Hanging Punctuation in InDesign and Illustrator | Design Tip of the Week

Hanging Punctuation in InDesign and Illustrator

This week, we’re getting into a nitty gritty aspect of type: hanging punctuation. For those who do not know, hanging punctuation is a method of typesetting punctuation marks (and bullet points) to preserve the ‘flow’ of a body of text and avoid breaking the margin of alignment. Let me show you what I’m talking about. While there are options that include hanging punctuation in InDesign AND Illustrator, I’ll show an example in InDesign. (Don’t worry, I’ll touch upon Illustrator towards the end.)


As you can see, the quotation marks are tucked inside next to the “M”, throwing off alignment.

(Side Note: I decided to use pirate ipsum for my copy. I mean, why the hell would you use boring lorem ipsum when things like pirate ipsum exist?)


You’re going to want to go to Type>Story.


Check the box next to “Optical Margin Alignment” and change the value below until you’re happy with the alignment.


There we are. Donezos.

For Illustrator, it’s actually one option, which is Optical Margin Alignment – right under “Type” in the top menu. When I tried this out in Illustrator CC, the results were pretty good. However, I wasn’t satisfied with how Illustrator CS5 handled the alignment. If you think it needs some tweaking, I suggest making those adjustments using Tabs (Window>Type>Tabs.)

Thanks for stopping by! Hope this was helpful!

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Introduction to InDesign

Page layout is not as glamorous or interesting to a lot of designers and digital artists as creating t-shirts, posters and album covers. However, page layout is an important function for a lot of design projects, and there is an opportunity to do quite a bit with a layout. While QuarkXPress was once the page layout tool of choice for nearly everyone, Adobe InDesign has become the industry standard.

Here, I’ll introduce the basic concepts behind a simple page layout in Adobe InDesign CS5.


  1. Become familiar with the InDesign work environment and fire setup procedures.
  2. Learn how to create text boxes, link them, insert and format text.
  3. Learn how to place images in an InDesign document.
  4. Learn basic image manipulation techniques.
  5. Become familiar with preflighting and output.

The basic InDesign work environment isn’t significantly different than Photoshop’s or Illustrator’s layout and can be reconfigured in a variety of different ways. I’m using CS5 and you can pick a variety of default views using the menu in the upper right. My choice is Essentials, which is a solid option for whatever you want to do without cluttering the space with specific tools.

It’s always a good idea to setup your file defaults before you create anything. If this is your very first time even opening InDesign, go to Edit->Preferences. The first thing I like to set is Units & Increments.

Select the unit types you wish to work with. InDesign’s default unit of measurement is the Pica. Since I’m American, I will set my default to Inches. Points are good for Text Size & Stroke with the Postscript setting.

I also set my Origin to Page. This puts my 0-0 for the x and y axis on my rulers to the top of my page, instead of the top of my document. I also like to set my display preferences to maximize the quality of everything. This can be taxing on your computer relative to how powerful it is. Still, I prefer to display everything at high quality so I know exactly what the output will look like.

Creating a new InDesign file is the same as any other application; ctrl or cmd + n will do the trick. When the new document dialog box comes up, click the More Options button. Under Intent, select Print. The Web setting in InDesign is useful for creating lightweight PDFs that are not intended to be printed. InDesign CS5 also possesses the ability to create interactive Flash documents.

Uncheck both Facing Pages and Master Text Frame. Facing Pages is for creating multi-page documents. A Master Text Frame could be useful if you plan on creating multiple single-page documents with the same layout. We’ll use both in a later tutorial.

We’ll leave the setting at letter size and portrait orientation. I’ve set our intro document to have 2 columns, leaving the default gutter. Using Imperial measurements, the document defaults to a .5” margin; change that to a more realistic .25” or its equivalent. I am also setting the bleed to a standard 1/8”.

Now we have our blank document with our basic guides already laid out and ready to work with. Looking at it, 25” margins may be a little tight to the edge of the page. Go to Layout->Margins & Columns and change the margins to .375”.

First up, we’ll insert and format text. Select the type tool and draw a type box in the left column,

Copy the text box it in the right column. We now want to link the two text boxes so that text will flow between them. On any text box, you will see a square on the lower left side of the box. Click on the square and then on the box you wish to link to.

The icon that looks like text indicates there is text overflow you have "picked up" from the first text frame.
The linked rings icon indicates your cursor is placed over a linkable frame.

Now, our text will flow into the right box if and when it overflows the left text box.

This option is only visible when Character Formatting Controls are selected.

When the text tool is selected, the top toolbar displays the character options by default. Most of the character and paragraph options will seem familiar. InDesign provides the most control you can get over your type, including the ability to define type styles, which will be covered in another tutorial.

Since I haven’t already, I’m also going to change the typeface and set my kerning to Optical. This is a good time to un-check hyphenate.

Next we’ll insert our graphics into the layout. InDesign doesn’t embed images in the file, but maintains a link to the file where it resides on your computer. It’s necessary to maintain a fairly high level of organization working with InDesign files. Ctrl or cmd + D will place your graphic on the workspace.

If you have nothing selected, the graphic will be placed wherever you click your mouse or tap your pen. If you have an object like a text box or another content frame selected the graphic will be placed in that frame. Graphics will be placed on the document in their own frame.

Grabbing the frame handles to scale will actually scale the frame, not the graphic it contains. Hold ctrl or cmd + shift to scale the graphic and the frame together. You can also fit the image to the frame proportionally.

Since this layout is a simple PR mailing, we’re almost done. InDesign has built in preflight feature that will check your document for potential printing errors. In earlier versions this options is found under File->Preflight. In CS5 and up, it’s a panel located under Window->Output->Preflight.

This is what we want to see. The main errors you will frequently see are linked images using the wrong (RGB) color space.

Now we’re ready for print output. We can package the document, which will create a folder with a copy of the attached images and fonts used, use one of the pre-defined PDF or a user-defined preset.

Adobe: Create Digital Magazines for the iPad

There’s been quite a brouhaha between Adobe and Apple as far as the lack of Flash on Apple’s iOS devices (iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch).

I’ve mentioned on GoMediaZine in the past that I believe Adobe’s best plan of action would be to offer development tools for HTML5 and for Apple’s iOS devices instead of trying to force their hand into Flash.

It’s obvious that Apple isn’t going to relent in the near future (if at all) and that Apple’s iOS products are a big success. Like it or not, they are here to stay.

Adobe has taken what I think is a great step towards offering designers and developers a way to use Adobe products to get content on these touch devices. We mentioned the Adobe Digital Publishing platform recently, but Adobe has just released further details, including iPad-specific information.

The tools will be released as an add-on for Adobe InDesign CS5, and will be available via Adobe Labs later this summer. The tools used will be the same tools used to create the successful Wired Magazine app.

Check out the brief video below to see what Adobe has up their sleeve. It looks pretty slick and I can’t wait to get my hands on it to try it out.

Adobe Digital Publishing Platform

Today Adobe announced their Digital Publishing Platform, which in their own words is “a platform which consists of applications, technologies, and services that allow publishers to cost effectively author, produce, and distribute groundbreaking content to the broadest possible audience on a wide variety of digital devices”.

While it’s hard to tell from the web page exactly what the Digital Publishing Platform is, it’s also hard not to look at it as a response to Apple’s recent stance against Flash for their mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad.

From the FAQ Adobe states that it will use “Objective-C for the iPad and the Adobe AIR for the desktop and other mobile platforms”. The FAQ also states that at this time the iPhone is not supported, at least not for the Wired Magazine app which is the flagship example of Adobe’s new platform.

From what I can gather, the DPP will use existing Adobe software such as InDesign CS5 so designers don’t need to learn or use new tools to design and at the same time will compile the final output in a format that fits the Apple app store requirements.

Additionally, the DPP will also include support for HTML5 output, which is Apple’s suggested route for web-based rich media on their devices.

Adobe plans to make the Digital Publishing Platform available to CS5 users later this year via Adobe Labs.

Blank Canvas: Adobe Or Not?


It goes without saying that Adobe is pretty much the industry leader in professional-level graphics software. But that isn’t to say that there aren’t plenty of other options out there.

Go Media Zine wants to know: Adobe or not? If you do use Adobe products, what version(s) are you using, and why? If you haven’t upgraded, is it a financial or a feature reason?

If you’re not an Adobe user, we want to know what software you’re using to edit and manipulate photos, sketch, create vector art and do page layout. What do these software applications offer that you prefer them over the industry leader? Or is it a financial or philosophical choice?

As usual, I’ll start things off:

I am an Adobe user. I use the Creative Suite CS4 Design Premium which includes Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat Pro, Fireworks and Dreamweaver. As a vector-based illustrator, I primarily use Illustrator as well as Photoshop for my sketching, in conjunction with a Wacom Intuos4 graphics tablet.

I’m a pretty big software geek, so I tend to try just about every graphics software app that comes out. I’ve yet to find a raster or vector editing/creation app that I’d replace Photoshop or Illustrator with, but have found some great alternatives as well as niche tools. InDesign I am a huge fan of, and besides Quark I am not aware of any competing apps out there—at least not on the professional level. I think one reason I stick with Adobe apps is the “industry standard” nature of them. Seems everyone has a copy, even if it’s not their primary tool for the job.

I see many fellow illustrators on Twitter griping about Adobe apps crashing or taking forever to launch, but I don’t have that experience at all. I suspect many who experience these issues may need to upgrade their RAM. If you don’t have at least 2 GB and preferably 4+ GB on your machine, that may be the culprit.

Overall I am pretty pleased as an Adobe customer, however I know that isn’t the case for everyone, and we want to know what your take is on the tools you’ve chosen to use. Please sound off in the comments section below. And let’s try to refrain from bashing any particular software company.


Adobe Shortcuts App – Free Download


Here’s a nifty little Adobe Air application that allows you to look up keyboard shortcuts for any Adobe software. Well, at least Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, Flash, Dreamweaver, Soundbooth, Fireworks, Contribute, After Effects, Premiere Pro, Encore and Acrobat Pro. The shortcuts are only for the CS4 versions of these applications.

Adobe Shortcuts App runs on Adobe Air, so it’s cross-platform (Mac, Windows, Linux).

adobe-shortcuts-app-screenshotLaunch the app, then select your preferred software from the top row of familiar icon buttons. Below you’ll see three tabs for Essentials, My Favorites, and All Categories. Be sure to click the speaker icon in the bottom-left to turn off the “interesting” sound effects…

Best of all, it free from the Adobe Marketplace. Download the Adobe Shortcuts App here.

(via John Nack, Adobe Photoshop’s Principal Product Manager)

Preparing InDesign Files for your Print Service


Often times when it comes to preparing files for a printer it can get really complicated really fast. Often times when I’m creating a design there are a lot of elements that I use in a file, most of which are images and fonts. It’s so complicated to remember EVERYTHING you put into a file so I discovered this cool trick you can use in InDesign to help package up all of your information for you! That way you don’t have to worry about missing anything. The function is called packaging. Here is how to package a file and what it does exactly.

*Note that this refers to InDesign CS4; CS3 refers to the “Packaging” feature as “Preflight”. Preflight has been expanded upon in CS4.


To get the process started go to File > Package. Or if you love the keyboard shortcuts its: Alt + Shift + Ctrl + F (Mac: Option+Shift+Command+P). This will bring up a dialog box that gives you all the information about what is going to be packaged. What packaging does is put all your resources (links, fonts, Pantone colors, as well as a copy of the InDesign file) into one folder for the printer to easily access the files and information quickly. This way you don’t have to worry about a ticked-off printer coming back to you upset that your files weren’t all included with your submitted InDesign file.


You can go through the other sections below “Summary” to make sure everything is good to go. These tabs show everything that is going to be packaged into the document. Once you have reviewed this information click “Package”. This will take you to a Printing Instructions window. I always put my information in the document for the printer, one never knows if they may need to contact you. There is also an area for you to write specific instructions for the printer as well. This can come in quite handy if you want to use a special printing technique.


After clicking “Continue”, a “Package Publication” window will pop up. Here you will choose a location on your computer to save a folder with all the InDesign file information and fonts and files used within the layout. Navigate to where you want the press ready folder saved and click “Package”. This will start the packaging process.


Once the computer has finished saving your file, go ahead and navigate to the folder. If you look in the folder you’ll see your file is there with a separate folder for fonts and links.


Can’t get much easier than that! Next time let your computer do all the heavy lifting.

InDesign Quick Tip: Indent To Here


InDesign Quick Tip: Indent To Here

Have you ever tried lining up an indented, bulleted list by hand? Well it sucks. Some years back I was setting type on a sell sheet for a college bookstore and needed to align an indented list so that the first letter of each line was in a vertical row. My boss at the time saw me struggling and gave me a little gem of a keyboard shortcut that I will now pass on to you. I always seem to forget it though, so I wrote it on a Post-It note and put it on the wall by my desk.


In Adobe InDesign, move your cursor right before the first letter of the paragraph on the first line of your bulleted list. Press ctrl + \ and the other lines will fall in directly below that one. You are left with a clean left justified bulleted item. NOTE: When setting your rags by hand on the item, do not use a hard return (Enter) or the trick will not work. If you need to insert a manual break, use a soft return (Shift + Enter) and the list will still line up correctly.


Editor’s Note: when indenting bulleted lists in InDesign, I usually go with the “Bullets & Numbering” form the Paragraphs panel fly-out menu and apply my indents that way, then optionally save as a Paragraph Style.

There are some nice additional tips on using Indent To Here over at  Creative Techs (video) as well as some general notes on the official Adobe help page for InDesign.

Text Tool Tips


So you’re a keyboard shortcut junkie, working on a design. You need to add text. You select the Text tool in Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign and add your text. But how does one jump to other tools—permanently or temporarily—while having the Text tool selected? Obviously if you hit one of the standard keyboard ‘letter’ shortcuts, you’re just going to enter that letter into the text box. Here are a few tips…

“Commit” the Text Box

Illustrator/InDesign: In Illustrator or InDesign, you can commit the text very easily by hitting the Esc key. The text/text box you were working with will no longer act as if it’s “live” and you can select another single-letter tool shortcut via your keyboard.

In Illustrator as well as InDesign, hitting the Esc key will also jump you to the Select tool as well. If you want to keep the Text tool active and still access the Select tool temporarily, just tap Cmd (Mac)/Ctrl (PC) to access the Select tool. Then release the Cmd/Ctrl key to revert back to the Text tool.

Photoshop: To “commit” text in Photoshop, you’ll need to hit the Enter key (note that the Enter key is not the same as the Return key; Enter is on your number keypad).  And of course, no special keyboard wrangling to move the text around—just move your cursor slightly away from the text, and your cursor will temporarily switch to the Move tool.

Thanks to Mike Shoaf for the Photoshop ‘commit text’ tip!

Temporarily Access Hand Tools

Illustrator: So you’re working with text but just need to temporarily do some moving of the canvas with the hand tool. To get the hand tool when you’re working with text in Illustrator, press Cmd (Mac)/Ctrl (PC) + Spacebar, then release just the Cmd/Ctrl key. On the Mac, Cmd-Spacebar is also the default Spotlight search keyboard combo, but if you do the tip as suggested it will work fine, even though the Spotlight search bar will pop up; just ignore it.

Big thanks to Mordy Golding for this Illustrator tip, been looking for a way to do this for so long!

InDesign Within InDesign, there’s actually a special Hand tool keyboard shortcut just for this purpose: Option (Mac)/Alt (PC) + Spacebar. In fact, I have mapped one of the stylus buttons on my Wacom graphics tablet to this Option-Spacebar combo as opposed to the standard Spacebar, and it works great even when not in a live text box.

Photoshop: In Photoshop, to temporarily access the Spacebar/Hand tool while working in the Text tool, hold Command-Shift-Space (Mac) or Ctrl-Shift-Space (PC).

Thanks to @jeremysnyder for the tip!

Know of any other handy Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign tips for using the Text tool? Let us know in the Comments section below!

Quick Tip: The Adobe Exchange


Here’s a quick tip for all you Adobe software users out there: The Adobe Exchange. What is it? The Adobe Exchange (which seems to have recently been renamed to the Adobe Marketplace & Exchange) is a community resource to share and download lots of extras for your Adobe software products: Actions, Brushes, Custom Shapes, Displacement Maps, Filters, Flash Panels, Gradients, Droplets, Patterns, Plug-ins, Scripts, Styles, Templates, Symbols, Patterns and lots more. Just about every piece of software offered by Adobe has it’s own section, and of course Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign are covered.