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Second Line Indent - Bullets

Guest
Jan 23, 2013 Jan 23, 2013

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Hey there.  Newbie here.  I haven't been in Indesign for 6 months.  I am creating a bulleted list using a pragraph style.  I used to hit (I think) Ctrl \ to get the second line of a bullet to line up with the text on the first line.  When I am doing it now, it indents the second line but way too far to the right.

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correct answers 2 Correct answers

Community Expert , Jan 23, 2013 Jan 23, 2013

In the paragraph style, make sure you've got bullets enabled, then set the left indent on the paragraph to the amount you want all but the first line to be indented, then set a negaive indent of equal size on the first line (this is called a hanging indent). You can adjust the tab value as well to match the left indent to make the first line text start at the same point after the bullet as the following lines. You don't need the indent to here character.

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Community Beginner , Jan 23, 2013 Jan 23, 2013

Here is an image to further show what Peter is talking about.

Bullet Position.gif

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Community Expert ,
Jan 23, 2013 Jan 23, 2013

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In the paragraph style, make sure you've got bullets enabled, then set the left indent on the paragraph to the amount you want all but the first line to be indented, then set a negaive indent of equal size on the first line (this is called a hanging indent). You can adjust the tab value as well to match the left indent to make the first line text start at the same point after the bullet as the following lines. You don't need the indent to here character.

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 23, 2013 Jan 23, 2013

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Here is an image to further show what Peter is talking about.

Bullet Position.gif

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 02, 2018 Dec 02, 2018

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I'm having the same issue (trying to get the second line of a numbered section to start with the text of the line above). Adjusting the settings to match the ones above doesn't seem to fix it.

delete.PNG

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Community Expert ,
Dec 03, 2018 Dec 03, 2018

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Increase the value for left indent a bit and set first line indent and tab position accordingly.

Regards,
Uwe

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New Here ,
Apr 11, 2023 Apr 11, 2023

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Tabs are the way to go here. Just set your tab size and soft return and hit tab instead of worrying about indent.

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Community Expert ,
Apr 11, 2023 Apr 11, 2023

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This is terrible advice. I have had the misfortune to have to make edits to files set up this way. The first bit of added or removed text throws all of the rest of the lines out of wack, and suddenly your indent is not longer correct and you have tabs randomly placed throughout your lines.

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Community Expert ,
Apr 11, 2023 Apr 11, 2023

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Um, first, this is a very old thread. It's not often useful to resurrect them except for a very specific comment about a narrow topic that may not have been resolved.

 

And your suggestion is... completely wrong. Bullets in InDesign use the indent/negative indent method as the starting point for this kind of list formatting; most approaches build on that. Soft returns should (almost) never be used in an app like InDesign that relies on paragraph styles as a basic building block of formatting.

 

Your method is how it's done in Word, by a very unskilled user. Even there, adjustments of the style and indents is the correct way, not "break/tab" secondary lines.

 

Really. 🙂

 


╟ Word & InDesign to Kindle & EPUB: a Guide to Pro Results (Amazon) ╢

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Community Expert ,
Apr 11, 2023 Apr 11, 2023

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I'll pile on here only to let anyone lurking and looking for answers know that while well-intentioned (I hope) is absolutely awful advice.

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Participant ,
Oct 19, 2023 Oct 19, 2023

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Still doesn't work. I think people gave up. When you have a bulleted list of say 10 items, and each bulleted item is 2 or 3 lines long, the second and third line line up with the bullet, and not with the first line text. 

eg.,

 

  • His this is Andy I would really like to know how to get the seond and third lines of my bulleted items to line up with the text, of the first line.  What????? This software I am typing in actually does what I am trying to get InDesign to do. Yikes. Can someone tell us how to get indesign to do this?
  • That would be great. I have increasing and decrease the first line indent, left indent, doesn't matter what I try, I can't get it to look like this. The second and third lines in InDesign line up with the bullets, not the first line of text.
  • Thanks!

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Community Expert ,
Oct 19, 2023 Oct 19, 2023

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This is simply not a complex formatting issue other than some subtleties about how the numerical settings interact, which can be a little counter intutitive.

 

  • Create a new style from your body font. Under Bullets & Numbering, set the type to Bullets.
  • Don't worry about any other initial settings.
  • Enter several paragraphs that will wrap to multiple lines.
  • Grab all these paragraphs by selecting and apply the new style.
  • Open the Tabs pane (Ctrl-Shift-T) and position it right above this text.
  • In Tabs, drag the two sliders (top pointer and bottom pointer) until the bullets look like what you want.
  • To be fussy, set a left tab at the same position as the bottom pointer.
  • (Optional) touch up the resulting numerical settings for these three items to round numbers for consistency.
  • Save the updated style.

 

There shouldn't be anything else required, at all.

 

It will be useful to play with the Tabs sliders and watch the numerical settings to grasp how the three numbers interact. It's not intuitive and it can be very difficult to set these numbers to ideal values just from scratch, unless you've been doing it a lot. The key, and confusing point, is that you set the left margin inwards and then set the first line indent outwards with a negative value.


╟ Word & InDesign to Kindle & EPUB: a Guide to Pro Results (Amazon) ╢

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Participant ,
Oct 20, 2023 Oct 20, 2023

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Thank you James. I'm a newbie and author. I am learning InDesign to self-publish my and other people's books. Thanks for you reply. However,

 

1. I don't know how to create a new style

2. I don't know what "body font" means

3. I can't find the Tabs pane

 

Other than that I'm doing pretty good. 

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Community Expert ,
Oct 20, 2023 Oct 20, 2023

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Okay.

 

InDesign is not just a variation of Word or other word processors. It's a very, very powerful page and document layout tool. If you're using it at a simple, word-processor or (augh!) electronic typewriter level, you're missing the majority of what it can do for you... even when used for relatively simple work.

 

I'd suggest you look at some of the basic tutorials and introductions, here on the Adobe site and elsewhere, and work through them to gain some mastery of ID's features and functions. The time spent will pay off in multiples as it will allow you to find and explore more advanced levels of features.

 

That's not blowing off an answer — but those features/functions are so very elementary that explaining them in a vacuum wouldn't really answer the bigger questions here. You need a grounding in the fundamentals of ID so that questions and answers have a context. (And yes, ID has a significantly steeper learning curve than tools like Word, but it's worth the climb if you want to do more than memos and reports.)


╟ Word & InDesign to Kindle & EPUB: a Guide to Pro Results (Amazon) ╢

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Participant ,
Oct 20, 2023 Oct 20, 2023

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Thank you James, excellent suggestions. I self-published 2 books using Word into Kindle, both paper and electronic copies. It was quite an onerous procedure. I then learned ID is the industry standard. I started an online course this week and am meeting with someone next week for 10 hours of tutorials. They are going to format one of the books I'm editing. I'm going to do it alongside of them. I very much appreciate you taking the time to steer me in the right direction.  Nothing like jumping in and doing it to learn. 

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Community Expert ,
Oct 20, 2023 Oct 20, 2023

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Especially for books — both print and EPUB/Kindle — ID is to Word as Word is to... Notepad. It's a tool worth learning and you'll find pleasant surprises around pretty much every learning corner. 🙂


╟ Word & InDesign to Kindle & EPUB: a Guide to Pro Results (Amazon) ╢

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New Here ,
Dec 31, 2023 Dec 31, 2023

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For the record, I have had classes on InDesign in college, but that was several years ago. I'm out of practice, and searching the web for how-to's to solve this bullet issue. James, your advise here seems straight-forward, but it wasn't working for me. Until I grabbed that top carrot and dragged it to the left of the bottom carrot in the Tabs panel.  THEN it started to work exactly the way you said it would.

 

That may be what you said up there, but it didn't click for me what the carrots meant. Thank you so much for your post.  It was extremely helpful.

Chris24835679czeo_0-1704091705678.png

 

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Community Expert ,
Jan 01, 2024 Jan 01, 2024

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Glad you found the info/figured it out. There are only two ways to approach this kind of indent, with a 'negative' first line indent that makes sense once you understand it, but can be a bear to figure out, and (Word's) approach of simply having two positive indents (0.25 inch/0.5 inch, for example) , which does not preserve the idea of the relative outdent and requires more thinking and mental math than ID's approach. So once you get ID's method... it's probably the best approach.

 

And yes, dragging the ruler elements (top caret, bottom caret and—in Word—bar) can make the process fairly intuitive. But I have trouble selecting and dragging the right tiny bit, most of the time, and tend to click to select, then set a numeric value above. If ID has a flaw in its system here, it's that the Tab bar is detached from the text and requires some visual/mental juggling to match to the actual changes to the text.

 

But it all works well, and intuitively, once you... intuit it. 🙂


╟ Word & InDesign to Kindle & EPUB: a Guide to Pro Results (Amazon) ╢

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Participant ,
Jan 01, 2024 Jan 01, 2024

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Thanks VannaBanana. 

For a point of clarification:

Indesign tab and indent explanation.png

 The Tab alignment button is Adobe's terminology for how a tab will be set. A Caret looks different ^, and is commonly use to mark a place where text is to be inserted on a printed document (see below):

caret webster .png

caret indesign.png

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