Adjusting kerning pairs in InDesign

Celeste's picture

Hi everyone
Having used QuarkXPress for years, I'm still struggling when it comes to transfer my working habits into InDesign — you can't specify H&J parameters outside of a Paragraph Style Sheet, the keybord shortcut for "thin space" doesn't involve using the space key at all, etc.
Quark also used to allow tweaking the kerning pair table for a specific font, a feature which I've always found very handy (to adjust the space before and after the figure 1 in most classic sans serif typefaces like Univers or Akzidenz Grotesk, for instance). Does anybody knwo if InDesign includes a similar feature and, if so, where can it be found ?

Bert Vanderveen's picture

Sadly, ID doesn’t do that. But there is a plug-in that does: Cool Kerning. I have no experience with it, btw.
http://www.magpeople.com/w/?p=238

Joshua Langman's picture

Of course you can specify H&Js without using a style sheet. It's in the flyout menu on the far right of the paragraph/character toolbar at the top of the screen.

You can also build custom kerning into a paragraph style by using GREP styles. (Yes, it's a little roundabout.) You build a character style with the kerning you want and use GREP to apply this style to a certain character (with or without the provision, only when followed by a certain character).

Theunis de Jong's picture

you can't specify H&J parameters outside of a Paragraph Style Sheet

Not entirely true - all paragraph attributes can be applied "directly", i.e., as a local override, on any text. Look in the menu of the Paragraph panel. Changing settings through a "style sheet" (called "Paragraph Style" in ID's native lingo) is useful if you want to have the same settings throughout your document; but occasionally, you might want to override them.

the keybord shortcut for "thin space" doesn't involve using the space key at all

InDesign supports more spaces than there are hot key combo's. If you find you need one sort on a regular base, create a Keyboard Shortcut set of your own and select any combo you find useful.

etc.

InDesign ≠ Quark XPress. The sooner you let go of the idea that A is DTP software and B is also DTP software, "therefore" both options and usage (... and keyboard shortcuts!) should be the same, the better.

Quark also used to allow tweaking the kerning pair table for a specific font, a feature which I've always found very handy

Granted, this is one thing ID (natively) lacks. Note that Quark did not allow this natively either; it was an external, commercial Quark Xtension.

Nick Shinn's picture

Are you sure?
IIRC, Quark inherently enabled editing of both kern tables and tracking tables—which was really useful.

Theunis de Jong's picture

Nick, you are correct: Why Type Professionals Prefer Quark: The Kerning Table Editor (from 2008),

The Kerning Table Editor is found about 3/4 of the way down the Utilities menu.

It does not mention in which vsn. this feature appeared; last QXP I worked with was 3.3 (or thereabouts), and I am pretty much convinced it used to be a QXP at the time.

In InDesign I use GREP Styles as Joshua describes.

Albert Jan Pool's picture

The Kerning Table Editor is found about 3/4 of the way down the Utilities menu.

It does not mention in which vsn. this feature appeared; last QXP I worked with was 3.3 (or thereabouts),

I happen to have a Quark XPress 9 running (next to InDesign CS6) and can assure you that in Quark the Kerning Table and Tracking Editors are still there and running smoothly.

Celeste's picture

Thank you all for your answers — sadly I still don't know how to build GREP styles, so I'm unable to use Joshua's solution at the moment.
What I meant about H&J specifications was that QuarkXPress allowed you to build H&J sets and save them on their own (i.e. without them being part of a Paragraph Style Sheet), in order to use them in other documents.

Joshua Langman's picture

GREP is actually pretty easy. Look up a tutorial. Basically you just enter what characters you want the style to apply to. Use the "positive lookahead" syntax to specify "only when followed by …"

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