Problem with InDesign

peterfwyang's picture

I am converting word documents over to InDesign and am having a problem with line spacing. In Word the body text aligns neatly with the Item Heading, however in order to achieve the equiv. of 1.5 line spacing (Word Term) in ID CS5.5, the same effect is not achievable, as when leading is added the whole paragraph moves down. Does anyone know how to fix this so that my body text can appear flush with the item heading? Please see the image attached.


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riccard0's picture

Uncheck "Align with the baseline grid".

JamesM's picture

When type isn't doing what I expect, the first thing I do is to view the hidden characters (Type > Show Hidden Characters) to see if that gives me a clue.

In the example below you can see in blue the characters for a hard break (Return) and a soft break (Shift-Return). If you have a soft break after the subhead, InDesign will view the subhead as part of the paragraph below it, and the leading you apply to the text might end up accidentally getting applied to the head also.

Also, if you're adjusting the text's leading via a style sheet, make sure the subhead doesn't accidentally have the same style sheet applied to it as the text, or that the subhead's style isn't based on the text's style. One way to check that is to open the style sheet for the text and change the text's color. If the color of the subhead changes too, then you know it's a style sheet problem.

kentlew's picture

The text is doing what it's supposed to. The distance between the baseline of the first line of text and the baseline of the item heading above is going to be determined by the leading of the text.

If you want the space to be less than the leading of the text itself, then I think your simplest solution will be to apply a negative baseline shift to the entire item heading, and then compensate by reducing the leading of the item heading by the same amount.

This can then be easily propagated throughout via a stylesheet.

JamesM's picture

Kentlew is right; disregard my previous suggestion.

peterfwyang's picture

@kentlew, how do I do a baseline shift?

peterfwyang's picture

@ JamesM FYI, All paras are showing the same symbol as shown after your "Hard Break". Thanks for the tip though

kentlew's picture

Here is the standard behavior. The Item Head has 18pt linespacing (baseline-to-baseline distance from Subject Head to Item Head). The text is set 12pt on 15pt linespacing. Thus the baseline-to-baseline distance between Item Head and Text is 15pts.

If you want the baseline-to-baseline distance between Item Head and Text to be 12 pts, then baseline shift the Item Head -3pts. But that will open up equivalent space above; so, to maintain Subject-to-Item spacing, you have to reduce the linespacing on Item Head by the same amount: thus it now has 18 – 3 = 15pt linespacing.

JamesM's picture

> All paras are showing the same symbol

Okay very good. Even though it wasn't part of the solution this time, viewing the hidden characters is a good troubleshooting tip to remember.

In fact I routinely make the hidden characters visible while working on documents. It's a good way to immediately spot formatting errors such as extra spaces, soft breaks where hard breaks were intended, and so forth. And when I import Word files given to me by clients, I often find that they've used a lot of weird formatting techniques (forcing a line break by inserting a tab at the end of a line, for example), and showing hidden characters makes these things easy to spot.

peterfwyang's picture

@ KentLaw - that makes sense, however it is not Item Heading that is causing the problem, it is the body text.

Main Heading 18pt/(21.6pt) with 12pt para space after,
Subject heading 12/(14.4) pt with 6pt para space after,
Item heading 12pt/(14.4) with 0pt para space after,
Body text (as shown in 'no leading' picture) 12pt/(14.4) with 0 para space after,
Body text (as shown in 'with leading' picture) 12pt/22.2 with 0 para space after,

The problem only occurs when I use Body Text (with leading) so I am rather confused...

Theunis de Jong's picture

You are "converting documents" from Word to InDesign -- what you are seeing is two different interpretations of how leading ought to work.

I suppose we can't convince you to use the proper one and forget about attempting to emulate the other? :-)

William Berkson's picture

Word and InDesign I think use different metrics in the font and handle them differently. In InDesign you have much better and more explicit controls. The top line begins with ascenders just below the top of the text box—unless you lock the text or the first line to the grid—and then you've got controls over everything else.

So you can't take the Word file and expect it to look identical in InDesign. As Theunis says, the best thing is to forget about the formatting in the original Word document, and re-set it afresh in InDesign, using its better controls.

peterfwyang's picture

@ Theunis - I am still learning how to use ID :-)

@ William - Yes, indeed you have a very good point regarding metrics. I know that it will be very hard to make a perfect copy of how it appears in Word which is why I have been trying to create a new style set so that I can copy-paste plain text and format using styles. My problem is that some of the documents are 200+ pages. In terms of resetting though, take a look at this image:

This is the effect I am trying to achieve, but using ID's "better controls" it should be possible to create this layout without having to use two styles for each paragraph. In the example above the first line is "no leading" as described in previous post, and 2nd, 3rd and 4th lines are "with leading". Notice at the end of the 1st line there is a ¶?

What are your thoughts? As said, I am still a novice...

William Berkson's picture

I'm no InDesign expert, but maybe what you need to know here is that the vertical distance number (top right in the double column of numbers in the InD character dialogue window, above) controls the distance from the selected characters to the line *above* it; it doesn't affect the distance to the line below. The line below controls that vertical distance. That explains your picture and information.

peterfwyang's picture

Ahhhhh! brilliant, so that worked, now how can I set that up as a style so that only the first line has leading of 14.4pt and starting on the second line it jumps up to 22.2pt?

William Berkson's picture

Ok, I'm checking how Word works. Normally you control spacing between lines in Word by the format paragraph menu, not the format character menu. When you tell it to do 1 1/2 line spacing, it applies that to lines *below* the formatted lines, not above, so the behavior is opposite of InDesign, which I think is what has been confusing you.

Word automatically sets I think 20% leading as "single" spacing, so you have to work from that to translate between InDesign and Word. And 1 1/2 lines of 12 pt is not 18 pt but 21.6 pt (I think). You have to use the "exactly" line measurement in points if you want to set the distance between baselines to an exact point measurement. In any case, it will not affect the line above the paragraph, but below. Let me put this another way: if you want to control layout precisely, Word is a nightmare.

So just design in InDesign and be happy. Or less unhappy, depending on your temperament.

You answered Kent that the problem was not the heading. But you are thinking in Word, not InDesign, where the vertical gap affects lines above, not below, as in Word. So his work-around for full paragraphs, which is necessary to put in a paragraph style sheet, has to involve the heading in InDesign. So his work clever work around—thanks Kent—will work as promised. Try it, you'll like it :)

JamesM's picture

> how can I set that up as a style so that only the first line
> has leading of 14.4pt ...

Perhaps there's some workaround to do that, but a simple design change would eliminate your formatting problems. Have you considered just putting more space below the item heading? Just give it the same leading as the paragraph below it.

This would make the formatting much simpler. You wouldn't have to mess with baseline shifts or other workarounds, and frankly I think it would look better, too.

(If you're worried that this spacing change would make the item and subject heads too much alike, perhaps one could be made italic.)

It would look something like this:

silverberry's picture

What Kentlew said. But don't use the Characters panel for that. Use the Paragraph Styles. Never ever apply local changes. Always encode them as either paragraph or character styles. (The only potential exception is when you need to change the gap between a drop-down character and the next character on the line. No point styling that, since it depends on the actual character combination.)

William Berkson's picture

Silverberry, I think Kent meant to go through paragraph styles, but then within that you will have the option of setting the characters for the paragraph, and you will get the character dialogue box as he indicates.

paragraph's picture

I am converting word documents over to InDesign

What the (polite) others are not stating clearly, is that you should be thinking more along the lines of "typesetting documents that were created in MS Word (a word processor) in InDesign (a professional typesetting and layout tool). Be prepared to learn new concepts and skills.

kentlew's picture

Leonid (silverberry) — Yes, absolutely, I agree. Showing the Character palette was just a quick and easy way to demonstrate the concept and to show both baseline shift and change in leading in a single shot. In practice, it is advisable to implement this as part of the Item Head paragraph stylesheet. I just didn’t bother to demonstrate that way.

It is precisely because this approach is implementable at a global, stylesheet level that I suggested it, rather than the more obvious but high-maintenance and manually tedious method Peter discovered for himself.

Joshua Langman's picture

Firstly, I am not sure why you want this look, as it looks rather like a mistake to me.

But, if you really want it, here's how you do it simply.

Create a paragraph style with the appropriate leading for the entirety of the paragraph. Then create a separate character style that is identical (and "based on") the first style, but with less leading. Add the character style to the paragraph style as a "nested line style" that will apply it to just the first line.


silverberry's picture

Yeah, Joshua, I agree, this doesn't really look good, IMHO.

JamesM's picture

> Firstly, I am not sure why you want this look,
> as it looks rather like a mistake to me

I feel the same way. My guess is that the tight spacing below the item header is intended to help make it look different than the subject headers, but to me the spacing looks odd.

Plus it creates technical difficulties, which can be especially difficult for someone who says he's an InDesign novice. My suggestion (as I mentioned earlier) is to modify the design slightly by adding more space below the item header. I think it would look better and would eliminate the technical difficulties.

peterfwyang's picture

Hi all, sorry I have been sick the past few days. I will take a look at all of your suggestions and comments and let you know how I go soon. Watch this space

kentlew's picture

> Then create a separate character style that is identical (and "based on") the first style, but with less leading.

Joshua’s is an equally clever solution.

One clarification: you can’t base a Character style on a Paragraph style.* Just make sure that the only value defined in your first-line character style is the leading field (presumably the only value you want to override for the first line). All other fields should be left blank in order to have any future edits to the paragraph style maintain precedence.

*This is true up to CS 5, anyway. I don’t know if maybe Adobe changed this in CS 5.5

Thomas Phinney's picture

"Word automatically sets I think 20% leading as "single" spacing,"

Actually, Word's "single" spacing is font-specific, depending on the vertical metrics of the font (usually equvialent to the vertical extents of the bounding box). So in one font it might be 15% and in another it might be 40%. Thanks to this, even applying italics or boldface on a given line can change the spacing in Word....



peterfwyang's picture

@ Thomas - I have found that too, especially when the same font is used on Mac and then PC as line spacing shifts dramatically between Word 2011 and Word 2010 and v/versa. This occurs for me mainly when I use Asian fonts though.

@ Kent, noted re character style.

Thomas Phinney's picture

Word's line-spacing issues can be avoided by setting the line spacing in pts instead of "single" and so forth.

Additionally, in western fonts cross-platform line spacing differences in Word would be simply a font bug. Carefully produced fonts can avoid this by synchronizing the platform-specific metrics in the font. I don't know if there is anything special going on for Asian fonts in this regard such that it is more problematic, or if it's still just an easily corrected error in font production.



William Berkson's picture

Thanks Thomas for the correction and clarification.

peterfwyang's picture

Hi all, just to let you know that Joshua's tip worked along with Ken's character style. You have all been brilliant with this. Thank you all very much - next step sorting out hyphenation!

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