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Now, thus far in this chapter we have been talking about alignment, and we have been talking exclusively about Horizontal Alignment, but of course, there is also Vertical Alignment, and that is the subject of this movie. So let's look at some aspects related to Vertical Alignment and specifically some of the options that we have in this very useful dialog box, Text Frame Options. So to start out with, let's just look at the four different options for Vertical Alignment, so these are going to affect the position of your text within the text frame, and they're all pretty self-explanatory, with the possible exception of this fourth one, Justify, which is going to stretch out your text to fill the frame, often with undesirable results, and we'll be talking more about that later.
But these options are all available in your Text Frame Options, keyboard shortcut for that is Command+B, or Ctrl+B, and there they all are. So in addition to that, we also have the option of adding a Text Inset or in a margin on our text frames, and this becomes important if we are going to color our text frames. So here I am working with my text on a tinted background and without any Text Inset my text looks very claustrophobic, it's going all the way to the edges of that frame, and it would really benefit from having a little bit of inner padding on that text frame.
So I am going to select the frame, and then come to the Object Menu > Text Frame Options, and these are the options right here, Inset Spacing. If the chain is unbroken, whatever we put in for one will become the same for all four dimensions, and of course, that is going to cause my text frame to now become overset. I could avoid that if I wanted to, I can, of course, just adjust it on a case by case basis, but I could also set up the Auto-Size option from the bottom, so the top position is locked in place.
Then the text frame will grow automatically, now of course, overlapping that caption, which I'll just move out of its way. So some issues that arise with Vertical Centering, sometimes when you want to put a number in a circle, especially if you want that number to be really close to the edges of that circle, while it's certainly possible to do, you might find it easier just to have it be two separate elements. So here I have a text frame and behind that I have a circle, and frankly it's easier to do it that way, and then you can select both, and you can come to your Alignment options, Object & Layout > Align, and you can say Align To the Selection, and then I can align the center points horizontally and vertically.
And just to finish that off, I could then select both of those elements and group them so they now move as one. In a similar vein, if you are working with just one element--and there is an argument to be made for doing that-- because it's one element as opposed to two, so if you want to color your text frame and center the text horizontally and vertically within that frame, sometimes it just optically doesn't work, and that's the case here, we can see that I am aligning this to the center, but clearly it looks like there is more room above this character than there is below.
Well, what can I do? I can either come and adjust the amount of Inset Spacing so that if we have more on the bottom, it will push the character up, or I can just select the character and apply a very modest amount of Baseline Shift, keyboard shortcut for that is Shift+Option and the Up Arrow. I can just nudge that up and center that one vertically by eye. Just one other thing to consider, in InDesign CS5 and above we have the option of interactively adjusting our corners.
So if click on that yellow rectangle, I can then change the corners. At the moment I would be adjusting all four corners, but let's say I just want to adjust one, I am going to hold down the Shift key and then just adjust the top right corner. Now, of course when I do that, that's going to make the content of that frame up here off center, so we would have to take some further action if this is the look that we were after, and we still wanted that text to be centered within that frame. And that further action would probably be doing it the way I have done it over here as two separate objects.
Again, two examples here of essentially the same thing, Optical vertical centering with Baseline Shift, this is mathematically centered, but the mathematical centering is also factoring in spacing above the character. So mathematically it's correct, but it doesn't look right, so we have adjusted that with a minor amount of Baseline Shift right there, 3 points of Baseline Shift. All right, I am now going to move to the next page in this document, and we're going to look at some examples of when we might use bottom alignment.
Bottom alignment I find is very useful when we are aligning captions to picture frames and these gray boxes are substituting for picture frames, they are my placeholders, and I want these captions to align to the bottom of the frame. So rather than have to worry about doing this and getting it just right and then when the text is edited having to move the frame again, I align the bottom of the frame with the bottom of the picture frame, and then I set the Vertical Justification for that frame to Bottom, and then that way when we add text, you can see the text grows from the top.
We might also consider for these captions, as I have mentioned before, adding an Auto-Size option to them so that in this case the bottom position is locked and they grow from the top. Something else you might want to do with these captions is make them into an Object Style. So if I have made one, I could then come to choose New Object Style, and I will call that caption. While I am here, I could also incorporate this option so that the text content of this frame is automatically formatted with this paragraph style.
But now, having done that, I can select these two captions, that one does actually need to move into position first, I can select these two and apply that Object Style and they both have their text aligned relative to the bottom of the frame, which in itself is aligned relative to the bottom of the picture frame by its side. So now let's look at some issues involving vertical justification, and as you probably guessed already, I am not a big fan. Before we get to that specifically, let's also look at balancing our column.
So if you're working with multicolumn text, you come to the end of the story, and you have got one column shorter than the others. What do you do? Well, you could adjust your content so that, that doesn't happen, but you could also come and balance your columns, and that's this option right here, these two icons, currently unbalanced. When I click on that one, it balances those columns. We also have the same option in our Text Frame Options right there as a check box. So that's something that you could consider, but let's say that we are working with this text, and we need it to bottom out, i.e., to go all the way to the bottom of our page and would like the text in the right-hand column to do the same.
So I have concocted this rather extreme example, where I have applied vertical justification to this type, and we can see what that's doing. Stretching out the text in the right-hand column, it's overruling the leading value, and it's destroying all the consistency of rhythm that we have established, all in all a very bad idea. When might you want to use that? Well, every once in a while, if you have just a single column text frame, and you just need to fill that frame with the content, and there is no other way to do it, and you are in a hurry, you could do this.
Command+B, or Ctrl+B, and choose Justify, like so, just to fill out that space. But when you're working with multicolumn text, rarely does vertical justification look any good. One last thing relating to our vertical justification are the Baseline Options. Here I have five different text frames and they all have a different Baseline Option set, and it's the Baseline Option that is going to determine the starting point of the text within the text frame.
The default is Ascent, rarely is there a need to change that, especially if you are working with baseline grids, the text will lock to the grid increment anyway, but every once in a while you might want to change it. So let's have a look at how you could do that, Command+B, or Ctrl+B, Baseline Options, and here are the options right here. Now, occasionally Leading is an option that I will use, and if I want to align things to a grid, but rather than using the Align to Grid feature, I want to gently persuade my text onto that grid, I can come to my Baseline Options and have the Offset be Leading, where we would specify what we want the Leading value to be, presumably it's going to be the Leading value of whatever is our body text.
I am going to put in 12 points right there, and it will knock it down 12 points, and that's the point at which the text will start in that text frame. You will see the X-height is actually going to make the text pop-up, or the ascenders pop-up above the top of the text frame. And then Fixed, you can specify whatever value you want, and that might occasionally be useful for your chapter openers, you want your text to start lower in the text frame. Of course there are other arguably easier ways of doing that, but that would be one option that would be a valid one.
So those are some issues relating to vertical justification, our Baseline Options, our pros and cons, mainly the cons of vertical justification, balancing columns, bottom aligning text, giving a text inset, some of the things to look out for when vertically centering your text and just an overview of the four different Vertical Justification options.
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