Shaded text background that resizes?

Explorer ,
Jun 28, 2018 Jun 28, 2018

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I want to add a section to the end of each chapter in a book and I want that section to meet the following criteria, if possible:

  • I want the text background to be shaded 10% grey - I can to this by applying a 'paragraph box' on the 'Advanced' tab of the paragraph designer: by inserting a text frame and colouring it; by inserting a table and colouring it.
  • The sections consist of multiple paragraphs - and I don't want unshaded areas between them. This rules out shaded paragraph boxes, which although they go from margin to margin don't include the spacing at the top and bottom of the paragraphs.
  • I want a clear coloured 'margin' around the text... no words bumping into the top or bottom of the shaded area. This rules out text boxes - the first line of the first paragraph doesn't apply the "spacing above". However, text boxes are best for the next criterion, as although I will need to resize the final box if I don't want unnecessary grey, everything else is automatic.
  • I want to be able to resize the boxes as the text above them is edited and have the text flow from page to page. This rules out tables - I can use them by splitting the content across rows - 1 row to a page - but although the table moves up or down appropriately, the chances of having to manually copy/paste content from one row to the previous/next is high. However, tables are best for the previous criterion as I can set an inner margin on the cells.

Does anyone have any suggestions? (Note: this is a book, not a manual... so once it's been sorted out once, it won't need to be done again. If the only answer is a very manual process, I'll have to do that - but it would be good if you could have a "top margin" in a text box. Or can you, and I've just not worked out how?

Thanks in advance,

Alison

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 28, 2018 Jun 28, 2018

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Those are some specific requirements!

As you know, Fm is quite good at managing vanilla content, and "not quite as good" at full-blown design.

I generally caution clients against rigid design decisions, as they generally result in time-intensive maintenance and more than a few errors in the final product.

That said, if you can't loosen up the design requirements, I'd consider creating your sections as graphic elements in another app (InDesign, Illustrator?) and importing them by reference into your Fm doc.

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Explorer ,
Jun 28, 2018 Jun 28, 2018

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Fortunately, I can change the requirements 🙂

I've tried lots of other ways of making this chunk of information look completely different from the rest, but having some sort of border (whether a solid border or a shaded background) seems to be the best. (I've tried changing the font, the font style (italic was just too fussy) and so on. I was just hoping that FM would now allow me to specify a "margin" inside a text frame, or to have a setting that respects the spacing above and below even when at the top of a column. I'm obviously aiming too high!

I have just had a brainwave, though... off to try it out. If it works, I'll share.

Just to stress - this is pretty much a one-off piece of work. Fifteen chapters, each with an addition that needs to be marked out. But VERY unlikely to ever need revision - a press-ready PDF will be created and it will be sent off for commercial printing.

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Explorer ,
Jul 21, 2018 Jul 21, 2018

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OK, it worked fine. Used text frames with a grey background, auto-connecting so I might need a bit of layout adjustment but at least I didn't not-see anything.

I attached a border (a 3mm thick full-width 'line' created on the reference page) to the heading that started off the section. That gave me the grey at the top. Then a grey text box, and all paragraphs within it indented by 3mm. Yes, I had to resize the bottom of the last frame, and maybe drag it to the top, but that wasn't a huge issue. It saved a lot of messing around if a few lines were added to the main text. Everything just flowed and only one minor manual adjustment.

THEN I hit a snag! Footnotes... only one of the sections included them, but no matter what I did, I couldn't get the numbering to follow in sequence. As it's a specific issue, I'm putting this in a separate post...

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