Join Nigel French for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating a word search, part of Type Tips Weekly.
- [Instructor] In this week's Type Tips we are going to have some fun with creating a word search and here's one I created earlier. I'm using for this this fantastic website called Puzzlemaker from Discovery Education. So first of all, we need to set up our InDesign document and this really does bring up some serious typographic issues in InDesign because we need to use a feature called Gridify. I'm going to show you how we can use that to thread a series of text frames together.
And we're also going to look at first baseline options to determine the position of type within a frame, the vertical position. And we'll also be looking at a simple GREP find and change and then, really the punchline of this whole exercise is we're going to be using a monospaced font so that all of the letters align under each other. So let's start out with our list of words. Create a list of words around a theme in a text file and if you want phrases to appear unbroken on the same line, then remove the spacing between them so they are considered to be one element.
So I'm going to select all of that and copy it, then move over to the Puzzlemaker website. Click on Word Search. Now I don't need to type in a title. I'm going to go for a 20 by 20, sharing letters occasionally and I'll choose Text as my output option. And in the Enter your words field, I will paste my text, then create my puzzle.
I'll now select all of that text and copy it. And then come back to InDesign. So here in InDesign, let me press W to show my guides, I need to make my grid. So I'm going to do this using a feature called Gridify. You can use Gridify with the Frame tool, but also with the Type tool to create a series of threaded frames. When I use it with the Type tool, and I'm clicking and dragging, tapping my right arrow to add columns and my up arrow to add rows, then when I release, I have a series of threaded frames.
Now because I'm going to be doing a lot of tapping of the right and up arrows to get my 20 by 20 grid, it's going to by less error prone if I first of all, come and create my guides. So I want 20 rows with no gutter. 20 columns with no gutter. And I want these fitted to the margins. So that when I use Gridify, I do not have any spaces between those rows and columns, I'm going to come to Margins and Columns and set my Gutter value to zero.
Now I'll click and drag, across my type area, and press my right arrow as many times as necessary, and my up arrow as many times as necessary so that I now have 20 by 20 threaded text frames. This is going to be a little taxing on your computer's processor so you might need to just wait while it completes that task.
Now I'll come to the first of those frames and click into it with type tool and then paste my text. Now what's happening is the text is going to just flow into the first, as much text as will fit into that frame will go into that frame and then the text will move on to the next and the next. So we want to make sure that each letter is its own paragraph and the quick way to do this is to use a GREP find change.
So I'll press Command + F and in my GREP Find what, I am going to come to Wildcards and choose Any Letter and in my Change to, I'm going to keep that found text for after each piece of found text, I'm going to add an end of paragraph. Change All. And we should now see that each letter is its own separate paragraph.
That takes us part of the way there but we still have some work to do. I'm going to come and Show my Hidden Characters and in doing so, that shows me that I have some spaces, for some reason I have some extra paragraph spaces, but I also have a word space in front of each of those characters and I don't want that. So I'm now going to come to the Query dropdown and choose Remove Trailing Whitespace.
And then finally, in Find what, I'm just going to add a space, and in Change to, I'll leave that blank. And I should now have eradicated any spaces. But we still have the issue of there being more than one letter for each frame. So I'm going to select all of the text and come to my Keep Options and say Start Paragraph In Next Frame.
So we now have a single letter for each of text frames. And I'm now going to choose a font. I want a monospaced font where each letter is the same width so that the viewer can scan the columns vertically, and the letters will all line up. So how do we choose a monospaced font? Well I could come and filter my view right here to Monospace and this shows me all of my installed monospaced fonts. If I want to see more, I can come and click on Add Fonts from Typekit.
Now if I move over to Typekit, you can filter your view by clicking right here and that will show you only the monospaced fonts, so you can choose one of those and then sync that. I'm going to choose Courier Prime. I'm also going to increase the size to 16 points and so that I can easily change my mind about this and easily edit to update this formatting, I'm going to create a paragraph style, based on these formats, which is then applied to my selected text.
Now I also want to center the font. I should have done that when I created the style, but I can now just go back and edit that style by right-clicking on its name. Indents and Spacing Alignment will be Centered. Now that is centering it horizontally. I also want to center it vertically within each of these frames. So I'm going to come to the Object menu and to Text Frame Options. Vertical justification.
I'll choose Center. And if that doesn't look perfectly centered, it might look like it's a little bit closer to the bottom of the frame then to the top. Then, we can come to our Baseline Options and switch this option First Baseline from a Ascent to Cap Height. So I'll zoom out, turn off my guides and there we have our word search and just scanning it very quickly, I can see right there is one of my words.
So this is going to take me a while to find them all, but as well as being a fun activity, I think this is potentially a really great gift for a friend. You could put it on a T-shirt. You could put it on a greeting card. You could put it on a poster. So those are some of things to consider should you want to make yourself your own custom word search.