Hyphenation and Justification settings

Iain Brady's picture

Hey all.

I was wondering what kind of settings people use in InDesign for Hyphenations and Justifications. Is there a best practice when it comes to editorial layouts or do you customise them each for each layout and font?

I'm looking for the best settings to reduce the amount of rivering.

I think this post makes sense...

Chris Dean's picture

How about flush-left?

Joshua Langman's picture

I customize for each layout. In addition to doing it by eye, the option to highlight justification problems is useful as a gauge of how appropriate my settings are. However, I always start with something like this:


Igor Freiberger's picture

I think three factors must be considered: kind of font, column width and language. Of course, tests and eye-checking is mandatory. For books set in serif fonts and using Portuguese I adopt:

Word Spacing: 90 | 100 | 125
Letter Spacing: -3 | 0 | 3
Glyph Scaling: 100 | 100 | 100

This will produce more even spaces but increases hyphenation. As in Romance languages hyphenation is not an issue so annoying as in English (due to more regular syllabic construction), I prefer to priorize space distribution.

As a reference, Bringhurst advocates glyph scaling of –3% to +3% in Elements of Typographic Style.

Joshua Langman's picture


Just curious — why do you indicate that you don't use glyph scaling?


Igor Freiberger's picture

I think glyph scaling is a least resource as it causes glyph distortion –a very small one, but still a distortion. I use it just when other settings are not enough.

Almost all readers will never notice a 2 or 3% scaling. But I do and it's always possible other people notice it too. So I try to avoid any possible distortion in glyphs.

Of course, mine is a quite conservative approach.

litera's picture

Word spacing from 80% to 133% is much more apparent and may be more distracting than a mere 2% distortion of letters.

At 10pt type, 2% is a mere 0,07mm which I seriously doubt anybody can notice with their barenaked eye. Especially when type isn't geometric. 2% can easily be visually distorted as a factor of other parallaxes. So a perfectly 100% type can look more distorted due to rivers of space than 2% distorted with better fitting.

Just my 2 cents.

But it's true: God is in the detail when it comes to typography.

Bert Vanderveen's picture

For most typefaces a Desired setting for the Word Space of 100% is way too wide… I mostly use a Desired setting in the order of 85–95%, with a Minimum set around 10% below that and a Maximum of around 10% over the Desired setting.

I concur with Freibergers opnion that glyph scaling can be noticable and use only a 1% divergence there. There ARE some typefaces that can withstand a more robust scaling (eg Caecilia, which I often use scaled to 92%), but I use that in a global fashion, not on a per line basis.

Letter Spacing has too much of an impact on the ‘colour’ of your typeblocks and reeks of cheap and nasty US-newspaper design (and a reminder that the Standard Settings of both InDesign and QuarkXPress have been hardcoded by US-engineers who haven been exposed too much to bad typography). A strict no-no in my book!

Syndicate content Syndicate content