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More Type and Tracking Tips

Designers have very strong opinions about type…so I’m anticipating a lot of questions, and perhaps complaints, about my justification choices in Episode 25…particulary concerning Glyph Scaling.

Purists may say that this should never be done, but I would argue that doing it only as much as I did in this episode is definitely an option to consider. InDesign will only apply this if the Adobe Paragraph Composer evaluates the whole paragraph and finds it necessary to improve the look of the text. For my purposes — setting body copy in a three-column format for a very text-heavy magazine with a lot of long words, industry jargon and company names that can’t be hyphenated — Glyph Scaling is a life-saver. But if I were doing a much more open layout, with the luxury of more space for my type, and shorter blocks of it, I would make all of my Glyph Scaling values 100%.

Also, if you use tracking just because it’s right there in the control palette and the fastest option to get to, keep this in mind: there is a keyboard shortcut for decreasing Word Spacing (Opt+Cmd+Delete on the Mac and Alt+Ctrl+Delete on the PC; press Shift with those keys to increase the increment by a factor of 5) or increasing it (Opt+Cmd+backslash or Alt+Ctrl+backslash; adding Shift has the same effect here, too). Unfortunately, there’s no letter spacing keyboard shortcut that I can find, which seems like a serious oversight on Adobe’s part.

You can also quickly access the proper Justification settings by hitting Shift+Command+Option+J (Shift-Ctrl+Alt+J on the PC). And while there’s no default keyboard shortcut for accessing the Hyphenation dialog, you can assign one by customizing your Keyboard Shortcuts (Edit –> Keyboard Shortcuts).

There is also a keyboard shortcut for resetting all of the tracking for your selected text: Opt+Cmd+Q (Alt+Ctrl+Q on the PC).

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