Um, how do I make the text baselines even in our magazine?
April 11, 2006 8:42 AM   Subscribe

How do you set type in DTP software so that a story with multiple sections has even lines across a four column grid?

Ok, you know how a magazine or newspaper story might have several sub-sections, like so:

Jugis regula exerci blandit, autem, premo causa plaga ut appellatio gemino fere. Feugiat typicus facilisis quidem reprobo ut.

Foras opto ex mos in opto capto tum metuo secundum te macto. Quis comis reprobo eros secundum.

...where the section header indiciates a subsection of the story.

In general and in Indesign CS2, how does a magazine/newspaper do their style sheets so that if a story has section header with multiple lines, the baseline of the copy is all the same? Yeah, we can do lock to baseline, but that seems to create really strange white space.

I tried calculating the space, using the space before and space after options (i.e. if the leading is 10pt, make the section header 16pt with 2pt of space before and 2pt of space after), so that it would all add up to two lines of text, so that the bodycopy would fall easily on the same baseline, but if the section headers are more than one line, which is possible in a 4 column grid, then everything gets outta wack.

Is there something simple that I'm missing? These seems really complex, but it doesn't seem like it should be.
posted by anonpeon to Media & Arts (10 answers total)
You can set the gridlines and baselines for the layout in Edit>Preferences>Grids. (Go to View>Baseline Grid to reveal it on the screen.)

Once that's set, then you can assign the "Align to grid" option (under Indents and Spacing) for each paragraph style.

You can also apply it to paragraphs without styles by pressing the a button on the paragraph attributes palette. It looks like two sets of columns, one balanced and one unbalanced, and it's just underneath where you set the left indent for paragraphs.
posted by camcgee at 9:00 AM on April 11, 2006

Aligning to the baseline is the best option. Make sure that your leading is not more than the baseline distance. That can cause big spaces as everything becomes double-spaced.

Use returns to add line spaces not all that space before/space after stuff. That doesn't always work out as planned.

Are you creating columns in one big text box, or manually setting them up and linking them? Creating one big text box that is split into columns will make it easier.

Good luck!
posted by spakto at 10:29 AM on April 11, 2006

Response by poster: Doing a baseline grid doesn't work. If I have two line section head, it tries to put BOTH lines on the base line grid, which creates wierd spacing around and in between those two lines
posted by anonpeon at 12:46 PM on April 11, 2006

Do NOT use returns to space out your text. Jeez, I hate people who do that...

how does a magazine/newspaper do their style sheets so that if a story has section header with multiple lines, the baseline of the copy is all the same?

A few answers:

1. They don't. Subheads are edited to fit in to a line or less. The subeditors will know how many characters fit in a line.

2. They don't II. Using a condensed or compressed typeface (sometimes a bold weight) gets more characters on a line and the bold weight still adds the emphasis. Combine with 1. for single line subheads

3. If you really have to use two lines, set the leading of the subhead to be the same as that of the body copy.
Example: If your body copy is Sabon 8/10 (with 10pt space after the paragraph) have your subhead as Helvetica Neue Bold Condensed 9/10 with no para space. Set your baseline to be 10pt (starting at your top margin) and lock your styles to the baseline.

4. In InDesign paragraph style sheet settings you have options on how you align your paragraph to the baseline grid. If you select the 'Align to Grid' option to 'First Line Only' in your subhead style sheet then you can set your leading to suit altho' you may need to experiment a bit. Personally I've never tried this as I've always stuck to answers 1-3.

The skill in page design/layout is about working creatively within some necessary restrictions. There's a lot to learn...
posted by i_cola at 1:29 PM on April 11, 2006

I think I misunderstood your problem before, and I'm still not exactly sure I understand what you're talking about.

My impressiong is that what you need to do is to have separate styles for defining heading of differing line lengths. One heading would have before and after space that would satisfy a single line, and others would work with multiple lines.

To get the before and after space to work with them, you need:

leading for two header lines + space before + space after = exact multiple of baseline grid spacing

An example:

10/13 body copy
15/16 heads

In this case, your baseline grid is 13pt, so you need the total of the measurements to be 13, 26, 39, etc.

For a single-line header, you might have
16pt leading + 5pt before + 4pt after = 26

for a two-line head, you could do
16 + 16 + 4pt before + 3pt after = 39

Obviously, in each case, you've got a slightly different before and after space. Is that the "weird spacing" you're talking about?

There's no way to do it so that the same spacing works out for headings that cover different numbers of line unless the leading for the header is either exactly the same as the leading for the body copy or a whole-number multiple of the body copy leading.
posted by camcgee at 1:34 PM on April 11, 2006

Response by poster: Yes, this is more what I was talking about.

You just gave me an idea- have different style sheets for the section headers, based on whether it's a one, two or three line header.

posted by anonpeon at 1:41 PM on April 11, 2006

Response by poster: Oh, argggh! Space before and after isn't applied if at the top or bottom of a column.

posted by anonpeon at 1:48 PM on April 11, 2006

Do you want your headlines to align horizontally with anything, or do you just want the copy to be aligned?

In newspapers and magazines, generally only the copy text is locked to the baseline grid. Crossheads (headlines set inside the columns, as part of the text flow) are not locked to the grid, because it's murder to make them look right. They're also never more than one line.

Here's how I'd do it:
1. Lock the copy to the baseline grid, where the grid is the same spacing as the leading of your body type.

2. For single-deck crossheads, unlock that line from the grid, and baseline shift until it looks correctly spaced.

3. For multiple-deck crossheads, if you must have them, put them in a separate box, which is drawn so that the top and bottom are on the baselines of the baseline grid. Then make sure they fill the box.
posted by bonaldi at 5:36 PM on April 11, 2006

Click "Justify" in the text box menu. That will justify all lines of text across the bottom and shouldn't cause too weird of spacing.
posted by cass at 9:32 AM on April 12, 2006

Don't do that. It will cause subtly un-aligned text, depending on where the subheads fall.

Baseline grids are designed to make sure copy text lines up correctly, regardless of where the boxes are, or what objects it's running around. That's what they're for.
posted by bonaldi at 10:01 AM on April 12, 2006

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