InDesign Snippets

July 28, 2017



These are just raw notes on InDesign. They aren’t necessarily organized in any specific way, this is more of a board to place things I learn about the program. I used to have these unorganized within the notes app on my phone, but by placing them here I hope that someone else can use them too. If you have any questions on the notes or a question on a particular snippet feel free to reach out to me using the form at the bottom of this page.

Use the smooth tool and drag over the path to make the path smoother

Double click the eyedropper tool to display the eyedropper options dialog box

Put files that are used over and over in a library for easy access

Always use ” over “

Left page is “verso” right page is “recto”

Right click a page and select numbering & section options to create a new section or restart page numbering from that point on

For current page number use type–>insert special character–>markers–>current page number or command-shift-option-N

To give a page styling based off the master right click the master page and select Apply Master to Pages OR select a page and then option click on the master

To override a master page item hold down command-shift and click the item

And double click the add guides script to add guides to a selected object

Select all guides command-option-G

To select all objects on a layer Option-click the layer in the layers panel

Command-L to lock an item

Use the Find/Change menu to select similar objects

Under the pages tab select alternate layouts to get the same layout in a different orientation

Select an object and go under the Object menu–Content–Text to make an object a text frame

Command-B for text frame options and the ability to position text within a frame (inset)

Command-Option C to fit a frame to its content or double click the edge of a frame to fit it to its content

Select text and press Command-Y to edit it in the story editor

A locked story is a story that has been checked out using InCopy or Version Cue

Select show import options when importing text to bring up the options dialog box (can keep the same formatting, or remove all styles)

Create a text box and go to Table–>Insert table to add a table to the document

To insert a footnote select Type–> Insert Footnote

To create a paragraph style select the text you formatted and click the new style button in the paragraph styles menu

For nested styles choose New Paragraph Style from the paragraph styles menu and go under the Drop Caps and Nested Styles tab. Click new nested style and use character styles that were previously created to create a nested paragraph style

GREP Wildcard Styles:

Use the up and down arrow keys when typing in the font selection field to switch between fonts

To increase font size use Command Shift > (increase 5x with Command Option Shift >)

Hold down the Command key when resizing a content box to size the content up or down as well

10 on 12 or 10/12 means 10-pt text on 12-pt leading

Option up arrow to increase leading (5x use Command Option up arrow)

Use extra leading for sans serif or bold typefaces

Command Option Q to reset the kerning

Optical Kerning is the best method

White text on a black background requires more kerning

When justifying a paragraph, you can track the whole paragraph one or two units without it being apparent to fix rivers

For baseline shift select some text and press Option Shift up arrow

To prevent text from breaking across lines select the text and turn on the no break option in the character panel

Always check the find font dialog box to make sure that there are no extra fonts in a document

The larger the X-height the larger the first line indent

Use tabs, not spaces to move text

Use a first line indent instead of a tab

Don’t use multiple tabs when you can use just one correctly positioned one

Option-click the tab to cycle through alignment types

For traditional leaders add a space at the end and reduce the size of the period slightly

For right aligned tab character use Shift-Tab

To add space before a paragraph at the top use first baseline offset

In the paragraph panel select align to baseline grid to get the text to align all to one grid

Preferences–>Grid to change the baseline grid settings

If your body text has 15pt leading make sure the headline has also 15pt leading, or a multiple of 15 such as 30pt or 45pt

For drop caps select a paragraph and use drop cap. enter the number of lines you want it to drop and you can also enter the number of characters to apply the drop cap to as well

To add space before or after the drop cap place the cursor before and adjust kerning

Also convert the drop cap to outlines and use text wrap for better placement

For character styles use “through” if you want to apply up to and including a character or “up to” for up to that character but not including it

Four Basic Ways to Fit Text

  1. Controlling the space between the letters
  2. Controlling the space between the words
  3. Adjusting the size of the characters themselves
  4. Breaking the words at line endings by hyphenating

Walking the lines = fixing spacing problems

Use the hyphenation slider to fix spacing problems in a paragraph spacing

For discretionary hyphen (tells Indesign to hyphenate here) use Command-Shift-hyphen

You can place a discretionary hyphen before a word to make it nor break

From the paragraph panel choose balance ragged lines to do exactly that

Balance ragged lines generally produces an inverted pyramid shape

An orphan is the first line of a paragraph that lands all by itself at the bottom of a column or page

You can apply formatting to the bullet character in the character-style popup menu

^#.^t means type the current number followed by a period, then followed by a tab

Don’t mix anchored and unanchored text frames generally

Convert bullets and numbering to text by selecting the paragraph and choice convert Numbering to text from the context menu

If local formatting has been applied to text that has a paragraph style applied to it a + will appear in the paragraph styles panel when the text is selected

Double click a style name to edit/change it

Creating a style group is like creating a folder

To import character and paragraph styles from a different document choose Load all text styles from the character panel menu and open the document that contains the styles

Turn on Optical Margin Alignment from the story panel (Type–>Story) to make text appear not ragged on either end

When using Optical Margin Alignment enter the point size of your type in the Base Size field

Use the Reverse Path option in the paths submenu of the object panel to reverse the path direction

Option click a path to select all the points on it

When combining two or more shapes the new shape has the appearance of the shape that was farthest back in the stacking order

Double click the smooth tool for its options 

For a more realistic drop shadow, set the noise at 5%, 50% for grunge-y effects

Satin works best with colored text

For ghostly text color text white, set to Multiply, and apply a drop shadow effect

To copy effects, drag the little fx icon from the items with effects to the one without any

If you’re in the last cell of the table press tab to add a new row

To split a cell choose Split Cell Horizontally or Vertically

Indesign table cells can be rotated in 90 degree increments

Use table and cell styles when formatting more than one table in Indesign

Place a graphic when you have an active text insertion point to create an inline frame

Click and drag while placing an image to create a frame with the dimensions of the drag

When placing more than one file at a time, cycle through the files about to be placed with the left and right arrow keys (press Esc to delete one of the files instead of placing it)

Option double click a graphic to edit the original file

Hold down command when resizing a frame to scale the graphic inside of it

When making a leader with periods, use 7pt text with 500 units of tracking

A concordance records the location of words, an index records the location of ideas

Command-option-6 to display the control panel

A proxy is something that stands in for something else

The range of color a device re-produces is called a color gamut

When dragging a color slider hold down shift to keep all the sliders the same to get a tint or hue of that color

Typical fluorescent lighting is the worst possible lighting for viewing colors. Turn it off and rely on incandescent lighting

To apply text wrap choose and option from the Window > Text Wrap panel

When printing, using 10- in the range field to print everything from page 10 on. Use -10 to print everything up until page 10

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