InDesign tip : #16

there appears to be no shortage of ingenious ways that InDesign users can make life difficult for themselves. here’s a cracker…

sometimes you need to indent a paragraph to accommodate a graphic, or a drop cap, or whatever. like this :
screen grab showing indented paragraph

this is the way NOT to do it. not only is it time consuming to set up — it’s a pain in the bollocks if you need to edit the text later :
screen grab of wrong way to align a paragraph

here’s one correct way to do it — set the left indent to the same as the tab and set the first line indent to its equivalent negative :
screen grab of paragraph aligned using correct text indents
screen grab showing the indets in the control panel

the only drawback of that method is that if you decide to change the tab later on, you also have to remember to change the two indents to match.

the other method is the best of all worlds — easy to set up and easy to edit :
screen grab showing the use of the 'indent to here' character

the indent to here character looks a bit like a sword (or a cross, if you prefer). place the character in the position where you want your paragraph to align to by using command-\. now if you decide to change the tab, the rest of the paragraph moves automatically.

if you think placing a whole bunch of those little doovies in a whole bunch of paragraphs is too time-consuming, then you really should revisit tip #15.

try it — you’ll like it.

macgrunt icon

InDesign tip : #15

working with text in InDesign doesn’t have to be difficult. here are just a few text selection tricks.

1x click = place cursor
2x click = select word
3x click = select line
4x click = select paragraph
5x click = select entire story
…but you probably already knew that.

to select a specific portion of text — click once at the beginning of the bit you want to select (to place your cursor) and then shift-click at the end — everything in between gets selected.

you can also navigate around and select text entirely with your keyboard.
left and right arrows take you along a line one character at a time — but hold down the command key and you’ll jump by words.
similarly, the up and down arrows move between lines of text — add the command key and you’ll jump to the beginning of the next paragraph.

here are some other tricks with the arrow keys
shift-left selects the next character
shift-command-left selects the next word
shift-down selects the next line
shift-command-down selects to the end of the paragraph
…these also work with the up and right arrows

combine all that with keyboard shortcuts for your paragraph and character styles and you’ll be a text formatting wiz.

macgrunt icon