There's No Excuse for Extra Returns

When evaluating the level of students who are switching from Quark to InDesign, the first thing I look for is extra returns between paragraphs. Why? It’s one of least efficient things that can be done using a layout application and the chances are quite high that students using extra returns are NOT using Quark’s Style Sheets for formatting type or Master Pages. To say the least, they’re using their layout program at a very basic level.

Why is adding an extra paragraph return to add space between paragraphs so inefficient? Changing the amount of space becomes a totally manual process. Each return has to be selected, one at a time, to be changed. It’s far better to make paragraph spacing part of the actual formatting. That’s where “Space After” and “Space Before” come in. Open your Paragraph palette (Type menu > Paragraph) and under the Options menu, choose Show Options if Paragraph Spacing is not showing. Using the Type tool (T), select several pages of 12 point copy and add 9 points (.125″) of Space Before OR Space After. All the paragraph spacing opens up. Need to decrease the spacing? Type in a lower number. You’re done! The next step is to take this efficiency global with Paragraph Styles. But that’s another tip.

Tip provided by Jeff Witchel, Certified Adobe® Training Provider.