Optical Margin Alignment

Table of contents:

Ever notice how opening quotation marks and letters such as "W" or a "T" can make the left or right edges of a column appear misaligned? The problemlike all typographic problems more noticeable at large type sizesexists because InDesign aligns characters mechanically, that is, by the edge of the character plus its side bearing (the built-in space that surrounds each letter). Also, when the line begins with punctuation, like an opening quotation mark, you can get a visual hole or indentation at the beginning of the line relative to the characters below.

Until recently these shortcomings were regarded as part of the price of progress. After all, we could all do so much more with our page layout programs, at the end of the day did it really matter that we had to forgo a few niceties? Along came InDesign to the rescue.

Optical Margin Alignment allows the edges of letters to hang outside the text margin so that the column edge actually looks straighter. And not only that: Optical Margin Alignment will hang punctuation marks such as periods, commas, quotation marks, hyphens, and dashes outside the right-hand text margin.

It looks at the shapes and alignment of all the characters on the left and right margins and adjusts the spacing optically according to their letter shapes. Fan-frickin-tastic! Surprisingly, some people don't like this look, preferring everything contained within the text block. But then some people have become so accustomed to the taste of instant coffee that they no longer like the real thing.

Figure 8.19. Without Optical Margin Alignment (example A); Optical Margin Alignment applied (example B).

Figure 8.21. The opening quotation mark "hangs" to the left of the column edge.

Figure 8.20. To optically align your type check Optical Margin Alignment.

To apply Optical Margin Alignment to a story, select a text frame, then choose Type > Story and check Optical Margin Alignment. The font size setting determines the amount of overhang. Usually this should be the same size as the text, but you'll want to eyeball it.

Indent to Here

Part I: Character Formats

Getting Started

Going with the Flow

Character Reference

Getting the Lead Out

Kern, Baby, Kern

Sweating the Small Stuff: Special Characters, White Space, and Glyphs

OpenType: The New Frontier in Font Technology

Part II: Paragraph Formats

Aligning Your Type

Paragraph Indents and Spacing

First Impressions: Creating Great Opening Paragraphs

Dont Fear the Hyphen

Mastering Tabs and Tables

Part III: Styles

Stylin with Paragraph and Character Styles

Mo Style

Part IV: Page Layout

Setting Up Your Document

Everything in Its Right Place: Using Grids

Text Wraps: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Type Effects

InDesign Type. Professional Typography with Adobe InDesign CS2
InDesign Type: Professional Typography with Adobe InDesign CS2
ISBN: 0321385446
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 186
Authors: Nigel French

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