Allow bullets and numbers to hang outside of the text frame
There is currently no way to make a bullet or number hang outside of a text frame properly. The "optical margin alignment" feature control is iffy at best.
Attached are two photos that show what I mean.
In the first example, the "Correct" green bullets are not achievable in InDesign unless every other paragraph except for the bulleted paragraph has an additional positive left indent on all of its lines. It would be so much easier if we could just add a negative left indent to the first line of the bulleted paragraphs.
In the second example, a document that I'm working on, in order to get the numbered lists to hang into the left column, I have to add a big left indent to all the paragraph styles in my document.
@Jack - Yes, thanks, I am aware of that. I do it all the time, but it's not a style. It's a work-around. If I want to promote a run-in workaround to a real heading, I have to edit it out of the paragraph, create a new style, and paste the text into a new paragraph with that style. If I want to demote a real heading to a run-in heading, I have to go through a similar, but even less convenient, rigamarole.
The whole point of style sheets is to avoid that kind of repetitive manual busywork. I appreciate your suggestion, but it doesn't really fulfill the need for REAL run-in heading styles!
Jack Brannen commented
Allen, you can create run-in heads with nested or GREP styles!
This is an obviously useful improvement. The notion that hanging bullets is "incorrect formatting" is unrealistic, since designers are expected to design with much greater freedom than that.
One of the tremendous advantages of semi-automatic format management like InDesign provides is that projects can be changed without requiring hours of manual rework and adjustment. Hanging indents should be easier, and hanging bullets is a comparable design strategy.
Support for run-in heads would also be tremendously valuable, since there is no way to create them other than by embedding them into the paragraph -- which means they aren't stylesheet headings, and have to be deleted and recreated as separate paragraphs if the design changes.
Todd Baldridge commented
I used to think this was needed, too, until I learned that I was not laying out text frames correctly. Simply expand the width of the text box to the document edges, and set your left & right indents accordingly to accommodate the bullets correctly hanging outside of the paragraph text. This is the proper way to handle bullets and all text, for that matter.
Also, start using Baseline Grids, and you will take your layouts to the next level!
Bill Motzing commented
Here is a better way, although not ideal. Space, bullet character, space, text. Then place cursor before the bullet and negative track until the text aligns with the frame. The good news is this combination before the text can be cut and pasted for every bullet. The bad news is it is not able to be a style sheet. Agree, negative indent would be best, then hanging bullets could be included as a style sheet.
Dax Castro commented
Referring specifically to your hanging-bullets.png - Technically , bullets are sub topics from the main paragraph and therefore really should be inset. I accept that as a matter of style if you choose to have them hanging outside your paragraph, but technically this is incorrect formatting. :)
I always manually set the indentation for the rest of my paragraph styles to match the text position on my bullet points. This is an awful workaround, so i definitely vote for this feature!
Tom L commented
I voted for this feature request but would be better as a part of another request: 'Allow negative indentation!'