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Chapter 23. Paragraph Formatting > Hanging Punctuation

Hanging Punctuation

People who love well-set type are always concerned about the “look” of the type. One high-quality “look” which has largely disappeared over the past decade of desktop publishing is when the edges along each side of a column of text appear even. Normally, when some punctuation marks—periods, commas, dashes, and quotations marks—and the edges of some letters (like a capital A) touch the left or right edge of a text frame, they appear to be very slightly indented from the edge. Hanging punctuation makes subtle adjustments to the position of these characters, moving them slightly outside the frame, making the column appear straighter and cleaner.

InDesign calls this feature optical character alignment, and it implements it as an attribute of the story. To apply this effect to your text, select a text frame with the Selection tool or click an insertion point with the Type tool, open the Story palette (choose Story from the Type menu), and turn on the Optical Margin Alignment option. The hanging effect applies to all linked frames in your story.


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