Lowering underlines in InDesign

timmy's picture

i'm wondering if anybody knows how to lower underlines in InDesign so they don't cut through the descenders?

if you do, your help is appreciated.

PYMadlon's picture

I'm pretty sure it ain't possible.

You can, of course, draw one yourself, but it won't flow. I tried pasting one in and kerning back over it, but that wasn't happening either.

One solution would be to not underline the offending descenders, as in this example.

Of course, I'll add that probably the reason you can't adjust underline preferences in InDesign (they're stuck at one-half point as well) is that underlines just aren't that pretty. I'll just assume that somebody is putting a gun to your head and insisting you use them. It has happened to me.

Miss Tiffany's picture

It might be a little more work, but you could use the "rule" feature. You would then be able to control distance and weight of the line. Set up a character style based on your preferences.


jay's picture

Huh? Do you mean paragraph rules? I can't find a "rule" property or command at a character level.

PYMadlon's picture

True, rules are paragraph options, but they can be tweaked and offset to function as underlines if that was truly desired. See the attached screenshot.

Please note that I am not actually suggesting such an insidious hack. The rule would neither flow with text nor linespacing change. I'm merely pointed out that it's possible as a stopgap solution.

Your specific suggestions above were exactly what I was alluding to. You eloquently clarified my apparently flippant comments before. I am determined to express myself more gracefully from now on in this forum.


a paragraph rule as an underline

timmy's picture

i'm typesetting a peotry journal, so much fun, and the underlines stay. thanks everybody for the advice, i think i'll look into paragraph rules it just might do the trick.

hdschellnack's picture

We used underlines in a brochure for a play at Schauspielhaus Bochum last year, as the text piece was a mock-up 70s style student/university- style. Bad Letter Gothic, Bad Letterspacing, too much text, awful image inserts and of course the inevitable underlining of whatever text the author deems important. Funny as hell, I still wonder who got the gag at all :-)... but other than that and apart from other cool visual ideas to be done with it, underlining should be taboo in regular typesetting...

Stephen Coles's picture

Yeah, I thought about rules too, but I'm, pretty sure they
are available only at the paragraph level. If you're
underlining entire lines it's just the solution you're looking
for. But for single words within lines rules aren't going to do it.

Stephen Coles's picture

BTW, if you're using underlines for emphasis you might
consider using italics, small caps, or bold instead.

Joe Pemberton's picture

Some brief, but recent, historical context: underlines came
about because typewriters didn't have italics or bold for

Now that we have italics and bold readily available,
underlines just remain a leftover convention; an
unnecessary homage to a time without an alternative.

And it kills me that the web relies so heavily on these.
Down with underlines!

(I'm sure someone can point out a good use for them,
but at the moment I can't think of one.)

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