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When we work with left aligned text, the challenge that left aligned text presents us with is what do we do with the extra space at the end of the line? Every word space with left aligned text is going to equal every other word's space, and that bodes very well in terms of getting consistent density or type color. But the line lengths are necessarily going to vary, and we don't want them to vary too much. We want what's termed an even rag. So how do we get an even rag? So here I have a passage from A Christmas Carol, and I am going to copy this text frame over to the right-hand column, right there, and I'm going to do a couple of things to it and hopefully make it better.
So I'm going to select this paragraph by clicking in it four times, and the first thing I'm going to do is turn on hyphenation. Now when you turn on hyphenation, of course you are making a compromise, you are breaking words at the end of the lines. Is it a compromise you want to make? I'll let you be the judge. Often hyphenation is the lesser of the evils, you can see already we now have a more even rag, but of course, we do have some broken words. I think we tend to read hyphenation without really even knowing that there are hyphens there. We read it, and it's not really affecting our comprehension of the text.
But when we turn on hyphenation, as you guess, things look at the hyphenation options. Now I don't want to get too deep into this because I do have a movie specifically talking about hyphenation later on, but we can just change a few things here to control how the hyphenation is happening, and I'm just going to do that. I'm going to be a little bit more strict with the hyphenation, and I'm going to get this slider, Better Spacing or Fewer Hyphens. There is a clear visual representation of the compromise that we are making.
Do we want Better Spacing? Do we want fewer hyphens? Choose one or the other. You can't have both. I'm going to go for Better Spacing. So then when I turn that on, we now have two words that are hyphenating. There is an extra thing I could do. I caution you about using this too much with continuous text. If I'm just working on this one paragraph, then it may work fine, sometimes it doesn't always work in a desirable way and sometimes it can lead your text to behave somewhat unpredictably when you're editing it, but it's this feature.
It is called Balance Ragged Lines, and that's exactly what it's going to aim to do. It's going to aim to give you as even a rag as possible. I think it's a very good feature when working with subheads and headings. And in this particular instance, I think it works well on this body text. Now if we compare these two, we can fairly clearly see that we have a more even rag on the right. Yes we do have three hyphenated words. Is that a compromise you want to make? Is it worth it? I'll let you be the judge, but I am now-- just to hammer home my point--it's going to come and choose a Character Style that I have prepared and apply this to the text to both pieces of text, and this Character Style will just highlight the length of the lines, and we see on the right-hand side a fairly clear demonstration that having applied hyphenation and having applied Balance Ragged Lines we do have a more even rag in this left aligned text.
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