Space from edges in text boxes InDesign, Solution?

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NatureBoy's picture
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Joined: 11 Aug 2008 - 4:43am
Space from edges in text boxes InDesign, Solution?
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Hi All,

I have thought about this for a while, does anyone know if there is a way to get type to snap to the top left edges (for left aligned type) of a text box in indesign. I have attached an example.

Alternatively does anyone know why I shouldn't want to do this? typo techy reasons?

Cheers
Steve

Frode Bo Helland's picture
Joined: 26 Feb 2007 - 1:03pm
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This is due to sidebearings and built in leading (plus default leading in the application). You could always remove it all in the font, but then you would loose all the spacing information. And: What is the top of a font anyway? Is it the capital letters, the ascenders, the x-height, are you counting in overshots?

Frode Bo Helland's picture
Joined: 26 Feb 2007 - 1:03pm
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What you can do is setting negative margins in the textbox, but they would have to be different for different sizes. Edit: Apparently you can’t set negative margins in the text frame options.

Florian Hardwig's picture
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Joined: 18 Feb 2007 - 6:41am
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You can do it manually by shifting the baseline (for the vertical position), and adding a space before the first character and kerning the text against it (for the horizontal position). Depending on your motives, it might be quicker to just move/enlarge the text frame, so that it is the text that optically aligns with your guideline, and not the (optically irrelevant) text box edge.

NatureBoy's picture
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Joined: 11 Aug 2008 - 4:43am
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Thanks I thought as much, for quick stuff it probably is better just to whack it to a guideline visually, I hate not snapping!
I just thought there may be a little trick that was easy and I didn't know about it, I always feel like there is so many things I just don't know that can make my life so much easier, and better.

Anymore for any more?

Igor Freiberger's picture
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Joined: 20 Jun 2008 - 8:44pm
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You can verify text box options (Ctrl+B) and set a criteria to baseline alignment (leading, baseline, height etc.). Probably one of these options would produce the vertical snap effect you want.

On left snapping, you can try optical margins (Story Panel) to reduce this space. anyway, be aware optical margin alignment may dislocate some glyphs a bit outside the box (as A).

I can add menu paths and some captures later (I'm using a computer without ID now) if you have any difficult on this.

Igor Freiberger's picture
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Joined: 20 Jun 2008 - 8:44pm
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I was talking about the first baseline options: help from Adobe.
Hope this helps.

James Michaels's picture
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Joined: 6 Mar 2010 - 12:54am
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To control the position of text within a text frame, select that frame by clicking on it and then go to...

Object menu > Text Frame Options

> does anyone know why I shouldn't want to do this?

Hmmm... maybe if you want to snap the text box to the same guideline that's used by a different printing object (like a rule or photo box). If there's no text inset, the type will butt that object. Having a text inset allows you to align both objects to the same guideline and still maintain some white space between the printing elements. If you have to do that many times in a layout, might save a little time.

NatureBoy's picture
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Joined: 11 Aug 2008 - 4:43am
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Ah I had never messed with the 'First Baseline' option in Text Frame Options before, if you set Offset to 'Cap Height' PING! type snaps to the top of the text box. Still doesn't snap to the left edge though.

While I'm at it does anyone know if you can set up Leading like you could in Quark Xpress, i.e. you could set the Leading to -1 etc and it would keep the leading proportional when scaling type? (Thank god for the demise of Quark though!)

James Michaels's picture
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Joined: 6 Mar 2010 - 12:54am
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> Still doesn't snap to the left edge though.

Have you set the Inset Spacing (in Text Frame Options) to 0?

Andrew Sipe's picture
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Joined: 25 Apr 2005 - 10:44am
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Fascinating as this all is, it does seem a little over controlled. I can understand if you want to get perfection with very large set text or perhaps a custom headline, but for running text, this is a little too OCD.

NatureBoy's picture
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Joined: 11 Aug 2008 - 4:43am
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Andrew it depends if you class the attached as attractive?

http://img826.imageshack.us/img826/1102/screengrab115.jpg

Andrew Sipe's picture
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Joined: 25 Apr 2005 - 10:44am
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I'd likely manually tweak things, but I wouldn't lose sleep over it.

I can understand how you'd like to have everything line up tightly in the rigid grid. I can also see how one could go completely bonkers worrying if every letter was lined up perfectly. And it's noticeable with the capital I, but is it going to make a huge difference if that were a capital O or W?

Chris Cleary's picture
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Joined: 18 Oct 2006 - 5:00am
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I must have typesetting OCD but I like it. ;-)

I generally set everything with 2mm or more indents, which gives room for visual fine tuning on Vs Os, etc. Then I line up the type to the margin/column guide rather than the arbitrary invisible box.

Probably takes a minute or two extra but I feel happier in the knowledge that the job is spot on.

The way I see it – we've got all this high tech kit that enables precision, it'd be criminal not to use it.

Andrew's picture
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Joined: 8 Jan 2007 - 10:28am
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It is not over controlled at all, it is absolutely proper for somebody to be able position text how they so wish, that is the nature of a layout program. I agree that when this level of precision is available and so readily available at that, it is lazy not to use it. This is Typophile - sorry to refute Mr Sipe so thoroughly but Typophile is largely concerned with taking a great deal of care with all these things, from layout, to even finer work like kerning. Worry no, care absolutely. Apologies in advance, I just find it frustrating that this attitude is prevalent in design in general. To encounter it here I find baffling.

Aligning to the top of the frame is easy as explained before in First Baseline menu to Cap-Height.
However regarding align left, there is a good reason not to, as Frode rightly pointed out, to accommodate the side bearings of the font. Whereas a line beginning with A will sit left of the frame, one beginning with j will generally peak out of the frame, creating an optical alignment from top to bottom.

You can check Optical Margin Alignment (Window>Type & Tables>Story) but I don't fully understand this function. Perhaps someone could explain?

James Michaels's picture
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Joined: 6 Mar 2010 - 12:54am
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> However regarding align left, there is a good
> reason not to, as Frode rightly pointed out, to
> accommodate the side bearings of the font.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but are you saying that using a text inset of "0" on the left edge will result in inferior alignment of text which is left-aligned? I did a quick test using both 0 inset on left edge and 1 pica inset on left edge, and it didn't appear to affect the quality of the alignment.

Martin McCully's picture
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Joined: 8 Dec 2005 - 5:21am
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"Andrew it depends if you class the attached as attractive?

http://img826.imageshack.us/img826/1102/screengrab115.jpg"

I agree with Steve, re his image, yes it does need to be aligned correctly to the graphic frame and yes I would loose sleep over it. If you were a junior in my company I would also bollock you for not aligning it correctly as well, it's not OCD it's just plain lazy.
Martin

Andrew's picture
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Joined: 8 Jan 2007 - 10:28am
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Let me check again James as I'm confused by what you mean. Surely inset of zero is default and preferred for text? Sorry if I am misunderstanding your point. The initial problem in the thread that remains unsolved is to get the text to butt the frame to the left, but this is character and line specific, by default some letters won't butt it at all, some will and others will overshoot it to the left.

The default left edge of a text block consisting of several lines at text size, placed in a grid beneath an image, ought to look correct as the number of characters overshooting will make up for those undershooting, so to speak, an average optical line will appear.

I can see your problem at display sizes but it is not necessarily correct to align characters by their most extreme left protrusion. If your first letter was O then aligning the extrema of the curve to the extreme coordinate of the image above would still result in the O appearing indented. Continue this logic and all the initial characters might align to the above image but none will align to each other.

So a line by line aligning to extrema solution seems ineffective.

Alternatively align the content to the gutter by picking a straight sided letter and positioning the text frame so that this straight sided letter appears aligned to the gutter. This way the O will actually protrude into the gutter but might feel optically correct with the image above. However the protrusion of some characters into the gutter will affect the overall white value of the gutters themselves.

So a complete text frame option is not really the answer either and does not have snappy functionality.

Hope somebody else can offer more complete solution.

@ Martin, glad to hear it.

Igor Freiberger's picture
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Joined: 20 Jun 2008 - 8:44pm
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InDesign does not have a control like this. And this align procedure is just plausible for display sizes, not for normal/small ones.

Two workarounds:

1. Type the first line of text in a text frame. Set format. Convert it to outlines (Crtl+Shift+O). You now have a group of vectors which may be placed exaclet besides your line/margin.

2. Design a line. Choose text in path tool, click on the line and type text. Align this text anywhere.

Both solutions are for one line at a time. Anyway, I think this is not an issue as text in display sizes are usually in small. For text is set in small sizes, don't try to force this alignment. As Andrew (1985) pointed, this leads to misaligned first letter in multiple lines.

James Michaels's picture
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Joined: 6 Mar 2010 - 12:54am
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> Let me check again James as I'm confused by
> what you mean. Surely inset of zero is default
> and preferred for text?

Sorry if I wasn't clear. I wasn't expressing an opinion over which inset setting was preferable. Rather I was responding to someone who said -- if I understood correctly -- that an inset of zero resulted in inferior alignment of left-aligned text, which I don't believe is correct.

In other words, I'm saying that an inset has no affect on the quality of text alignment within that frame.

Personally, I always use an inset of zero (the default), unless there is some special reason not to. When would I use an inset? Mostly it's in situations where I want some text to be inside a visible box, so I apply a stroke to the text frame and inset the text to provide a margin between the stroke and the text.

John Lyttle's picture
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Joined: 24 Jun 2009 - 1:13pm
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I run into this situation from time to time, too (often with drop caps). A quick fix that leaves the frame snapped to the guide or margin is to insert a space before the first character in the line, then kern so the character aligns with the guide. This is all with inset spacing at zero.

Frode Bo Helland's picture
Joined: 26 Feb 2007 - 1:03pm
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T and I might be perfectly aligned in the preceeding example, but to look right T needs to hang outside the margin. Optics don’t adhere to rulers.

Raymond Kingston's picture
Joined: 4 Sep 2006 - 12:28am
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This may deviate a little bit from what you're looking for, but you may find it helpful anyway...

There is a little-known function in InDesign called Optical Margin Alignment. Unfortunately, it's in a lesser-known spot. Go to Window > Story and click the checkbox.

We'll wait while you try it...

Is that what you're looking to do?

Daniel Norman's picture
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Joined: 23 Nov 2014 - 11:57pm
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I SO wish we could set negative inset spacing values in the text frame options. Here's a good example: take a look at my calendar design. I have a series of text boxes with large white numbers on a gray fill, right justified. I want to bleed all the numbers off the fill while maintaining the editable text without having to create a second layer of fills (which is what I'll have to do to make this work).

Igor Freiberger's picture
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Joined: 20 Jun 2008 - 8:44pm
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Your goal is not doable with a single text frame. You can get this with the text frame pasted into another one, with a small offset. Or simply pretending a right bleed with a white rectangle over the frames.

Riccardo Sartori's picture
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 - 4:20am
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Or you can carefully set a paragraph rule to the numbers to simulate the grey box.