Join Nigel French for an in-depth discussion in this video An InDesign Baseline Grid Tip, part of Type Tips Weekly.
- [Instructor] Here's a practical tip for when you're working in InDesign with a baseline grid. How do you sync the grid increment and the type area? I have here a document with a baseline grid. I'll turn that on. In the case of this example, my baseline grid increment is 12 points, and I have of course specified that right here in my grid preferences. So that the last baseline of my type aligns exactly to the bottom margin, I need to ensure that the height of the type area, and I have here a layer to indicate the type area, the height of the type area needs to be an exact multiple of my grid increment, and it's unlikely that that is going to happen by accident, and what you will likely have is some extra space, which I've indicated here in the green.
Now, while this is purely cosmetic and having this extra space is not actually going to create any problems when you print the piece, chances are if you're working with a baseline grid, you are a bit of a neat freak, and to see this extra space on all of your pages, to not have everything line up exactly as you plan, is irritating, so we want to make sure that we don't have that.
There are some different approaches we can take. We can either make the type area subservient to the leading or the leading subservient to the type area. If we want to retain the leading as is, as I said in my case, 12 points, then I have two choices. I can measure this amount of leftover space, and I'm gonna do this coming to my master page spread so that any changes I make on the master page spread will be reflected on the document pages that are based on those master pages.
So coming to my master pages, I'll zoom in down to the bottom and I'll measure the height of this leftover space. It's a tiny amount. 1.89 points. And I'm just using my rectangle frame tool to measure that. So having done that, I'll delete that rectangle frame and then come to my preferences, Command or Control + K, to my grids.
Currently I'm starting at zero relative to the top margin, but I'll just type in 1.89 points. And you'll see that now on the bottom margin, my last baseline finishes on the bottom margin, and what we've done is we've said put that extra grid increment at the top, effectively making the first grid increment slightly bigger. Now, the type itself is not going to be able to fit on that because it's too small, so it will go automatically to the next one.
So that's one option. Rather than do that, I prefer to take that leftover space, 1.89 points in this example, and add it to the top or the bottom margins. So here I'm gonna come to my bottom margin and type in plus 1.89. I'll then need to go back to my preferences and just make sure that I'm now starting at zero.
So in doing that, we have made sure that the type area is now an exact multiple of the grid increment. Now I'm going to undo that and undo the previous change, as well, by pressing Command or Control + Z a couple of times. Because my alternative is to leave the type area as is, the height of the type area stays the same, but alternatively adjust the grid increment.
I'll select my text frame, and I should point out that I'm working in points as my unit of measurement. I right clicked where those rulers intersect to bring up my units. This is the height of my type area. So I'm now going to, after that value, type slash 12, and that tells me that I have 61 lines. Let me now undo that. Now, if I divide the type area, in this case, by 61, it tells me what my leading value needs to be, 12.031 points.
It's a tiny, tiny difference. So I'm going to select that and copy it, Command or Control + C. I'll undo the resizing of that text frame. And now I'll come back to my preferences and I will make my grid increment 12.031 points as opposed to 12 points. Now, because the grid increment takes precedence over the leading in your text when you are aligning text to a baseline grid, if you have the text aligned to a baseline grid, the fact that the body text leading is still 12 points doesn't matter.
I could come and make it 12.031 if I wanted to, but that's not necessary, because I am aligning all lines to the grid. So now when I return to pages two and three, we see that I've got this issue. Yes, my type area and my grid increment are in sync, but we're actually ending one line short. So sometimes this happens when you are making these adjustments.
You might just need to pull that down and then snap it back, and when you snap it back, the text will now fit exactly to that type area. So you can use whichever of those three approaches appeals to you most. You can add the extra space at the top of the type area, you can add the extra space to the top or to the bottom margins, or you can make an adjustment to the grid increment.