What is the best way to create aligning leader dots? I want to create the following:
I created this by typing the left material, then the right material, then going back and typing tab period, tab period, tab period, as necessary to fill the space in between. This is fine. And if I want the spacing of the dots to be different, I can do that in advance and get the spacing I want. BUT, I can't easily change anything. If I change the material on the left or right so that it becomes longer or shorter, it messes up the dots and I need to fix them by hand. Same if I change the tab spacing. Is there a way to do this so that I don't have to type each dot individually, and that if I make changes everything adjusts accordingly?
If youwant the dots to align vertically like that I think you are stuck doing it manually with tabs and periods, though you might want to play with a table and merging cells (still a manual process) to get the required space for the entries.
You can set the tabs as part of the paragraph style, so that you can change them all at once, but you'd still need to revisit each paragraph to adust the number if you change the spacing. It's possible this might be scriptable, though.
You could try using a custom dashed line as a paragraph rule. This will add a dotted line underneath the full line for every paragraph. Then use a white underline on just the letters (everything but a tab). That underline should be thick enough to cover the dotted line and have the colour Paper. Use GREP Styles to format the text.
Good idea Scott.
A custom dotted stroke style might be better for round dots, and I think this could be done as a nested style, defining the underline and rule as part of the basic formatting, then define a "no underline" character style and apply it to the tab character in the nested style. GREP styles tend to slow things down as the text gets longer, and would not be necesssary in this case since the pattern is predicatble with the tab character.
I think you could simplify Scott's idea by using a Right Indent Tab (Type>Insert Special Character>Other, or Shift-Tab), and rather than using a paragraph rule, apply a Character Style to the tab which includes an underline. Something like this:
The problem with that appraoch, Rob, is that the leader underline on the tab starts after the last character before the tab so as you vary the number of characters the position of the first dot changes and they don't align in nice vertical columns. Using the rule the dots are the same in every paragraph, regardless of the length of text.
seems like tracking leader dots that much starts to defeat the purpose of the leader—leading your eye to the item.
But it doesn't defeat the purpose of the original post: to lead our eye to the vertical alignment of the dots!
Since when did ghraphic design become logical? LOL. Actually aligning leader dots in this way is a vintage thing to do. It one of a number of things I do when I'm trying to create something that looks old.
Son of a gun.
Color me surprised and emabarrased. I didn't think that would work, but it certainly seems to.
To make life simpler, in the paragraph style definition add a tab stop of any flavor beyond the right edge of the widest frame you are likely to use and add a dot in the leader field (this is a trick to get the leader will be applied to the right indent tab as well because there is no way to specify a leader for it otherwise). Make a character style for the tracking on the leader, and nest that in the nested styles section of the paragraph style definition, too.
If the dot size is not to your liking, add a new font size specification to the character style applied to the tab as well.
I forgot about creating a character style for the leaders. That will take care of the tracking and as Peter pointed out, you can change the point size and font if the dots are too big or too small, or square, etc.!
Now if only someone can help me with my problem. I don't care about them aligning vertically, I just want them to
have even spacing before and after. In my second sample above, see how tight the dots are to "Introducing" and "free" and how far away they are from "City" and "everyday"? I wind up tracking each line different when I use leaders like this.
Sorry. Rob had suggested using a custom dotted underline (the method illustrated for Fergymac above to get the dots evenly distributed between the words), and I replied that maethod will not align the dots vertically since they start at whatever random point the tab is inserted. I was under the mistaken impression that a conventional tab leader behaves the same way, so referred you to that response, but it turns out you and Fergy were correct all along, and I learned something new about tab leaders.