ID CS2 line breaks are erratic

kuga's picture


I appreciate that this is sort of off topic or typofile
but i have been over at adobe forums and all I got was told I was posting in the wrong forum (which I was not...)

My paragraphs are behaving in a very strange way in InDesign CS2. I have hyphenation OFF and they break erratically, not even at the end of the line sometimes...

The text has not been imported normally, I have copied it from a pdf.
I am using a basic paragraph style with up to seven character styles. I am also using a LOT of m—space and n—spaces, multiply characters and indesign small caps (not font based). I have a hunch these are causing the problems but cannot figure out an answer... Any ideas greatly appreciated!

What I have tried...
1. opening the files in CS3, no change
2. copying text into Text Editor, making it plain Text then back to Rich text, no change...
when i copy the text from my ID doc into basic textEdit characters are lost
50×75cm becomes 0×75cm
c189ba becomes 189ba
3. changed fonts, same thing happens
4. obviously adobe single line composer is active

which, leads me to believe i am doing something terrifically wrong in inDesign, ie, it is not the font or the text...
but i know, deep down inside, that i am doing something wrong myself...

i have posted a sample file, with a screen shot of what it looks like on my screen, fonts are irrelevant as they all mess up...

many thanks to anyone who cares to have a look!!

kuga's picture

the attachment did not work so here is a screen shot...
notice the SIZEA and £260 should not break
many thanks!

agostini's picture

The only thing i could think of has to do with
the fact you imported the text from a pdf.
As much as I know there are no soft returns
in a pdf, which means if you copy the text
it Indesign will see each line as a separate
paragraph. Have you turned on the
hidden characters in Indesign?

Hope this helps...

Theunis de Jong's picture

Hi Kuga,

You will have to excuse the ID poster for making you think you were in the wrong forum. I think he spends too much time in the Photoshop forum :-)

Turn on Invisible characters, as Agostini suggested. That way you will see (prediction!) that there is nothing wrong with the line breaks; the text consists of a lot of short, paragraph return ending lines.

The reason that you can copy it into TextEdit and RTF all you want and still get not what you want is that the lines in the PDF are broken there just the same. A PDF may be aware of line endings, but they usually are not. So if you copy text out of it, you get paragraph returns at the end of every single line. (Sometimes lines are concatenated anyway, but not in a reliable way, it's just Acrobat doing guesswork.) TextEdit is not aware the paragraphs should run together and leaves the line endings as they are. Trying RTF does the same, as does virtually every piece of software, unless you tell it that the lines should be concatenated. (Some common word processors, and all programmers' editors can do that.)

You can select the entire text and replace paragraph returns with a space. No need for GREP fancyness -- just enter "^p" in the regular "Find Text" box, and replace with a single space. Be sure to choose to replace in "Selection" only, so it won't mess up your entire document.

kuga's picture

thanks for your fast response
I have been had hidden characters visible, and nothing unusual has turned up...
i have attached another jpeg with the hidden characters if anyone can see something I am missing...

Theunis de Jong's picture

A-ha! (So far for my predictions ... ;-)

This is Adobe's (patented?) Paragraph Composer at work. Rather than filling up every line until it reaches the end, it tries to average spacing and line lengths all over the paragraph. It runs into problems if you want total control over a paragraph's line endings (and the em spaces probably don't help either).

Using the Paragraph Panel, you can switch to the Single Line Composer, which does work as you expect. In addition, if you want certain phrases not to be split, you can select the entire phrase and apply No Break from the Character Panel's tiny menu.

kuga's picture

Hi Theunis,
thanks for all your advice, but unfortunately it is still not resolved
i think there was a little overlap with my previous post and your first response... I have no soft returns in there, which are “^p” i believe...

in regards to the adobe para/line composer, I have had the document and text on single line composer from the very beginning...

i tried no break and it did absolutely nothing at all...

i cannot believe it myself even, it sounds too weird to be true... if you like have a look at the sample doc...

i have even used Font Nuke as per the last time I ran into trouble and you and thomas phinney were offering assistance...
I have verified permissions on my hard drive...

it is just not normal...


agostini's picture

ahhh ok...
it looks like indesign sees the
third line as one line. All the n and m
spaces seem to be non-braking spaces.
I think there will be a bit of handy work
involved to get this looking alright.
Try to replace your n-spaces with
a normal space (or two spaces) and it
will look better already...

kuga's picture

Hi Agostini,
thanks for looking into it again
yes, you are right, replacing the n spaces with two spaces and 3 for the m spaces does work... i feel like now that they are the sole problem, no questions...

however, maybe i am being pedantic... this will work with spaces
but I have just discovered (and clearly fallen in love with (but not as much as the elipses... hahaha)) the n+m spaces...
but what use are they if they simply mess up the paragraph, and i have to go back to using multiple spaces?

i have enormous respect for the complexity of ID that is far far far beyond my comprehension and something like n spaces should not really cause such a problem?

pattyfab's picture

Explanation is spelled wrong, 2nd line. You need to remove the first 'i'. Also, Further (last line) is missing an 'r'.

kuga's picture

thanks patty ;)

two images below show that changing the width of the column just breaks another weird word...
second last line £260
second image breaks caps!! NEWCODEAGAIN wtf?!?

i am NOT faking this, this is TOTALLY WEIRD....

agostini's picture

you back with the en and em spaces?
I wont make a difference how long
your textbox is... Indesign sees
all lines connected with en and em
spaces as one big word...
plus i saw you didnt have justified
selected in your posted indesign file

kuga's picture

no, my justification is left for this text...

so en and em spaces are pretty useless then if they are seen in ID as no break characters...
they are white spaces, they should break...

and i should use justified type as well? that is a bit limiting no?

looks like the love affair is over and it is back to clattering away on the s p a c e b a r

agostini's picture

well if you dont want to justify it and have it left aligned
you could use em and en spaces and just use a soft-return
to split the lines

kuga's picture

possibly, however the soft returns would not help because the line breaks very very early sometimes...

i think i am just going to replace the n + m spaces with space space

very strange
very very strange...

thanks for all the help!!

pica pusher's picture

Try adding a discretionary line break after every group of en/em spaces. That way inD will know what you're trying to do.

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