Archive for the ‘InDesign’ Category

  • Jan 23, 2016

    design, InDesign, typesetting

    Typesetting with non-breaking spaces

    Years ago, I helped a major museum create a list of abbreviations (and other elements that typically appear in scholarly manuscripts) before or after which it would be good to have non-breaking spaces. You know, like after the p. in “see p. 284” or before the in. in dimensions (8 x 8 in.).

    Typesetting non-breaking spaces

    When I’m commissioned as typesetter, I bring in these non-breaking spaces at the initial typesetting stage. InDesign has a powerful Find/Change feature that makes this a simple task. Doing it early on ensures that none of these awkward breaks will appear in first pass pages and saves lots of time and effort on behalf of the designer and editorial staff.

    “I can’t handle reflow at this point!”

    On occasion, I’m brought in to finish up design and production on a book when the designer is unable to get the work done on time. The entire book will have already been laid out and at least one round of edits may have been done. Generally, the editor will mention that there are numerous bad breaks due to the designer not adding these non-breaking spaces and will ask me to fix all of them. I have to point out that if I make the changes globally at this point, line breaks will change and text may reflow from page to page, which is a big problem if the index has already been developed. (These books usually do not contain InDesign-generated indexes.)

    “I can’t handle reflow at this point!” is the typical response. This means I have to find and replace these spaces one by one and fix any bad line breaks or text reflow. That’s quite a time-consuming process. So save your publisher some money and make these changes before first pass. Your editor will love you.

    Jan 23, 2016

    design, InDesign, typesetting

  • Working with a book typesetter, Part 2

    There’s been a lot of writing lately about the resurgence of beautifully designed and printed books in this age of digital books. Typography has a significant part to play in the creation of those beautiful books.

    As mentioned in Part 1 of “Working with a book typesetter,” freelance Book Designer (BD) has hired Typesetter (T) to typeset galleys for her 352-page art book. What are galleys?

    Here’s a good definition from Wiley:

    Galleys are the typeset text showing continuous word flow uninterrupted by illustrations, tables, footnotes, or figure captions. Tables, footnotes, and captions are set together in their own sections at the end of the text galleys.

    When creating galleys, dedicated attention can be given to typography without the distraction of layout concerns.

    So, BD sends her sample InDesign file and Publisher’s Word files to T for evaluation. T looks through all the files and asks BD to clarify any confusing typographic issues and to define any styles missing from the sample pages:

    • T notices that some body text paragraphs are set using Paragraph Composer while others use Single-Line Composer. She asks BD to clarify which is preferred.
    • There are poetry extracts in the Word files, but none in the InDesign sample file. BD may create and send specs for the poetry now, or she may ask T to design style sheets that BD can easily edit later.
    • The Word files contain yellow and cyan highlighting added by the editor. T needs to know if these should be retained for galleys, etc.


    Highlighted text in Word.

    Once T is clear on how things need to be set up, she begins developing a clean InDesign file. Master pages are set up, including the appropriate running feet and folios. Paragraph and character styles are created, using Nested Styles, GREP Styles, etc., when called for. Word files may be adjusted or may be brought into InDesign as is. Text is styled carefully and consistently and master pages are applied.

    T doesn’t bother fixing widows and orphans at this point because BD will be adding images to the layout and text will reflow from column to column, or page to page. But if the text measure (line length) is finalized:

    • nice rags will be created (on rag right text)
    • loose and tight lines will be fixed (on justified text)
    • ladders, rivers, and runts will be eliminated

    When finished, T delivers her InDesign file (galleys) to BD, so BD can begin layout.

    Text corrections

    One month later, BD receives first pass corrections from Publisher. Sometimes the changes are simple and it’s easy for BD to make them herself because the file is so clean. But in this case, there are numerous layout changes and 20–30 text changes on each page. Publisher sends replacement Word files for one essay and all of the footnotes. Publisher has changed her mind about the styling of captions and requests that they be set up differently.


    Sometimes the text corrections are…dizzying.

    Fortunately, BD has already scheduled T to assist in creating 2nd pages, so she sends T the marked-up pages and her first pass InDesign file. T makes all requested text changes, including typesetting the new text and editing the caption style. She may also address widows and orphans, and fix any reflow problems caused by the edits. She leaves notes on pages that require BD’s attention.

    When BD receives the file back from T, all she needs to do is make layout changes and address the notes from T. BD is relieved because she knows T has a proofreader’s eye and rarely makes a mistake when inputting text changes. This means BD can concentrate on the design and layout and doesn’t have to worry about things like spelling errors.


    If BD and T are lucky, this is the end of the story. But they have worked together on complex books that required 12 or more rounds of changes from the Publisher. True story.

    If you’d like to learn more about this process, or hire me for typesetting, I’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch so we can start making beautiful books together.


    Beautiful books.


    Office security guard Captain, protecting us from scary thunderstorms. See office manager Annie here.