You can control the amount of space between paragraphs. If a paragraph begins at the top of a column or frame, InDesign does not honor the Space Before value. In such a case, you can increase the leading of the first line of the paragraph or increase the top inset of the text frame in InDesign.
Adjust paragraph spacing
To ensure formatting consistency, change paragraph spacing in the paragraph styles you define.
Use drop caps
You can add drop caps to one or more paragraphs at a time. The drop cap’s baseline sits one or more lines below the baseline of the first line of a paragraph.
You can also create a character style that can be applied to the drop‑cap characters. For example, you can create a tall cap (also called a raised cap) by specifying a 1‑line, 1‑character drop cap and applying a character style that increases the size of the first letter.
- To apply a character style to the drop cap character, choose Drop Caps And Nested Styles from the Paragraph panel menu, and then choose the character style you created.
You can also use the Drop Caps And Nested Styles dialog box to align the drop cap to the text edge, reducing the amount of space on the left side of the drop cap, and adjust for drop cap letters with descenders, such as “g” and “y.” If you want to resize, skew, or change the typeface of the drop cap letter for added effect, select the letter or letters and make the formatting changes.
Add rules (lines) above or below paragraphs
Rules are paragraph attributes that move and are resized along with the paragraph on the page. If you’re using a rule with headings in your document, you may want to make the rule part of a paragraph style definition. The width of the rule is determined by the column width.
The offset for a rule above a paragraph is measured from the baseline of the top line of text to the bottom of the rule. The offset for a rule below a paragraph is measured from the baseline of the last line of text to the top of the rule.
A. Rule above paragraph B. Rule below paragraph
Michael Murphy provides a video tutorial about creating special effects using paragraph rules at Paragraph Rules Rule.
Creative Curio provides an article about creative uses of paragraph rules at Creative Uses for Paragraph Rules in InDesign, Pt 1.
Choose a color. The available colors are those listed in the Swatches panel. Select the Text Color option to make the rule the same color as the first character in the paragraph for Rule Above and the last character for Rule Below.
Choose a tint or specify a tint value. The tint is based on the color you specified. Note that you can’t create tints of the built-in colors None, Paper, Registration, or Text Color.
If you specified any line type other than solid, choose a gap color or gap tint to change the appearance of the area between dashes, dots, or lines.
- To make sure that the rule above text is drawn within the text frame, select Keep In Frame. If this option isn’t selected, the rule can appear outside the text frame.
To make sure the paragraph rule at the top of one column aligns with the text at the top of the adjacent column, select Keep In Frame.
Ways to control paragraph breaks
You can eliminate orphans and widows, words or single lines of text that become separated from the other lines in a paragraph. Orphans fall at the bottom of a column or page, and widows fall at the top of a column or page. Another typographic problem to avoid is a heading that stands alone on a page with the following paragraph on the next page. You have several options for fixing widows, orphans, short exit lines, and other paragraph break problems:
A discretionary hyphen (Type > Insert Special Character > Hyphens And Dashes > Discretionary Hyphen) appears only if the word breaks. This option prevents the common typographic problem of hyphenated words, such as “care-giver,” appearing in the middle of a line after text reflows. Similarly, you can also add a discretionary line break character.
Choose No Break from the Character panel menu to prevent selected text from breaking across a line.
Insert a nonbreaking space (Type > Insert White Space > [nonbreaking space]) between words you want to keep together.
Choose Keep Options from the Paragraph panel menu to specify how many lines in the following paragraph remain with the current paragraph.
Use Start Paragraph in the Keep Options dialog box to force a paragraph (usually a title or heading) to appear at the top of a page, column, or section. This option works especially well as part of a heading paragraph style.
Choose Hyphenation from the Paragraph panel menu to change hyphenation settings.
Editing text may not be an option depending on the kind of document you work with. If you have license to rewrite, then subtle rewording can often create a better line break.
Use a different composer
In general, use Adobe Paragraph Composer to let InDesign compose paragraphs automatically. If a paragraph isn’t composed the way you’d like, choose Adobe Single-line Composer from the Paragraph panel menu or Control panel menu and adjust selected lines individually. See Compose text.
Control paragraph breaks using Keep Options
You can specify how many lines of the following paragraph remain with the current paragraph as it moves between frames—a convenient way to ensure that headings don’t become isolated from the body text they introduce. InDesign can highlight the paragraphs that sometimes break in violation of your settings.
You may not want to use Keep Options if your document does not require your columns to share the same last baseline.
To highlight paragraphs that violate Keep Options, choose Edit > Preferences > Composition (Windows) or InDesign > Preferences > Composition (Mac OS), select Keep Violations, and click OK.
Select Keep With Previous to keep the first line of the current paragraph with the last line of the previous paragraph.
For Keep With Next _ Lines, specify the number of lines (up to five) of the subsequent paragraph that the last line of the current paragraph stays with. This option is especially useful for making sure that a heading stays with the next few lines of the paragraph that follows it.
Select the Keep Lines Together option and select All Lines In Paragraph to prevent the paragraph from breaking.
Select the Keep Lines Together option, select At Start/End Of Paragraph, and specify the number of lines that must appear at the beginning or ending of the paragraph to prevent orphans and widows.
For Start Paragraph, choose an option to force InDesign to push the paragraph to the next column, frame, or page. If Anywhere is selected, the start position is determined by the Keep Line Settings option. For other options, they will be forced to start from these positions.
When you create paragraph styles for headings, use the Keep Options panel to make sure that your headings remain with the paragraph that follows them.
Create hanging punctuation
Punctuation marks and letters such as “W” can make the left or right edges of a column appear to be misaligned. Optical Margin Alignment controls whether punctuation marks (such as periods, commas, quotation marks, and dashes) and edges of letters (such as W and A) hang outside the text margins, so that the type looks aligned.
To turn off Optical Margin Alignment for an individual paragraph, choose Ignore Optical Margin from the Paragraph panel menu or Control panel menu.
Create a shade (or color) behind a paragraph
Open the Paragraph Shading dialog.
From the Paragraph panel (Window > Type and Tables > Paragraph) flyout menu, choose Paragraph Shading.
The following options are also available from the Paragraph Shading tab of the Paragraph Style Options dialog. To open this dialog, from the Paragraph Style panel (Window > Styles > Paragraph Styles) flyout menu, choose Style Options.
The Top Edge defaults to EmBox Top and the Bottom Edge defaults to EmBox bottom, respectively for the Japanese Feature set.