Join Nigel French for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating info boxes, part of Type Tips Weekly.
- [Instructor] This week's Type Tip is about creating fact or info boxes. Look in magazines, you'll see these things all over the place. A graphically arresting way of presenting short snippets of information. The formatting involved with these fact or info boxes can often be quite fussy. So this is about how we can take the time to get it right and then save the paragraph styles and the object styles, and then apply all of that formatting with just a single click, just like this.
So here I have raw text. There's no paragraph, character, or object formatting here. I can just select the frame, come to my object styles, and apply the object style to get all of that formatting in one go. I'm gonna start with this one, with most of the paragraph and character formatting already completed, and then just show you how we can add the rule at the top and the border. So just a quick rundown on what we have here in this scenario.
Let's assume this frame is sized to an exact column width. So we don't want it to get any bigger. And for that reason, I have indented the text on the left and the right by 12 points. And I also have some spacing above this first paragraph. Now what I wanna do is add a border to this main paragraph. So I'll click in it and hold down option or alt and come and click on my border icon to go to my paragraph borders and shading option.
Let's turn on the border, and what we get to start with is, let me just move my screen that way a little bit and then return to the border. What we get to start with is the border around all four sides of the paragraph. Let's, first of all, make the weight of that much heavier, then I'm going to break the chain and set the top border to zero. I now need to offset the border on the top and the bottom.
I want to break the chain so that I'm only affecting the top. I'll offset by nine points and the same amount on the bottom. Another thing I need to do is turn on auto-sizing to the frame so that if the content should shrink or expand, the frame will resize with it. From the object menu, text frame options, auto-sizing. I'm auto-sizing height only from the top.
So I now need to add the paragraph rule to the top. And actually, it's two paragraph rules. Command, option J, or control alt J to take me to paragraph rules. And an important thing to keep in mind here is that in terms of the stacking order of the rules, it is the rule below that is, somewhat counterintuitively I guess, actually gonna be on top of the rule above. So I need to start out with a rule above.
I'll turn this on, and this is going to be black. And it needs to be 12 points, same as the border, and then I need to extend it out so that it meets with the edges of the border. So I now need to add a left and right indent, specifically a negative amount so that it lines up with the edge of the border. Okay, that's the rule above. Now on top of this, I'm going to add a rule below.
And this is going to be yellow. Crucially, it is going to be the width of the text, as opposed to the width of the column, and it needs to be the same weight, 12 points, and then I need to adjust the offset so that it registers with the rule above. So there's almost certainly gonna be a little bit of back and forth with this. And I like the position of the yellow rule. This is gonna cause me to go back to the rule above and slightly adjust its offset so that everything now fits beautifully into place.
One other issue that I need to address is I have a slither of white down here, and that can be addressed by coming to my text frame options. And I need to make sure I have an inset here. It's gonna be inset six points on all sides except, having added it to all four sides, I'll break the chain and set the top back to zero.
So, as I said, it's very fussy. It's gonna take some time to get it right the first time around. But now I'm going to capture these formats as paragraph styles. And in this case, the trip one paragraph style, its next style will be trip two. I'll now select the frame, I'll come to my object styles, create a new object style, and I just need to make sure that I check the paragraph styles.
The paragraph style applying to the content will be trip one, and then apply next style. So that means that after all of this work to get it just right, let me set one back to its starting state. So we start like this with unformatted text, and one click is all the formatting that you need. As an additional time-saving step, I suggest that you grab your info box and add it to your library, so that next time you need one, you can just drag one over from the library.
Now the other examples involve repetition of those kind of techniques, but they each have something slightly different that's going on. So let me just point out this one, for example. I won't bother to do the whole thing, but in the case of this one, it's also incorporating a bullet, which is giving us this arrow. So there's a bullet that has a character style applied to it, and in the paragraph rules, typically, when you're working with paragraph rules in this way, you will have this checkbox checked, keep in frame, and that way, the rule will be fixed at the top of the text frame, and as you adjust the offset, it will move the text down.
But in this case, that's turned off. Let me just go back there and show you what will happen, so that as we change the offset, that rule is gonna move up and down, and it creates an overlap with the background color of the text frame. In the case of this example, this is nothing more than a fun awesome icon, and so that it really pops out of that black rule, it has a white stroke applied to it.
Let's take a look at a few more examples very quickly. Here I have a tabbed box. And whenever you have a tab with a rounded corner, you can't really use paragraph rules for that. So for that reason, this is constructed with two separate frames. Both frames have auto-sizing turned on. The main frame is auto-sizing height only from the top, and the tab is auto-sizing width only from the left.
Also, I've set a minimum width in this case. This tab is anchored in the text frame below, and the anchor position is crucial. The x is relative to the anchor marker, and the anchor marker is right at the front of that paragraph. That means that the two frames are now attached, and it also means that if I changed the text in the tab, then the tab will grow to accommodate that text.
For a bar like this, where we have an arrow pointing down to the text, this is nothing more than two vector shapes which have been combined into one using the pathfinder tools like so. And then just put your text into that frame. And lastly, for this kind of effect where we have borders on the top left and bottom right, this is achieved by drawing a rectangle and then spitting the rectangle using the scissors tool into two separate parts, and then anchoring it within the text frame.
And I'm going to drag this one to the very end of the text and this one to the very beginning of the text. And now I will apply object styles that I created that determine the anchor position. So this one is called top left, and this one, not surprisingly, is called bottom right. If we take a look at the anchor settings, we can see that they are anchored relative to the text frame.
The reference point, in this case, is the bottom right. And for this one, the reference point is the top left, and once again, relative to the text frame. So that means if the text in this frame, which is also set to auto-size should grow or should shrink, those borders will move along with it.
So, those just some of the many many different graphic solutions for creating a fact or info box. What I really want you to take away from this is that, yes, these kind of elements can be very fussy and time-consuming to set up, but if you take the time to get it right, then you can incorporate all of those settings into paragraph styles and object styles, and thereafter apply the formatting consistently with a single click.
Note: Because this is an ongoing series, viewers will not receive a certificate of completion.