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Lesson 7. Advanced Typography and Layout > Creating a tabbed price chart

Creating a tabbed price chart

With tabs, you can create easy-to-read charts that present information clearly. Tabs let you align text in several ways. Especially useful is the decimal tab, which aligns prices perfectly. Tabs sometimes are difficult to work with because you can’t see where they are inserted in text. You can use the Show Hidden Character feature to display them, as well as hard and soft returns and spaces. These symbols do not actually print—they only appear on-screen to help you when you edit type.

Choose Type > Show Hidden Characters. Blue symbols indicate hidden characters.

Showing hidden characters

Using the type tool, in the upper left of the top panel, select all of the text in the Pricing section.

Choose Type > Tab Ruler.

In the Tab palette, select the Snap box. This option makes it easy to align tabs to the ruler.

Click in the Tab ruler to place a tab at 1.625 inches.

If the tab ruler is not set to inches, you can click in the area to the right of the X to cycle through the measurements. You can also zoom in to see more tick marks, like eighth- and sixteenth-inch marks.

Place another tab at 3.5 inches, and click the Center-Justified Tab button.

Place another tab at 5.75 inches, and click the Decimal-Justified Tab (leftmost) button.

Setting tabs to align text perfectly

Close the Tab palette.

To make the chart even easier to read, you will add horizontal rules between each line.

Using the pen tool, draw a straight horizontal rule as wide as the text block. To make this easy, turn on Smart Guides.

Apply a fill of None. Apply a stroke of black, set to 1 point. To create a dashed line, in the Stroke palette options, set the dash to 1 point and the gap to 2 points. Click the Round Caps button to make the rule appear as a dotted line (zoom in close to get a better look at it).

Creating a dashed line in the Stroke palette

Position the rule under the first line of type.

Positioning the first rule

With the rule selected, double-click the selection tool to display the Move dialog box.

Enter -29.5 pt in the Vertical box, and click Copy. (Be sure to type “pt” after the number, to have Illustrator recognize the value as points, not inches.)

Press Ctrl/Command+D to replicate step 13. Repeat this step until the last line of text has a rule below it.

Completed price chart

Turn off the hidden characters by choosing Type > Show Hidden Characters.



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