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By Anne-Marie Concepción | Friday, July 06, 2012

InDesign Secrets: Keeping a graphic in place with an invisible paragraph

In this week’s freeInDesign Secrets episode, Anne-Marie Concepcion reveals how to use a paragraph that’s invisible to the naked eye in order to create a design that holds your graphic where you want it when your document is exported as a single-column EPUB.

Let’s say for print you wanted to place a bio image out in the margin, to the left of your text, as seen in the example below:

InDesign document with image aligned to the left of text within the margin.

Graphics placed in the margin, to the left of your text, work fine for print.

When you export this same document as a single-column EPUB the image is automatically placed at the top of your text because the EPUB exports by document order and the first thing in the layout, reading left to right, is your bio image in the left margin.

InDesign document exported as single-column EPUB with margin image at top of column.

Any images in the left margin of your InDesign document will appear at the top of your column in your EPUB export.

So, what if you want your EPUB image to appear in the text-flow, between paragraph one and paragraph two, but you don’t have the luxury of using the margin (since it’s a single-column EPUB), and you don’t want to overset your text by making the image float between two paragraphs?

The trick is to anchor the graphic—in this example, David Blatner’s head shot—to the text via a paragraph carriage return that’s so small (.1 points) that it can’t be seen by a normal person. Then, when the document is converted to EPUB, your tiny paragraph carriage return automatically becomes a fully legitimate paragraph, and thus David’s head ends up properly placed in its own paragraph within the text, between your desired paragraphs. Making an “invisible” carriage return is a simple, quick solution that has a bunch of potential uses for fixing layout challenges.

EPUB document with graphic placed within text-flow using a tiny paragraph carriage return.

Using a tiny paragraph carriage return allows you to place your graphic within the text flow, without having to float your image and overset your text.

Meanwhile on lynda.com, Anne-Marie’s partner in InDesign secrecy, David Blatner, has a member-exclusive tutorial this week called how to use the baseline grid to align similar text in which he shows you how to use the baseline grid to align text in the same place vertically on multiple pages.

Have you ever employed stealth characters or paragraph in your work to make text or graphics behave in a special way? Do you have any tricks for aligning text across multiple InDesign pages? We’d love to hear your stealth tricks in the comments section below!

Interested in more? • The entire InDesign Secrets bi-weekly series • Courses by David Blatner and Anne-Marie Concepcion on lynda.com • All lynda.com InDesign courses

Suggested courses to watch next:• InDesign CS6 New FeaturesInDesign CS6 Essential Training • InDesign Styles in Depth

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