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Requested InDesign function: vertically justify text in all page frames

New Here ,
Jun 24, 2021 Jun 24, 2021

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Years ago (before InDesign was born), I used Corel Ventura Publisher. One of it's features that I dearly miss in InDesign was its ability to automatically vertically justify text on all pages. You could simply choose the paragraph styles to be justified and set a maximum limit to the leading. In a book, for example, the body text leading limit could be set to ±10% and the last line of every page would be at the page bottom. The last page of a chapter that ended part way down the page would remain unchanged because of the leading limit. Does InDesign have such a feature? If not, Adobe, can you please add this feature to InDesign?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 24, 2021 Jun 24, 2021

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I'd suggest that you head over to indesign.uservoice.com to make a feature request. Here, you will find more people who remember Ventura (lots of features in Ventura Publisher that I miss) but over there is where people vote on feature requests, and where InDesign devs post responses to people's feature requests and bug reports. 

 

There is a Vertical Justification option in the Text Frame Options but I've never used it, and don't know if there is any way to easily replicate the last-page-of-chapter feature you describe. 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 24, 2021 Jun 24, 2021

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The easiest way would be to set your Text Frame on the master pages - then apply the Vertical Justification to the text frames. 

Then all pages will have this.

https://creativepro.com/indesign-basics-primary-text-frames/

 

https://helpx.adobe.com/indesign/using/aligning-text.html

 

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 25, 2021 Jun 25, 2021

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@Jim6C14 I would find this feature useful as well and thanks for suggesting it. @Joel Cherney has a good idea to add this to the list of recommended features on Adobe InDesign: Feature Requests: Top (3903 ideas) – Adobe InDesign (uservoice.com). Check to see if there is a similar request there first. As you know, InDesign does provide ways to do the same thing already but I agree there are several steps to get there. Maybe there are some custom scripts?

 

I design a lot of trade books with smaller trim sizes (5.5 x 8.5, 6 x 9) and getting paragraphs to look good on small pages is not exactly intuitive at first. Before placing text, I set as default a "Justified Text Box" Object Style I've created with the Text Frame Options (Vertical Justification set to Justify Align) but with no paragraph spacing limit because that can cause conflicts with the Paragraph Style's Space Before and Space After settings I have established. Then, on chapter endings or pages where there isn't enough text to fill the page, I have to apply a "Top Text Box" Object Style. I also set Keep Lines Together to Start/End of Paragraph at 2 lines and use a No Break GREP style for widow control to 10 characters. The resulting text pages come out great. I've tried different ways in the past but I can count on this to align all full text pages to the exact same baseline based on my Master Page margins. I realize these are my InDesign habits which may not be the most efficient. I'd love to hear how others approach the same so we can learn from each other!

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New Here ,
Jun 25, 2021 Jun 25, 2021

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Thanks Jain, and others. 
Your method works well for books who's pagination will not change after the first round of formatting. However, if the pagination does change (author wants to insert or delete some text), then there is a need to go back through the book and change two frame object styles at the end of every chapter. That's not a big job -- just an inconvenience.
It gets a bit trickier when a page has headings, sub-heads, bullets, etc . There are times when it's better to push a heading to the next page, leaving some space (para returns) at the bottom of the page. Then there is a need to judge by sight whether a page is loose or not. In the event of a pagination change, searching for, and changing object styles can become quite tedious.
I guess the main thing that would solve the problem would be to have the ability to set the maximum allowable leading in a paragraph style. Then all text frames could be vertically justified without fear of loose leading.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 26, 2021 Jun 26, 2021

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You are right, @Jim6C14. Once the pages shift it's not fun to go back through and reapply the object style and it does happen more than I like. I emphasize to authors that once their text comes out of Word into InDesign, significant text changes may incur additional cost so it's better to wait if they anticipate any. It's not always as simple as that, though, since I also make decisions in the layout process. I have encountered problems with subheading placements and so on but, to my eye, having a full text spread with extra empty space on one side and not on the other almost always looks unprofessional in a small trim size text-only trade book. There are always exceptions, of course. Not sure if you meant this but I don't recommend using extra paragraph returns to add space between text and headings or bullet sets to cause flow to the next page since the before/after spacing for each should be set in the separate paragraph styles or applied with that tool as needed. Anyway, it's a great discussion for me! I agree that a max leading option would be super to try out. I'm not sure why it's not offered in the first place. And there may be scripts to do this wonderfully that I haven't discovered yet.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 26, 2021 Jun 26, 2021

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Instead of trying to mess with the leading, why not use the baseline grid and align text to that?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 26, 2021 Jun 26, 2021

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@Peter Spier AFAIK, you can only apply Align To Baseline Grid by directly selecting the text that you want to apply the alignment to first. That can work great for text in columns on one page and other short text applications. But in books with text boxes linked across hundreds of pages with several different paragraph styles applied throughout and pages where chapters end without a full page of text this doesn't work. But maybe I'm missing something?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 27, 2021 Jun 27, 2021

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"Align to baseline grid" (with it's various options) can be applied to text as part of a paragraph style as well.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 27, 2021 Jun 27, 2021

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I recently finished the third edition of a book with hundreds of pages across multiple documents with the bulk of the paragraph styles set to align to grid.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 27, 2021 Jun 27, 2021

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Further, while grid alignment, in my opinion, is best set as part of a style, it needn't be, and you don't have to select any text to use it. It's a paragraph attribute and it can be applied to a selected text frame, or to any paragraph that has an active cursor.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 27, 2021 Jun 27, 2021

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@Peter Spier Makes sense, thanks Peter.

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New Here ,
Jun 28, 2021 Jun 28, 2021

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Peter, how would that work if the body text style had 14pt leading and a 7pt space after?  By snapping to grid, the 7pt space is not maintained, and if it was, then there would be another problem if the facing pages had a different (by an odd number) number of paragraphs. You would still need to spread those 7pts over the page (vert just). Is that not so?                                           

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 28, 2021 Jun 28, 2021

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It's true that you would lose the 7 pt spacing, but in my opinion the look of the pages would be improved.

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New Here ,
Jun 28, 2021 Jun 28, 2021

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Yes, the look of the page might improve to some extent, but the 7pt inter-paragraph spacing might look better than a full 14pt space. I guess I still think the best solution would be to have a feature that would allow you to select the maximum allowable leading for styles that are vertically justified in a frame.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 28, 2021 Jun 28, 2021

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Actually, you could set the grid to 7pts and things would work, but there is no guarantee that the last line would always fall at the bottom of the frame rather than on the next-to-last gridline, which I presume is what you are contending with now.

 

Personally, I find it extremely annoying, and I think a sign of amateur typesetting, when text does not align across adjacent columns or pages except when you have some sort of special case, such as a block quote, set in a different style. I would find your vertical justification with all that variable spacing very grating, and possibly more difficult to read.

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New Here ,
Jun 29, 2021 Jun 29, 2021

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Going back to the way Ventura would have handled a 7 pt gap at the bottom of a page: if max leading adjustment for body text was set to, say, 5%, the leading of all the lines on a 40 line page would increase from, say, 15pt to 15.175 pts to fill the 7pt gap. The 7 pts would be spread evenly over 40 lines. It would not be noticable. Styles for block quotes, headings, etc would likely also be set for 5% allowable adjustment, which would not be noticable. Try vertically justifying an InDesign page that has a 7pt gap at the bottom of the page. The change in leading would, again, not be noticable.

 

I haven't tried TAW's V-justify add-on, but from its description, it sounds like space is added below or above paragraphs to achieve vertical justification. I think that method could possibly produce noticable gap differences between paragraphs seen on facing pages.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 29, 2021 Jun 29, 2021

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Just thought I'd mention my own V-Justify add-on (not free), as it helps vertically align pages. It is aware of chapter endings, so if text reflows, it would turn off vertical alignment for those as needed.

It does not offer an option for changing the leading though. Instead, it allows the user to specify max and min values of space before and space after for each paragraph style, and modifies those values to achieve full justification.

Also, it does have an option to (additionally) employ InDesign's own vertical justification mode, which does modify leading, and, as mentioned, will switch full justification off at chapter endings.

https://www.id-extras.com/products/vertical-justification/

Ariel

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