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InDesign's Top 10 Type Tools

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For all its complexity and sophistication, Adobe InDesign CS2 is a remarkably simple and intuitive program to use. That said, unless you're working with it on a regular basis, some of its features may go unnoticed or misunderstood. Some of InDesign's most important typographic tools are buried away in submenus; some have arcane or intimidating-sounding names; others require little user interaction and are easy to overlook. Nigel French discusses his favorite type features in InDesign that you never knew you needed, but soon will not be able to live without.

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Real World Adobe InDesign CS2

Real World Adobe InDesign CS2


3 Optical Margin Alignment

Located on the obscurely named Story palette, Optical Margin Alignment hangs your punctuation outside the edges of the text frame, preventing the appearance of visual holes on the right edge of your type. You get most benefit from Optical Margin Alignment working with justified type, but because it also adjusts the spacing on the left of your text frames, it benefits left-aligned type, too, although less dramatically. With your Type cursor inserted in a story, simply check the Optical Margin Alignment box and you instantly have optically aligned type, the like of which would have taken hours to achieve manually. The type size should, in theory, be set to the same size as the type size you’re using, but you may find it worth experimenting to get the effect you want. Note that while it may get you halfway there, Optical Margin Alignment is not the solution for hanging punctuation, for which you’re better off using the Indent to Here character (Command/Ctrl+\).

Figure 03a Figure 03b

Figure 3a and 3b The Story palette located under the Type menu. Note how turning on Optical Margin Alignment makes the hyphens and punctuation stick out beyond the edge of the text frame.

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