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• Bullets and Numbering: First Line Indent control?

# Bullets and Numbering: First Line Indent control?

Explorer ,
Jul 19, 2021 Jul 19, 2021

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Okay Masters of the deep recesses of our creative minds:

I've been trying to understand the Options in Bullets & Numbering.

I am right now only interested in using Bullets.

I figured out how to select a bullet of my choosing.  Not a Problem here.

However, I've been experimenting with First Line Indent.

Now lookie here "boys and girls" and "students of all ages",

If my Left Indent = 0.25"

and

I leave my First Line Indent = -0.25

then my next line under the line following the bullet

lines up with the start of the line following the bullet,  To some people this is acceptable.

However

If I set my First Line Indent = -0.01

then my next line under the line following the bullet

lines up directly under the left side of the bullet.

So, it seems if my negative value is smaller in size than the -0.25 value, it will move the next line more left placing it directly under the left side of the bullet above it.

Gosh, this just doesn't make total comprehensible sense.

Think of it this way so you can better explain this to me and everyone else who's just as perplexed by this mathematical odesey.

Picture a graph with an x and y axis  Now we all know where (0,0) is as a coordinate, right?

Okay, suppose (0,0) is where your bullet goes.

And (0,1) is where your first letter of your first word goes.  So, let's call that letter "K" like in "Kool".

Now, if I want my next line to begin just under the letter "K" then I would make the coordinate (0,1)

I wouldn't use a negative numberr.  I would just say start the line right here at: (0,1).

But this program has alien logic!

Look, by playing around with the First Line Indent negative value, I was able to find the placement of my second line where I liked it.

But this program must have martians in it or something.

Why does the number value for the First Line Indent have to have a negative value?
Why can't they use the margin as "0" and allow the end user (like you or me or the man in the moon) use a positive value to tell the program where to start the next line?

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Adobe Community Professional , Jul 19, 2021 Jul 19, 2021
There are 3 alignment settings in bullets. Entire left margin indent (which aligns the left edge of all lines in the body text) First line indent (which is a negative back-dent to produce hanging bullets) Tab Position (which also aligns where the first line of body text will land, which generally is the same as the left margin) You didn't mention what you set for the Tab Position. This is the standard way to set bullets for all desktop publishing programs, and actually it goes back to th...

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Jul 19, 2021 Jul 19, 2021

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There are 3 alignment settings in bullets.

1. Entire left margin indent (which aligns the left edge of all lines in the body text)
2. First line indent (which is a negative back-dent to produce hanging bullets)
3. Tab Position (which also aligns where the first line of body text will land, which generally is the same as the left margin)

You didn't mention what you set for the Tab Position.

This is the standard way to set bullets for all desktop publishing programs, and actually it goes back to the early days of formal typesetting.

No Martians or other aliens were involved in creating this system, just several million talented designers, typesetters, and programmers who preceed you in the industry.

@BlueDog007 wrote:

I've been trying to understand the Options in Bullets & Numbering.

You can learn the basics of making bulleted (and numbered) lists:

Bevi Chagnon | Designer & Technologist for Accessible InDesign + PDFs |
Books & Classes | PubCom

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Jul 19, 2021 Jul 19, 2021

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The tab position is usually set automatically (to the left indent) once you set the left and apply a negative first line indent.

Here are the settings I use (using a large Wingding or Zapf Dingbat bullets):

Note: I like to have my bullets slightly indented, so you would adjust the numbers to your requirements.

For text under the bullet, you can create an additional style with 0 (zero) first line indent or just insert a soft return (shift-return).

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