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Baseline Grid vs Paragraph Spacing

Explorer ,
Feb 27, 2023 Feb 27, 2023

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Baseline grid: 11.25pt
Currently, the "Space before" setting in the para style of my body text is 11.25pt.

gethmed_1-1677488245741.png

The "Space before" and "Space after" setting in my Dropcaps header para styles are 5.625 and 5.625pt respectively. 

The spacing has been quite ideal, except on occasional instances where my header might be a one-liner. In those cases, the spacing between the header and body has been auto-spacing itself to 22.5pt (labelled "too much"). I assume one reason could be that my Drop cap numeral falls below the line of the baseline grid, thus causing the body text to be pushed a line down.

To standardise the space between header and body (to be a consistent 11.25pt), I tried changing the "Space after" value in my Dropcaps header para style from 5.625pt to 0pt. Unfortunately, instead of reducing the space in between header and body, my body text collapses into one unusual line of overlapped text.

gethmed_0-1677488064168.png
I do not understand why the paragraph spacing setting of X para style would affect the spacing of Y para style. I've attached this sample document for anyone who wishes to analyse all the various para, baseline settings and perhaps any other parameter that might be causing this glitch.

The aim is to achieve a consistent spacing of 11.25pt between the last line of my header, irregardless of header length and the first line of my body text, always in every paragraph.

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Community Expert , Feb 27, 2023 Feb 27, 2023

It might be easier to start again.

 

You seem to have set your body text to be 10.125pt with no leading and a baseline grid of 11.25pt and a Paragraph Style of Space before of 11.25pt.

 

I suggest you select for your Paragraph Style Body Text 10pt for the font size an 12pt for the leading (which is actually 2pt leading)and select a Baseline grid of 6pt. You can then apply 6pt (or 12pt) line spacing to your body text and it's easy to calculate things like lines per page and so on.

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Community Expert ,
Feb 27, 2023 Feb 27, 2023

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The short answer is that baseline grid trumps paragraph spacing. If you push a paragraph down by an infinitesimal amount (through any combination of spacing), it will snap to the next grid baseline.

 

If this is happening consistently with the first paragraphs on a page, (or the last), it is sometimes a case of the text frame being a whisker out of line with the page and baseline grid.

 

As always, I'd ask why you are working with fractions of a point in leading; it's much more conventional to work in whole units, and the math gets a lot easier. It's very rare that fractional points show up in any visual way, and just complicate the layout.

 


┋┊ InDesign to Kindle (& EPUB): A Professional Guide, v3.0 ┊ (Amazon) ┊┋

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Community Expert ,
Feb 27, 2023 Feb 27, 2023

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It might be easier to start again.

 

You seem to have set your body text to be 10.125pt with no leading and a baseline grid of 11.25pt and a Paragraph Style of Space before of 11.25pt.

 

I suggest you select for your Paragraph Style Body Text 10pt for the font size an 12pt for the leading (which is actually 2pt leading)and select a Baseline grid of 6pt. You can then apply 6pt (or 12pt) line spacing to your body text and it's easy to calculate things like lines per page and so on.

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Community Expert ,
Feb 27, 2023 Feb 27, 2023

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Yes, a pretty fundamental rule is to have your baseline grid match your body text leading, Any time you have a mismatch like Derek notes (I missed it — didn't look at the example 😛 ) you're going to get odd behavior.

 

ETA for clarity: any time you get into tiny nickel-and-dime values for text and spacing, it might be a sign that your overall approach needs revision. E.g, fix your page or text frame height by a few points rather than divide it into fractional line heights. Avoid fractional type (other than the very occasional half-point for visual matching). It's just easier.

 

The "half step" baseline grid provokes spirited disagreements here but it's a method I have found very useful over the years.

 

There are a lot of little tricks to using the baseline grid, and for books, IMHO, it's worth learning and using them.

 


┋┊ InDesign to Kindle (& EPUB): A Professional Guide, v3.0 ┊ (Amazon) ┊┋

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Community Expert ,
Feb 27, 2023 Feb 27, 2023

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Hmm, @_Derek_Cross_ ... is 10/12 2 points of leading, or 12?

 

I think, old school, leading is the space itself. But it seems like it's been years since the term was used for anything but the entire line height — "11pt type on 14pt leading."

 

No argument, just musing about how things change.

 


┋┊ InDesign to Kindle (& EPUB): A Professional Guide, v3.0 ┊ (Amazon) ┊┋

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Explorer ,
Feb 28, 2023 Feb 28, 2023

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Thank you @Derek Cross and @James Gifford—NitroPress.

I barked up the wrong tree in following a tutorial that used fractional values.

I've started over using whole numbers as recommended. Works like a charm now!
Thanks again.

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