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Typing Symbol for "Inches"

Community Beginner ,
Apr 16, 2009 Apr 16, 2009

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Can anyone tell me how I can type the proper unit for inches in InDesign? Is there a proper way of doing this? All I get is qoutation marks when I use "shift" and the qoutation mark key.

Thanks,

DaveyDave

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Advocate , Apr 16, 2009 Apr 16, 2009

Marvin's right, but it's worth pointing out that inches should be marked with double prime marks rather than dumb/straight quotes. Most character sets don't have them, but it's worth looking at the glyph menu.

If the font does have the prime marks (eg. Helvetica), I usually just do a GREP search:

Find what: (\d)”

Change to: $1\x{2033}

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Enthusiast ,
Aug 03, 2010 Aug 03, 2010

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macinbytes wrote:

I am just wondering who is using them? Never once have I seen a prime symbol in POP or sales literature.

I use them in an exhibitor brochure I put together every year.  It lists the dimensions of all the trade booths.  I use prime and double-prime for the measurements, and I also use a multiplication-sign instead of an x (in things like 6' x 4').  To me the real prime marks look better, plus I know they won't accidentally get switched to curly-quotes if I move things around.

I'm also picky about n-dashes and m-dashes. 

Phyllis

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Enthusiast ,
Aug 03, 2010 Aug 03, 2010

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I use them in an exhibitor brochure I put together every year.  It lists the dimensions of all the trade booths.  I use prime and double-prime for the measurements, and I also use a multiplication-sign instead of an x (in things like 6' x 4').  To me the real prime marks look better, plus I know they won't accidentally get switched to curly-quotes if I move things around.

I'm also picky about n-dashes and m-dashes. 

Phyllis

Any artist should be particular about the correct use of the n dash. Almost every font has n and m dashes, multiplication symbols, fractional slashes, and the like.

I know most of the time someone is going to type a male ordinal instead of a degree symbol just out of convenience. Fonts typically contain a degree symbol, male ordinal, and the little ring buddy that can all pretty much serve the same purpose. I've only ever seen layouts use the º option+0 version of the degree symbol.

9º 9˚ 9°

The prime and double prime just look wrong to most people. Type designers create a straight and curly quote for almost every font that has over 200 characters. Out of 2500 fonts I had fewer than a dozen that contained a prime symbol, all of them 20k or better character count. The sarcasm punctuation mark will see more typefaces in 5 years than the prime mark. I prefer set my own typographer quotes when needed, but I just can't back up the use of the prime for anything other than topography.

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Enthusiast ,
Aug 03, 2010 Aug 03, 2010

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macinbytes wrote:


The prime and double prime just look wrong to most people.

I've never had any complaints.  And the straight quotes always look wrong to me!  But to each their own....  🙂

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Community Expert ,
Aug 03, 2010 Aug 03, 2010

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I've had complaints regarding my use of actual inch marks from graphic designers and communications majors... and commendations from architects, math professors, and civil engineers. Your mileage may vary.

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Enthusiast ,
Aug 03, 2010 Aug 03, 2010

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It's quite dangerous to use the masculine ordinal for a degree symbol. Not only is it the wrong height and too large, but in some typefaces it is underlined. Besides being wrong and looking wrong, it means your text may not correctly survive a font change very well. Given that the degree symbol is in pretty much every font, there's not much excuse for not using it.

And to be clear: using vertical typewriter quotes for inches is just wrong. The real primes are in Adobe's newest fonts, as well as in a few old stand-by symbol/pi fonts. Italicizing the typewriter quotes will get you reasonably close if you don't have a better alternative. Yes, some people may think they look odd, but we heard the same thing when oldstyle figures started making a comeback ten years ago. They were as typographically correct then as they are now, even if the average viewer wasn't used to them. They'll learn.

Cheers,

T

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New Here ,
Aug 03, 2010 Aug 03, 2010

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Try using> shift option g

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Enthusiast ,
Aug 03, 2010 Aug 03, 2010

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That and the shortcuts I listed above are for the double acute and acute symbols, but they will get you by.

One is much more likely to find those in fonts, though real type crazies will tell you to use a double prime and not a double acute. Very few fonts have prime marks. None of the Adobe fonts that ship with CS5 have them that aren't Asian. Looking through a pile of fonts I'm seeing only Arno as a layoutworthy font with prime symbols.

I'm still antiprime. Straight quotes do the job, match the typeface and are less of a hassle to keep consistent. I've still never seen primes used in anything other than geographics.

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Engaged ,
Aug 03, 2010 Aug 03, 2010

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FWIW I switch fonts to Universal News with Commercial Pi and type the number "9" for inch marks and "8" gives me the foot symbol.

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New Here ,
Feb 20, 2017 Feb 20, 2017

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InDesign converts all straight quotes to curly quotes by default, but if you want a straight quote, it’s fairly easy to get them. Press Command + Shift + Option + ‘ This key combo turns off the quote converter preference. Now your quotes will be straight. If you want to go back to curly quotes, just press the key combo again. You have to set each document to enable this feature

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Community Expert ,
Jun 08, 2021 Jun 08, 2021

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If space permits, may I suggest you use "ft." and "in." instead of primes? Less confusion for the viewer. (Spinal Tap anyone?)

David Creamer: Community Expert, Adobe Certified Instructor, and Adobe Certified Expert (since 1995)

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