6 easy tools to master text in Adobe InDesign

Kaitlyn Ellison

In layout design, type is your most important medium to play with. Sure, images are a big deal too — but it’s easy to put all of your stock in the color and fun of an image when it’s the creative manipulation text that can really make your design engaging.

There’s a lot to consider, too. You need to be aware of everything including font choice, typeface combinations, paragraph construction, type’s relationship to the featured images and white space. To help tackle all of these distinct challenges, InDesign has come up with a toolbox of easy tricks to help you do so efficiently.

1. Master the typeface menu

One of the best new features in the Creative Cloud version of Adobe InDesign is the upgraded typeface menu. It offers the ability both the filter out specific typefaces you’re looking for, as well as to sample those typefaces in your document.

To access the menu, click on the Type (T) tool and then move your cursor up to the top left corner and make sure the button with an “A” on it, Character Formatting Controls, is highlighted, as opposed to the “P,” which is the Paragraph Formatting Controls and which we’ll be using later on.

Filters

Using text in Adobe Indesign: Filters

 

  • Favorites: We all have our favorite typefaces that we love using project to project. InDesign allows you to star your favorite fonts on the type menu and pull them up together by clicking on the star filter at the top of the menu, shown here in the image to the left.
  • Imported Typefaces: The same goes for fonts that you download outside of the program. There are millions of amazing fonts out there, and Adobe has created a partnership with Typekit, a handy font subscription service, to make it easy to find and import a couple of thousands of new ones — for free with subscription! The type menu allows you to filter for just the fonts you’ve imported from Typekit, as well (as seen on the right).
  • Characteristics: You can also search for fonts with specific characteristics. For example, if you know you want your font to be bold, you can type “Bold” into the search box to find any font with that specific kind of typeface. The same goes for italic, semi bold, light, condensed, or whatever other style you can think of.

Sampling Typefaces

An arguably even more brilliant addition is the ability to see what your typeface possibilities look like in action, without having to select one to preview it, going back and forth from the menu every single time.

Using text in Adobe Indesign: Scrolling

All you have to do is highlight the text that you want to sample, and use the up and down arrows to scroll through different typefaces. This won’t actually select the font for you, so when you’ve settled on one, only then click on the it to use in your document.

2. Sync fonts with Typekit

Typekit is a super easy way to find new typefaces without having to worry about tracking down licensing, as it’s all been researched and is at the site for you. The program comes as part of a subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud, making it painfully easy to legally download and add fonts to your work.

Using text in Adobe Indesign: Typekit

You can either access the site by clicking on the option we saw above in the type menu or by heading to type in the main menu and “Add Fonts from Typekit”.

Using text in Adobe Indesign: Typekit

Head to Typekit to browse through fonts, looking for:

  • Classification: Serif/Sans serif/slab Serif, etc.
  • Use: For web vs desktop
  • Recommended: For paragraphs vs headings
  • Properties: Weight, width, contrast, etc.
  • Language support

Click on the font family that you want, review the typeface options and click on “sync” — the font will be easily synched to your open InDesign!

3. Wrap text around an image

Using text in Adobe Indesign: Wrap Text

This time we’re going to move away from the Text Tool into working directly with the image. Click on the image you want to work with, and the text wrap options — indicated with the orange arrow above. Your options are:

  • No text wrap: (Top left) Text will be layered over or under the image
  • Wrap around bounding box: (Top right) Will wrap the text around the image, pictured above
  • Wrap around object shape: (Bottom left) Also called contour wrapping, it wraps around the shape of the frame you’ve selected. So if you have an asymmetrical image on a white background, you can surround the image and not just the white square box around it.
  • Jump object: (Bottom right) Skips the object and anything to the right or left of it.

As you may notice, there’s not a lot of space between the edge of the image and the text. There are a couple of ways to get around this.

Using text in Adobe Indesign: Border

Option one is to create a boarder on the image before you import it into InDesign. If you want to work with the image in the layout extensively, this isn’t a terribly convenient option.

The second way to go is to use the stroke button, which appears in the image toolbar, indicated by the orange arrow. In the image above the transparent option is selected for both the fill and the stroke, but all you have to do is change the stroke color to whatever your background color is, and increase the point level to your desired thickness.The negative here is that adding a stroke can partially obscure the image, the stroke goes into the image border as well as outside of it.

I personally think it’s easiest to use the third option, to create a rectangle the same color as the background and place it behind the image to create a border. Doesn’t intrude into the image, and is easily editable while you’re playing with the layout.

4. Create columns

Using text in Adobe Indesign: Columns

Columns are as easy as clicking a button! Navigate to the column button above — it’s also in the text toolbar if you need it. Enter the number for how many columns you want, and in the box below it adjust the spacing between columns. That’s it!

5. Link text boxes

InDesign has a fantastic feature that allows you to link text boxes, allowing you to flow a larger body of text between multiple boxes to allow for easy editing for a larger brochure or article on multiple pages.

Using text in Adobe Indesign: Linking

The text box above contains more text than there is room to display it — as a result, there’s a tiny little red cross in a box on the bottom right of the box. All you have to do is click on this box and you will be copying the undisplayed text so you can paste it into a new previously created text box.

While the text is highlighted you can also just draw a text box to exactly where you want it on the page, and the text will automatically fill that box.

6. Create a drop cap

Using text in Adobe Indesign: Drop-Cap

The final cherry on the cake is to add a nice drop cap to the beginning of your text. A drop cap is when you see the first image or word drop down into the body of the text in a larger size (shown above).

The orange arrow points to the drop cap button in the paragraph formatting toolbar, which allows you to decide how many lines high you want the drop cap to be. Next to that button you can also choose how many letters you want to highlight, from just the first letter to the word, or even more if you would like.

Conclusion

There you have it! Six easy tricks you can use to master text with any project in InDesign: brochure, poster, magazine or newspaper layout. The possibilities go as far as your imagination.

What other tools have helped you with layout design? Share your pro tips in the comments!

The author

Kaitlyn Ellison
Kaitlyn Ellison

Kaitlyn is part of the Community Team at 99designs.com. She grew up in Boulder, CO and went to school at Northwestern University in Chicago. When she's not blogging, she spends her time having adventures and being generally creative. She's all about having new experiences as often as possible!

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