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HELP with balancing columns on baseline grid

Community Beginner ,
Mar 09, 2023 Mar 09, 2023

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Screen Shot 2023-03-09 at 4.26.18 PM.png

I am trying to balance 3 columns in a document, with a space after each paragraph, and aligned to the baseline grid. As you can see from the image, not all columns are balanced. Nothing I do will bottom-align the columns, and the client is annoyed. I need to align to the baseline grid because I want all lines across from each other to be on the same baseline, not jumping around. I also have grid increments set to half of the leading, otherwise there is way too much space between the paragraphs. Leading is set to 18pt., and that is way too much space between the grafs. I absolutely HATE using vertical alignment for text boxes because it creates chaotic spacing, and I need the spacing to all be uniform.

Is it futile to try to get all paragraphs and lines uniformly spaced, AND aligned to the baseline grid, AND bottom align the columns?

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Community Expert ,
Mar 09, 2023 Mar 09, 2023

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There have been a number of discussions of this recently. The bottom line (okay, make that a pun if you like) is that you have to adjust all your paragraph styles so that all their spacing is a multiple of your baseline grid and your column height. You have inter-paragraph spacing that's not a true multiple on a column basis, so one paragraph break doesn't reach the bottom of the column. Two add up to spacing that does.

 

There are a number of methods and workarounds to get even spacing overall, but they all start with assigning even-multiple spacing to all paragraphs, and your overall column height.

 


| Word & InDesign to Kindle & EPUB: a Pro Guide (Amazon)

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Community Expert ,
Mar 09, 2023 Mar 09, 2023

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The normal approach is to set the baseline grid to the body text leading value (14 pt leading and a 14 pt grid increment), and then snap the text to the grid. It appears your grid is twice the size of the leading. 

 

This doesn't mean the text will automatically align with the bottom of each column. Some copyfitting may be required. 

 

~Barb

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Community Expert ,
Mar 09, 2023 Mar 09, 2023

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When you use Balance Columns InDesign will try to spread the lines in the text frame out equally between all columns. If you have uniform leading and 80 lines in a 3 column text frame you will get 26, 27, and 27 lines in the columns. The odd column out with 26 lines could be anywhere, but usually it is the third column. You won't get the baselines for all three columns to line up.unless you also turn on vertical justification, which will add leading to fill the text frame. This is almost certainly not what you want.

 

I also notice your grid is half the height of your leading, to accomodate the paragraph spacing, which is one half the leading. I do that a lot myself. This means that you will occasionaly have lines that are out of sync across columns. This is unavoidable without making the paragraph spacing a multiple of the leading.

 

In the example above there is one paragraph space in the left column and two in the other two columns. This is forcing the text to be half a line out of sync. InDesign is doing exactly what you told it to do.

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