Hey peeps, I’m starting a small zine project at work and need to brush up on my InDesign long-copy-layout skills. Any of you have recommendations for online tutorials (other than the Adobe ones) or books you’ve used and loved? Thanks in advance. – Danielle Autran
Take a look at Lynda.com, Danielle. We find it quite helpful. – Jim Hudson
Yes, Lynda is well worth it. Also, Google “the inDesigner” for some great online free video tutorials. – Miles Harrison
Best hardcore InDesign tips source has to be indesignsecrets.com. The best thing is that it’s a fairly active forum and so I’m sure if you drop in your questions about long-copy there will be some useful, quick responses. Anything *specific* you want to know about? – Bob Roach
Hey Bob, I’m looking to learn more about Adobe Single Line and Paragraph composer (as well as how to calculate options to use them both properly), as well as pre-press processes. – Danielle Autran
That Paragraph composer is the worst bloody “feature” in InDesign. I turn it off automatically now. – Matt Warburton
Oh man – I couldn’t agree more! Talk about an irritating feature. And it never fails that somehow it gets turned back on halfway through a document. – Paul Maher
It’s like the difference between driving with an automatic or a manual transmission :). – Marie-Aline Oliver
Do you use any automated features in InDesign while laying our type? Especially long copy? – Danielle Autran
What do you mean by “Automated features”?
I look at and adjust all rags by eye, no matter how long the document. To me that’s just part of the design process, but is why I don’t code websites! Limited hard drive space in my head... – Matt Warburton
What do you then? Kern each line by hand? – Rick Strong
Not the kerning, but the rags. Unless I’m doing justified columns I don’t adjust kerning from one line to another unless I really, really, really have to. And even then I can count the fingers on a badly maimed hand the number of times I’ve done that in my career... – Matt Warburton
Yes – I fix all the line endings by hand (tracking or soft-returns to fix bad line endings). It takes moments to do. If the paragraph composer actually worked to properly fix bad line breaks – I’d happily use it. But it doesn’t work – IMHO. – Paul Maher
I’m generally happy with the “Optical” setting (not “metrics”). I wouldn’t waste my time adjusting every line in a book or magazine unless a line really looked bad or had a bad break or bad hyphenation. I would NEVER soft-return a line in an article or page that might be reformatted before the final output. BTW, a 750 word article is not a long one, in my world. With generous spacing, it’s still less than a full page. Maybe with articles that short I would be tempted to chalk up billable time on each line. – Rick Strong
I’m hoping that we will be able to move to a flush left, rag right composition next season, but this season we’re sticking to justified columns, and I heard that Single Line Composer and Paragraph Composer can save your butt. But perhaps I heard wrong. – Danielle Autran
If your columns are too narrow you will have a difficult time any way you do it. Otherwise, paragraph composer will save your butt. – Rick Strong
Justified type in text blocks is the bane of legibility. – Rob Peters
From personal experience...
Time spent to select the right typeface, type-size and score during the ideation process is precious for editorial layouts – to find what works best or requires the least rag. Tweaking gutter widths or using type with normal to high x-height for optimal readability helps.
For the first issue of one publication, the rag was not bad and required only a few manual adjustments. After the first issue though, the demand for a larger type-size made a complete mess of the beautiful rag. Not that the type was small, but I suspect someone was reading without glasses.
However, apart from the tweaking the rag, manual adjustments help get rid of widows and orphans, and other visual gaps introduced by short last lines or non-indenting paragraphs. The challenge is to catch them all, and the process is best reserved for the final proof, when text re-flow will not be a major issue.
But, but... This is one of the things I love about design. – ‘Segun Olude
Just so. I spend a lot of time designing the optimal line length, type height, leading, etc. – and proofing those designs, and getting sign-off on them – before I ever go near production. Even then, I always need to tweak something after the first issue comes out. Hopefully nothing major like ‘Segun did. Although I did have a printer con my client into changing the typeface on my magazine cover design on the second issue. The client never did THAT again, I’ll tell you! – Rick Strong
LOL! I can’t imagine what you did. But I visualise puffs and smokes, like in Asterix and the Goths. :-) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asterix_and_the_Goths –‘ Segun Olude
Devastating logic, my dear Watson. – Rick Strong
RE: Yes – I fix all the line endings by hand (tracking or soft-returns to fix bad line endings).
I prefer to use a non-breaking space (Command-Option-X) to keep words together, rather than a forced line break (Shift-Return) to force a word down. For example, in the following...
Of all the precious beaches that line Zihuatanejo Bay,
there is one that is the centerpiece of the
region. Playa La Ropa’s miracle mile of white sand
lined with palm trees perfectly mirrors that ideal
vision of paradise we all have, and is why the
Sotavento Residences are so desired.
If I want to force “sand” onto the fourth line, I use a non-breaking space between “sand” and “lined”, rather than a forced line break before “sand”. This makes for less clean up and fewer bad lines if the text is ever edited or reflows (due to style changes or column width changes). – Scott Falkner
Excellent solution. – Paul Maher
Yes, this is my preferred method as well. I have had too many text flow issues when someone uses the soft return.
Even then, there is still a risk. If you leave the paragraph composer on, add the non-breaking space between first and last of proper names or addresses that be kept on the same line etc. THEN go to the highly underused “Balance Ragged Lines Feature” (in the Paragraph Panel flyout), plus those hyphenation settings I sent out a few weeks ago…[see next post– Ed.] It’s pretty good. http://indesignsecrets.com/when-to-use-balance-ragged-lines.php. – Miles Harrison
The default settings for inDesign justification are unruly and in a word, suck.
These (my super-secret justifications) settings will go a long way to making the colour of the paragraphs and line breaks a lot better.
Purists may cringe at the Glyph scaling, but these are rationally thought out courtesy of the InDesigner, Michael Murphy, and you should view his video cast [http://tinyurl.com/4bo9gpb] on the subject here before you judge.
Minimum Desired Maximum
Word Spacing 85 95 105
Letter Spacing -3 0 2
Glyph Spacing 98 100 101
– Miles Harrison, from the ‘InDesign Help” thread
Hear hear for your justification settings, Miles! That, and good use of keep rules, and if you have good control of your design, sensible cascades of the style sheets (based on…) make it easy to lay out beautiful type, which can stand quite a bit of rejigging before you have to revisit the structures.
Using the “based on…” feature when you create your style sheets keeps the redesign tasks to a minimum. Usually a book design for me is a couple of days, 5 at the most for a complicated 4-colour design with figures.
It used to be the real money in freelance prepress was in building the layouts, as publishers paid by the page, so getting your document automation workflow down cold was pretty good for getting paid well.
Once it’s all muscle memory, you don’t even need sleep… – Bruce Campbell
What do you say when your client comes back with “Great job, Matt. Now here are a bunch of last minute edits to the copy...”?
– J Ray
Do the edits and re-rag. It’s just part of my workflow and design/production process. – Matt Warburton
Sorry – to hijack – but designers were fixing bad line breaks and making last minute edits long before InDesign came out with the paragraph composer.
It’s part of the job – always has been for me... Maybe I don’t get it... Working on an annual report (or any document for that matter) requires a lot of care and attention to detail when it comes to making sure your line endings are correct. It’s part of what separates a designer that’s taken typography classes to folks that have taken a night class for InDesign.
...ummm – just re-read my post and was worried it sounded like I was calling in to question designers on this lists credentials – that’s not what I meant.
I was referring to the difference between a professionally typeset document and one that isn’t. – Paul Maher
Agreed, Paul... the stuff I’ve had to fix and strip out over the years... oh my. And yes, thank goodness for Show Invisible Characters! – Marie-Aline Oliver
The evolution of in-house typesetting?
It’s taken me years to convince the clients to move from their perceived default of setting all columned body copy justified (no matter what the width). Followed shortly by, and continuing to this day... the challenge of convincing same clients that in long, narrow column body, some hyphenation is actually acceptable and even (heavens) preferable to the horrors imposed on linebreaks by the fanatical anti-hyphenation league.
Sometimes I feel that in-house design is as much as undesigning client work as it is actual design. – Bob Roach
As Herb Lubalin said to us in a packed auditorium at OCAD one evening, “No person on a subway train ever looked up and said, ‘If only they’d set that ad in 36 point Bodoni, I’d BUY that thing.’” – Rick Strong
They would if it was kerned “tight but not touching”... – Matt Warburton
This discussion reminds me about how musicians who possess perfect, or absolute pitch, often suffer while playing with other musicians, or even in what most of us consider a passive role: listening. Absolute listening is as much a curse as blessing. Even worse, as the natural physical aging process of the hearing system sets in, they experience something close to auditory hallucinations when their expert signal processing struggles with the diminished quality of the ‘data’ stream.
The real world does not tolerate perfection, or indeed, perfectionists very well (if you haven’t noticed). Sorta. – Bob Roach
The best hand composition will always be the standard against which computerized composition is judged, but one still has to get the job out the door. Any “device” that gets you 85% to 95% of the way there is to be embraced, with skill and understanding of its limitations, of course.
My father used to say, “A good workman doesn’t blame his tools”. Still holds today. – Rick Strong
I’ve gone away from soft returns to non-breaking spaces too, as I find it’s less likely to create more work and problems down the road, especially if the client decides to add/subtract a new word here and there.
In magazine articles I often can tell that someone has used a soft return before all the copy edits were done, because there’s an awkward short line (even in justified text) in the middle of the paragraph and nobody caught it. – Marie-Aline Oliver
Yeah… also if I am opening up for text editing I make sure to have the View Invisible Characters turned ON. http://indesignsecrets.com/free-guide-to-indesign-special-characters.php – Miles Harrison
Discretionary hyphens are another thing that people should get in the habit of using if you really need to break a line in the middle of a word. Drives me nuts when I see a hyphen in the middle of a line of type, usually in a magazine. The capability is there, the compositor needs it to become muscle memory so those kind of mistakes don’t happen! – Bruce Campbell
By the way, how do you handle the workflow between copy editors and proofreaders/proofreading? Any “best practice” advice? – ‘Segun Olude
Insist that the clean copy be proofread once BEFORE layout and then once at the blues. Trust me, it will save your client money and you will be able to go home for supper with your family. – Rick Strong
Ottawa is obviously Designer Dreamland Rick. Clients NEVER read the copy until it is in layout. Accountants don’t read numbers until AFTER the financials have been plated. – Matt Warburton
Here’s a tidbit I learned the other day from a question asked on another forum that seemed appropriate to share in this thread.
Within ID, how do you prevent a word or phrase which contains a slash (eg. on/off) from linebreaking at the slash?
I believe old Quark used to have a non-breaking slash, but ID doesn’t. It does, however, have ‘No Break’ available as a character style attribute.
So...to do the whole thing automatically. Create a Character Style with nothing but ‘No-break’ as the character attribute. Go to the Find/Change GREP tab and find: \w+/\w+
Then in the ‘Change’ (bottom) box select the ‘No Break’ Character style you created. With ID CS4 and CS5, I think you can even include GREP strings as ‘styles’ for use in Character styles. – Bob Roach
How do you insert a “soft” hyphen in a word in ID? Even Quark has changed the keyboard command for this useful tool! – Matt Warburton
Insert cursor. Right Click. Insert Special Character… there is a whole rack of goodies in there. – Miles Harrison
Discretionary hyphen: shift plus command plus hyphen. – Nadja Penaluna
Does anyone use the Optical Margin Alignment( CS5)? Just found out about it. Type & Tables > Story (click ‘on’) – Peggy Cady
I could go on for hours about the full life-cycle for long documents!
Like, how to train copy-editors so you get MS files in Word format, with all extraneous characters removed through macros and search & replace, then marked up with styles in the word processor, leaving a tagged file that you can flow straight into your layout, mapping the stylesheets in the Word file to the design.
If you’ve had a decent sample chapter to work from, identified all the text elements within the MS and created appropriate elements for each, with the right structures, styles and linking, the MS should flow into your layout like water into an ice-cube tray… you’ll have to be careful carrying them to the fridge, is all!
And, ID is significantly better to create long-document designs that Quark was. I have found InDesign to be a lot more liquid, so I can try stuff, and react to changes that come at me from the messier side of the business. – Bruce Campbell
Print documents as bucket into which you pour the liquid of your content is a metaphor I’ve been using for a long time.
It works really well if you think hard about that liquid; is it water, from which you have strained any twigs, rocks, sand, wriggly critters you’d rather not have in your nice clean and tidy bucket? Or you could think of it as a fruitcake batter; there are lumps in there, but they’re in the right proportions to the more fluid batter, and the cake pan you create to hold this fruitcake can’t have any narrow channels that may get plugged by the chunks.
I’m stopping now, in case the analogy monster sends me any other cases less appealing than water & cake batter… – Bruce Campbell
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