How can we improve InDesign?

Dynamic baseline related unit of measurement

Please consider the addition of a dynamic unit of measurement that relates to the document’s baseline. Such a unit will make it possible to express various parameters throughout the design as a multiplication or division of the document’s baseline.

We would for example be able to express a header’s leading as twice the number of baselines, or a paragraph’s space after in any number of baselines.

The unit’s relation to the document‘s baseline means that it’s dynamic: whenever you change the baseline, all values expressed in this unit will change accordingly. There will be no more need to adjust these parameters manually.

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Theo van Beurden shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
Need more info  ·  Anonymous responded  · 

Hi All,

This indeed a great suggestion. I wanted to understand a little more about this request.

1. The way this request is described its majorly about figuring out how to change the various text attributes in a single step rather than having to change multiple styles to make that happen. It would helpful if you can mention which all attributes you all would want to be dependent on the baseline (space before/after, size, leading any other).
2. Which kind of documents (magazines, brochures, books etc.) do you see this to be more important for you.
3. Wouldn’t a similar method (not sure if we could base it on baseline though!!) for changing the layout also help, if you could define the sizes of objects in relation to the page size. Do you think extending this feature to the layout also makes sense.
4. If you can share some files as well which depict the before and after states described in this feature that would help.

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  • Robert Ewart commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    See LibreOffice:
    You can change the child styles in a style hierarchy using relative sizes (i.e., defining default style's text size size to a value (like 10 pt), and children size as 120% instead of 12 pt) allows you to proportionally change all text sizes at once by modifying default style's size.

  • Tomasz commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Guys, Robert Oleś answered your questions in february. Whats about developing this idea?
    It wpuld be huge improvement in documents layouting. Documents of every kind.

  • Neat commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Is this feature still in the information gathering stage? Any word from the devs on if this will be moved into the development backlog?

  • Neat commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    This would be a game changing addition to InDesign!

    I see this feature as equivalent to CSS's "em" attribute. How I imagine it working is:

    At document creation, we have the option of enabling a base unit for the document. Upon turning that option on and entering a number (say 10pt), that number serve as the base unit for the entire document. This unit can later be referenced by the letter "B" or something.

    Then, in paragraph styles, character styles, object styles-- wherever there's an option to enter a measurement-- we can put in something like "2*B" or ".5*B" and InDesign will automatically calculate the relevant size in inches, points, picas, whatever.

    If we later decide that we want to change the base unit for the document we can do so via document setup, and everything in the document that uses the base unit as a measure would scale accordingly. So, for example:

    Base unit is 10pt. In the Body paragraph style, the font size is set as "1B (10pt)". The H1 paragraph style is set as "3B (30pt)." The 2 Column Text Frame object style has its gutter width set to "1.5B (15pt)".

    I later decide I want the base unit to be 9pt. After I make this change, the the body paragraph style automatically changes its font size to 9pt, the H1 style changes its font size to 27pt, and the 2 Column Text Frame object changes its gutter width to 13.5pt.

    (That said, for me it would be ideal if the calculation happens internally, while the measurement field continues showing the 2*B or .5*B or whatever it is we entered-- that way we can keep track of what multipliers we're using. Something similar to what happens with layout scaling, where the original font size is displayed adjacent to the new font size is shown in parentheses, could work.)

    All together this feature would save me an ENORMOUS amount of time that I currently waste having to tweak measurements when I decide to change the font size or leading of a document. Relative sizes would make it so much easier to test changes to type and layout on the fly.

  • Robert Oleś commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    >>1. The way this request is described its majorly about figuring out how to change the various text attributes in a single step rather than having to change multiple styles to make that happen. It would helpful if you can mention which all attributes you all would want to be dependent on the baseline (space before/after, size, leading any other).

    ad. 1 All vertical spaces in paragraph style should be dependent on the baseline.
    (a) Space Before, Space After, Paragraph Rules and Border offset too.

    >>2. Which kind of documents (magazines, brochures, books etc.) do you see this to be more important for you.

    ad. 2 Long documents with many of paragraph styles, mainly books, and magazines, catalogs, etc. EPUB and especially CSS is very important too.

    3. Wouldn’t a similar method (not sure if we could base it on baseline though!!) for changing the layout also help, if you could define the sizes of objects in relation to the page size. Do you think extending this feature to the layout also makes sense.

    Ad 3. For me the most important variable in a typography is the x-height of the body text. Practically if it is a base of every layout everyone will be able to perfectly define all vertical spaces, e.g.: leading, and other vertical spaces.
    Publications which use Helvetica needs more space then publications set up using Arno. But the whole vertical adjustments depends of x-height of the font. That is all.

    All other horizontal spaces could be dependent of body size, or leading. And if we based on x-height we will be able to generate perfect Web pages and epubs too.

  • Raja, Gejaraj commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    This is really a good idea and must to include in InDesign, will really save huge time while typesetting.

  • Theo van Beurden commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Hi Javed, I’m glad about you interest in this suggestion! Here are my initial thoughts to your questions:

    1. That’s correct. It could indeed also be used beyond text attributes. Other things that come to mind are Margins, Gutters, Text Wrap and object width / height ... In theory it could be applied almost anywhere.
    2. I think this method is applicable to any text-based document; books, magazines and brochures in general.
    3. It would be interesting to be able to define object sizes in relation to the page size as well, but it’s something different than this specific suggestion.
    4. I think that’s difficult, because this really is something behind the scenes, but this forum post illustrates the concept applied to some text attributes: https://forums.adobe.com/thread/2302709

  • Tobias Wantzen commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Besides that this is a brilliant idea:
    This feature should take care of the text frame options baseline, too. E.g. if the baseline grid in document pref is set to 12 pt and a text frame has it's own activated baseline grid of 8 pt, »1 b« should be based on the 8 pt. If the text frame has no active baseline grid of it's own, it should user the document wide grid of 12 pt.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    great idea. I hate using the baseline grid at the moment this would make it so much more pratical.

  • Sharon Beeston commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I think this is a long overdue addition to InDesign. I am driven to despair by manual adjustment of pages in my long documents.

  • Barbara Olsher, BFA commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I create newsletters all day long as well as an occasional book or program or flyer for print. Having a baseline relate to the text as well as to the page would be superb!

  • Charlotte Sinclaire commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    A "baseline unit" measurement would, I think, really lend itself to book design, which is my main task with InDesign. I have set up several book templates for various size and style books, but the projects the publisher sends me are varied, which means widely ranging margins and leading. I don't hold my breath that the publisher's author-client is never going to ask for "something else" once they see the sample layout. A function like this could save me from having to refigure all my measurements when an author wants a "more open look," or something of that sort. Great idea. :)

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