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Is there a view that reveals the baseline, median and/or cap height for lines of type?

Engaged ,
Dec 17, 2016 Dec 17, 2016

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CC on a Mac. I'm wondering it there is a view that reveals the locations of the baseline, median and/or cap height for lines of type. I'd like to place some graphics and have them snap into place.

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Community Expert ,
Dec 17, 2016 Dec 17, 2016

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No, but you can pull ruler guides out of the horizontal ruler to mark any or all three.

InDesign CCss_005.png

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Engaged ,
Dec 17, 2016 Dec 17, 2016

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I know how to pull ruler guides, but how would I place them - just eyeball it? And would I have to manually repeat for each line of text? Can I group them with a line of text, so that if the line moves, the guides move, too?

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Community Expert ,
Dec 17, 2016 Dec 17, 2016

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Unfortunately, it's a yes (eyeball), yes (manually repeat) and a no (you can't anchor guides to the text).

You can display a baseline grid automatically (set it up in Prefs, turn it on with View > Grids and Guides, and snap contents to the grid with a button on the Control panel or via a ¶ style) and you can create ruler guides automatically (Layout > Create Guides), but I don't think either of these are exactly what you are hoping for.

You can put this on a feature request form: Wishform - Adobe InDesign

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Engaged ,
Dec 17, 2016 Dec 17, 2016

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Thanks, this is all very helpful. I know that guides can be hidden, but can you also delete all of them on one page with one command if the clutters gets to be too much to cope with?

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Community Expert ,
Dec 17, 2016 Dec 17, 2016

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Yes. Use Layout > Create Guides to remove them from a spread. Even better, put them on their own layer, which you can hide and show.

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Guru ,
Dec 17, 2016 Dec 17, 2016

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Well, as long as you're showing those items, here's a question I've always had. Do the bowls and serifs of letters count as baseline or cap height. For instance, which one of these is the baseline? Green or brown?baseline.png

Which one of these is the cap height? Lavender or green.

Cap height.png

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Community Expert ,
Dec 17, 2016 Dec 17, 2016

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Hi Sandee. I'd say green is the cap height, magenta is the ascender height. Pink is the median or x-height. What do you think?

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Guru ,
Dec 18, 2016 Dec 18, 2016

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Interesting, Barb.

I see the cap height as the lavender. But from what others have said, the metrics seem to be defined by the font designer and may include or not the bowls, serifs, etc.

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Contributor ,
Dec 17, 2016 Dec 17, 2016

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Green is the baseline.

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Contributor ,
Dec 17, 2016 Dec 17, 2016

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Valorous Hero ,
Dec 17, 2016 Dec 17, 2016

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The font metrics are different for most any font (and/or font family). How they are calculated in various applications is a separate issue. As far as I remember (and hey, I am getting older...), Adobe applications do not retrieve the metrics from the respective OS and instead calculate metrics apart from the OS--at least ID does for optical kerning.

In general, the bowls will rise above the x-height and cap height and below the baseline. But this depends on the font author for their particular font. Some caps without a bowl will rise above the cap height, etc., etc.

As far as placing guidelines for these metrics, just be consistent.

Here's a cap T. You can see the various heights.

capture-000572.png

The top corners sit 7 f-units above the cap height meteric...

capture-000573.png

And if I were to take a screen shot of the baseline, you would see it sits 2 f-units below the baseline. A screen shot of the lowercase c shows it both rising above the x-height and below the baseline.

capture-000574.png

Different fonts will be placed at various positions.

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Valorous Hero ,
Dec 17, 2016 Dec 17, 2016

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This information is stored inside the font, I think.

To see exactly where InDesign thinks the lines are, create a text frame, type some text, and then open the text frame options, and adjust the first baseline setting to the various available heights (x-height, ascender, etc.)

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Community Expert ,
Dec 18, 2016 Dec 18, 2016

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MarieMeyer wrote:

CC on a Mac. I'm wondering it there is a view that reveals the locations of the baseline, median and/or cap height for lines of type. I'd like to place some graphics and have them snap into place.

Hi Marie,

if your text is working with a baseline grid a placed graphic would snap to that grid.

TextWorkingWithBaselineGrid.png

For  cap-height or x-height you probably could select a character, "H" for cap-height, "x" for x-height and create a duplicate outline of the selection and align your graphic to the outlined character.

To get a duplicate outlined character just select a character and when on a Mac press the alt key and use menu Type > Create Outlines

CreateOutlines-SelectedCharacter-PressedAltKey.png

AlignImage-SelectedOutlinedCharacter.png

Regards,
Uwe

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Community Expert ,
Dec 18, 2016 Dec 18, 2016

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With a selected duplicate of a character outlined you could also create guides with a script that comes along with every version of InDesign: AddGuides.jsx . Open your Scripts panel in InDesign, look under Application > Samples > JavaScript.

Select the outlined shape and do some controls after double-clicking the script AddGuides.jsx from the Scripts panel:

UsingAddGuides-Script-1.png

Don't know why

  • the controls say "Add Guides Around: Path Points Vertical Anchor" if I want horizontal guides, but it is working that way. Maybe better would be: "Add horizontal Guide at Path Points" and "Add vertical Guide at Path Points".

  • Here the script author used technical terms like "Horizontal Anchor" and "Vertical Anchor" that a "normal" user, who did not dived into InDesign's Document Object Model for scripting cannot understand.

  • After inspecting the code I know why, because the values of property anchor of a pathPoint are used and described that come along with an array of x- and y-values as [x,y]. And x-values would be used for vertical guides and y-values would be used for horizontal guides.
  • After running the script:

    UsingAddGuides-Script-2.png

    Also note that you cannot undo the action of this script in one go.
    That would require to add some simple lines of code to wrap the whole script into one single function and call that function with a doScript.

    Something like that:

    app.doScript

        (

        createGuidesOfSelectedObject,

        ScriptLanguage.JAVASCRIPT,

        [],

        UndoModes.ENTIRE_SCRIPT,

        "Create guides of selected object | SCRIPT"

        );

    function createGuidesOfSelectedObject()

    {

    /* ADD ADOBE'S CODE BETWEEN THE TWO BRACES*/

    }

    Note: The name of the outer function is used with doScript()

    The string that says "Create guides …" is the thing you'll see, if you go to InDesign's menu to do the undo action.

    Change it to something you like.

    From the ExtendScript Toolkit:

    AddedUndoWithAdobeScriptCode-1.png

    Do not forget to add the closing brace of the added function declaration above.
    Add a new line at the very end of Adobe's code and add the closing brace:

    AddedUndoWithAdobeScriptCode-2.png

    Regards,
    Uwe

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    Community Expert ,
    Dec 19, 2016 Dec 19, 2016

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    Sandee -- In your example, green is baseline, lavender is the cap height. The bits that stick out below the baseline and above the x-height are called undershoot and overshoot, respectively. And in some fonts, serifs and flex can stick out above the cap height.

    Marie -- Here is a script that places guides at the descender, baseline, x-height, cap height and descender of some selected text. (Unlike baseline, descender, and ascender, cap height and x-height are not available to scripts and determining them requires a convoluted method.) As it is, the script places guides only at the baseline and the cap height. To enable the three other guides, remove the two slashes at the beginning of the lines. To change the colour of the guides, change the RGB values. The guides are placed on a new layer, which you can hide or remove.

    Peter

    (function () {

     

      var page = app.windows[0].activePage;

      var lines = app.selection[0].lines.everyItem().getElements();

      var ch;

      var xcap;

     

      function characterHeights (ch) {

        app.scriptPreferences.measurementUnit = MeasurementUnits.POINTS;

        var o = {};

        var frame = app.documents[0].pages[0].textFrames.add ({geometricBounds: [0, 0, 20, 20], contents: 'x'});

        frame.paragraphs[0].appliedParagraphStyle = ch.appliedParagraphStyle;

        frame.textFramePreferences.firstBaselineOffset = FirstBaseline.X_HEIGHT;

        o.xHeight = frame.characters[0].baseline;

        frame.textFramePreferences.firstBaselineOffset = FirstBaseline.CAP_HEIGHT;

        o.capHeight = frame.characters[0].baseline;

        frame.remove();

        return o;

      }

      function addGuide (pos, colour) {

        page.guides.add (app.documents[0].layers.item ('metrics'), {

          guideType: GuideTypeOptions.RULER,

          location: pos,

          orientation: HorizontalOrVertical.HORIZONTAL,

          guideColor: colour,

        });

      }

      if (app.selection.length === 0 || !app.selection[0].hasOwnProperty('baseline')) {

        alert ('Select some text.');

        exit();

      }

      if (app.documents[0].layers.item ('metrics') === null) {

        app.documents[0].layers.add ({name: 'metrics'});

      }

      for (var i = 0; i < lines.length; i++) {

        ch = lines.characters[0];

        xcap = characterHeights (ch);

        //addGuide (ch.baseline - ch.ascent, [0, 255, 0]);   // Ascender

        addGuide (ch.baseline - xcap.capHeight, [255, 0, 0]);  // Cap height

        //addGuide (ch.baseline - xcap.xHeight, [255, 0, 0]);   // x height

        addGuide (ch.baseline, [0, 0, 255]);   // Baseline

        //addGuide (ch.baseline + ch.descent, [0, 255, 0]);   // Descender

      }

    }());

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    Community Beginner ,
    Feb 26, 2021 Feb 26, 2021

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    Peter, could you please update the script for it to work on later versions? On 2018 and 2020, it returns this error:

    JavaScript Error!
    
    Error Number: 21
    Error String: undefined is not an object
    
    Engine: main
    File: …
    Line: 36
    Source: ch=lines.characters[0];

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    Community Expert ,
    Feb 26, 2021 Feb 26, 2021

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    In case Peter misses this— ch=lines.characters[0] is missing the i variable, so should be ch=lines[i].characters[0]

     

    Also the script works great, but if the selected text’s paragraph style’s font size is overriden the rules will not be accurate, or if  the point size is larger than the temporary text frame’s 20pt height, there will be an overset and you’ll get an error. Changing the characterHeights(ch) function to this seems to work:

     

     

     

    (function () {
    
      var page = app.windows[0].activePage;
      var lines = app.selection[0].lines.everyItem().getElements();
      var ch;
      var xcap;
    
      function characterHeights (ch) {
        app.scriptPreferences.measurementUnit = MeasurementUnits.POINTS;
        
        var o = {};
        
        var frame = app.documents[0].pages[0].textFrames.add ({ contents: 'x'});
        frame.characters[0].pointSize = ch.pointSize;
        frame.geometricBounds = [0,0,ch.pointSize,ch.pointSize]
        frame.characters[0].appliedFont = ch.appliedFont;
        frame.textFramePreferences.firstBaselineOffset = FirstBaseline.X_HEIGHT;
        o.xHeight = frame.characters[0].baseline;
    
        frame.textFramePreferences.firstBaselineOffset = FirstBaseline.CAP_HEIGHT;
        o.capHeight = frame.characters[0].baseline;
    
        frame.remove();
    
        return o;
    
      }
    
      function addGuide (pos, colour) {
    
        page.guides.add (app.documents[0].layers.item ('metrics'), {
          guideType: GuideTypeOptions.RULER,
          location: pos,
          orientation: HorizontalOrVertical.HORIZONTAL,
          guideColor: colour,
        });
      }
    
      if (app.selection.length === 0 || !app.selection[0].hasOwnProperty('baseline')) {
        alert ('Select some text.');
        exit();
      }
    
      if (app.documents[0].layers.item ('metrics') === null) {
        app.documents[0].layers.add ({name: 'metrics'});
      }
    
      for (var i = 0; i < lines.length; i++) {
    
        ch = lines[i].characters[0];
    
        xcap = characterHeights (ch);
    
        addGuide (ch.baseline - ch.ascent, [0, 255, 0]);   // Ascender
    
        addGuide (ch.baseline - xcap.capHeight, [255, 0, 0]);  // Cap height
    
        addGuide (ch.baseline - xcap.xHeight, [255, 0, 0]);   // x height
    
        addGuide (ch.baseline, [0, 0, 255]);   // Baseline
    
        addGuide (ch.baseline + ch.descent, [0, 255, 0]);   // Descender
    
      }
    
    }());

     

     

     

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    Community Expert ,
    Feb 26, 2021 Feb 26, 2021

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    In case Peter misses this— ch=lines.characters[0] is missing the i variable, so should be ch=lines[i].characters[0]

    By @rob day

     

    FWIW: The reason for this is not Peter's fault.

    It's a known bug when the threads from the old Adobe forums were migrated to this new forum in 2019.

    The script from the old forum worked very well. The code was damaged moving the post.

     

    Regards,
    Uwe Laubender

    ( ACP )

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    Community Beginner ,
    Feb 09, 2023 Feb 09, 2023

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    If the default paragraph text is set to align to baseline this will most certainly not work since the character that the script uses to take measurements will be overset. Fix by adding:

     

    frame.paragraphs[0].alignToBaseline = false;

     

    after the line:

     

    var frame…

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    Community Beginner ,
    Feb 09, 2023 Feb 09, 2023

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    LATEST

    Now I realize there might be other properties that may cause that text to overset so maybe, instead of the addition stated above, the one below will cover more cases:

     

        frame.textFramePreferences.properties = {
          autoSizingType: AutoSizingTypeEnum.HEIGHT_AND_WIDTH,
          ignoreWrap: true
         }

     

    again, to be added below `var  frame = …`

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