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InDesign and Type

December 30, 2002

I have been playing with Adobe’s InDesign lately, and I’m really enjoying this program. Quark Express has always been the software of choice for print design, so Adobe’s entry into the market is widely under-used. I never got into Quark, mainly due to not having it, so I’ve been free to experiment without the shackles of familiarity confining me and I like what I see.

InDesign reportedly supports OpenType, the benefits of which I’m only beginning to understand. TrueType and Type 1 fonts have traditionally been limited to one character set — this set could, of course, be as large as was necessary, and generally multiple character sets were incorporated into individual fonts regardless, but accessing anything beyond your basic keyboard characters is always such a pain. I’ve written about this previously.

OpenType allows for multiple variations of each individual character, various ligatures, and probably a whole lot more. Developed jointly by Adobe and Microsoft, it’s supposedly cross-platform and multi-national. It looks to be everything that TrueType is not. (More information from the proverbial horse’s mouth.)

InDesign has a built-in Glyph palette. Still not the ideal solution, but a step in the right direction, it functions similar to Windows’ Character Map and allows you to choose your character for insertion to your body copy. You can select alternates for each character, if they’ve been defined in the font. As well, paragraph styles may be defined that allow ligatures to be automatically inserted.

I’ve yet to truly explore the ways in which InDesign is making life easier for those working with large character sets, but what I’ve seen so far has been enough to impress me.


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