When laying out text, your paragraphs will look a lot neater if the ends of each line aren’t drastically uneven. The Balance Ragged Lines feature offers a quick way to adjust the amount of words and characters on each line so they wind up being similar lengths. To put Balance Ragged Lines to work, choose Window > Type and Tables > Paragraphs to display the Paragraphs panel. Select the text to which you want to apply this feature, click on the panel options button in the top right corner of the Paragraphs panel, and choose Balance Ragged Lines from the pop-up menu. If you don’t like the results, repeat to turn off the feature.
Even a seasoned pro can learn something new! For example, most tools behave differently when presented with a modifier key such as [command] or [option] ([Ctrl] or [Alt] in Windows). The trick is remembering what these additional alternatives are and what they do. You don’t have to rely on memory when you can open the Tool Hints panel, which dynamically changes to display a list of tips and shortcuts for various tools. Just choose Window > Utilities > Tool Hints to display the small panel. Then place it in an inconspicuous place while you work!
When you want to draw attention to the start of a block of text, a drop cap is an excellent way to do so. Drop caps are easy to apply in InDesign. Plus, you can edit the drop cap’s physical features such as font face, style, and color, to give it a more stylized look.
Designers are usually split on their preference for working with hidden characters shown or, well, hidden. Some prefer the clean preview of working without the interference of hidden characters. Others rely on displaying hidden characters because it helps them see the invisible attributes that can wreak havoc on a design piece. Whatever your preference, it’s helpful to preview your layout with hidden characters revealed, at least once, while proofing. This way, before you hand off your designs to your clients, you can scan your layout for extra spaces between characters, double page returns (or single ones that are larger than others), and extra white spaces. To turn the Hidden Characters on, choose Type > Show Hidden Characters, or press [command][option][I] ([Ctrl][Alt][I] in Windows). Do the same to turn them off again.
When you export a PDF from InDesign, by default, the PDF file name will display in the PDF’s title bar. But file-naming conventions and document titles don’t always match up, especially if you use file names to help keep track of your revisions. For example, if you’re exporting a PDF of an annual report, you would probably rather see the title bar display “Company Report 2016” than “companyreport_rev3.pdf.”
To set the document title, choose File > File Info, select the Basic pane, enter a name in the Document Title field, and click OK. Choose File > Export, enter a name for your PDF, and click Save. InDesign displays the Export Adobe PDF dialog box. Click on the Advanced pane and in the Accessibility Options section select Document Title from the Display Title pop-up menu. Finish configuring your settings, and then click Export. Now when you open your PDF in Acrobat, the title bar will display the Document title instead of the file name.
Creating mockups for your clients can be stressful when you aren’t sure which stock art image they’ll prefer, and you don’t want to pay to download images you won’t use. There’s an easy remedy to this problem when you utilize Adobe Stock. It’s easy to access Adobe Stock directly from InDesign, and you can save watermarked image previews right to your library for use in your mockups.
If you’re looking for a great way to draw your reader’s attention into your text, consider using drop caps. Not only do dropped caps add a decorative appeal, but they’re really easy to make in InDesign. First, select the Horizontal Type tool from the Tools panel. Click in the paragraph to which you want to apply a drop cap. Open the Paragraph panel (Window > Type & Tables > Paragraph) and enter a value in the Drop Cap Number Of Lines text box indicating how many lines of text you want to wrap around the drop cap. (You can also use the up and down arrows to change the value.) Enter a value in the Drop Cap Number Of Characters text box indicating how many characters you wish to use as drop caps. You can designate just one or two letters, or even the whole first line of text. Whichever you choose, you’ll draw your reader’s eye directly to the start of your text!
When you’re designing image intensive layouts, there’s often a fine balance between the image display quality and the speed at which InDesign can redraw your pages. Even with today’s processing power, too many large images placed in InDesign at the High Quality display setting can cause slow screen redraws. And you might prefer to work with your display settings at the Fast Display setting, but then change an individual image on the fly to make sure it looks as you expect. Whatever your preference, turn to the Display Performance settings to configure your options.
Using layers in InDesign is a smart way to organize the contents of your layouts. By default, InDesign adds new layers to the top of the layer stacking order or above the most recently selected layer. But that might not be where you want them! InDesign also simply adds the new layer without giving you the immediate opportunity to name it or set other layer options. Here are some shortcuts to help you gain control over where and how InDesign places your new layers:
Tired of importing text documents improperly formatted with alien styles? Why not supply the styles you use in InDesign to those who supply you the files? It's easy to import your InDesign styles into a word processing program.