However, I do want this text to wrap around this object. So if I fold this text, come to my Text Frame Options and choose Ignore Text Wrap, we can see if I put that circle at the back that's exactly what it's doing. And if I choose to not ignore the Text Wrap, then it is responding to the Text Wrap on the gray circle. All right, here is a work-around, and it really is a work-around, not a feature. I am going to select this circle, and I am going to copy it.

Now bearing in mind that I want an Offset of 6 points, I think will be sufficient, I am going to increase the size of this circle by 12 points, and I have my chain on there, so it's going to affect both dimensions. Then I am going to extend my selection to include the text frame behind it. I am going to come to Window > Object & Layout > Pathfinder and use this second Pathfinder option to Subtract the front most object. And there what happens is the circle literally takes a bite out of the text frame, which is very interesting and might open up a whole new range of possibilities for what you can do with your text frames, but in the context of this example what I am now going to do is paste in place the original circle that I copied to my clipboard, Command+ Option+Shift+V, Ctrl+Alt+Shift+V, and that will put that in place right there.

As I said, definitely one for the once in a blue moon category, but you never know. And lastly, this can sometimes cause frustration. It relates to anchored objects. Now here I have a text frame which I have anchored within the flow of the text, and it has a Text Wrap on it. I am just going to backwards engineer this now and cut that out of there and paste it so that it is now an independent object. Of course, we anchor it so that it moves with the text.

Now you would think that you would be able to do this. Position it in a way you want it to go, that's where I want it to go, and then you come grab this rectangle, and as the tooltip says, Drag into text to anchor object, and when I do that, look what happens to the first line of type. The first line of type is actually going beneath that frame. So here's the deal. When you want to achieve this, what you need to do is anchor this quote frame, not in the paragraph that you want it to affect, but at the end of the previous paragraph.

If I now grab that box and drag it to the end of the previous paragraph, the Text Wrap works just fine. And just like some other things relating to Text Wraps, it's easy when you know how, but that can cause some frustration if you don't. So there are some common problems that you might run into when working with Text Wraps.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about InDesign Typography .

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The exercise files provided aren't working in my version of InDesign (CS4, CS5, or CS5.5). What should I use?
This course was recorded using InDesign CS6. For InDesign users working with CS4, CS5, or CS5.5, IDML files are provided.
Q: Where can I learn more about graphic design?
A: Discover more about this topic by visiting graphic design on
Q: This course was updated on 11/12/2014. What changed?
A: We added 18 new movies, primarily in the "Using Typekit" and "Type Treatments and Effects" chapters. These movies describe new and enhanced typography features in the latest release of InDesign CC, and are indicated by the "(CC 2014.1)" tag in their names.
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