Welcome to the world of graphic design. First time visitor, are you? "p0" is nothing -- it's "0p0", and that stands for zero pica's and zero pica points.
The online help for "measurement units" answers your question: http://indesignsecrets.com/change-measurement-systems-on-the-fly.php
p is picas and points. 2p would be 2 picas. 2p6 is 2 picas, 6 points. There are 12 pts in a pica.
Open a new ID doc, click in the ruler at the top and right click. Convert to inches. Click in the ruler along the left side, right click and convert to inches. This should now be your new default setting.
To change your default unts:
Close all open documents.
Open InDesign Preferences
Go to Units & Increments
Set Horizontal and Vertical Ruler Units to desired option (such as Inches)
That will set your units for all future documents.
Existing documents will have to be changed when opened.
Personally, I use Points, set to 72 pts per inch. I feel I have more control over object size and placement.
I do not use picas, so I cannot comment on how useful they would be. 6p0 would be equivalent to 1 inch, or 72 points.
I use points beacuse:
- It is the same unit of measure for the text (font size in points)
- At 72 points per inch, it is roughly equivalent to the pixel resolution on images (72 pixels per inch).
- I can adjust things by points, where each point equals 0.01389 inches. It is easier to adjust by adding 1 or more points than by large decimals of inches, even though the dialog boxed can do the math for you.
- If you need to set something as a scale in inches, you can still enter that number into any field, and the field will convert it for you,
- Enter 1.25 in, and you get 90 points.
Still, it is my personal preference. It is not the only way to do things.
PS: When you set the preference using the rules, you are setting the document preference. Though, each ruler can be different. For instance you can have inches vertical and picas horizontal.
You can leave your document as Pica for the measurement.
When you create a new documeent simply type in
and it will convert to the pica equivalent.
That's fine. You can then use Picas as the ruler.
I used to do all my measurements in picas but I found that others couldn't use them so I reverted to millimeters.
In fact - you can type in any measurement anywhere
Say if you are using inches as you're ruler and you want to move the X Co-ord a fraction of an inch.
You can simply type into the X Cords in the top right which will read say 4 in - after this type in "+1p"
Which will move the selected item 0.166 of an inch, your new coord will be 4.166
And you can do that with loads of things in indesign, simply add, substract, divide using "+", "-", "*", "/" anywhere where a numerical meaurement is used, and use any measurement available.
It is not a bug, though at first glance it may seem to be.
With no documents open, changing the preference sets the new preference for
future documents without altering any existing documents without your
With a document open, changing the preference affects ONLY the open
document without chancing your workspace.
So, if you prefer to work in Pica's and have a one-off project that demands
the file be delivered in mm, you can change the document without impacting
your personal workspace.
It may seem like a hassle to work the preferences this way, but I believe
it gives more control to the designer.
Consider the professional benefits of knowing and using the Pica (and its sub-unit, points) measurement system:
1. PostScript computer drawing language is founded on Picas/Points at 6 picas per inch / 12 points per pica / 72 points per inch. Therefore, all the math within InDesign is most accurate at its native measurement system.
2. Bear in mind that this electronic-era Pica/Point system is different (slightly, at 72.27 points to the inch) from the Pica system of metal typesetting days.
3. Why use it if North Americans are born and raised on inches? Why use it if Europeans are familiar with the metric system? (And I'm not trying to define all parts of the globe ... this is just a rough illustration.) The main benefit is the simplicity of math that is based on sixes and twelves as opposed to twos and fours (inches) and tens (metric). A unit of measure based on sixes and twelves can easily be divided by 2, 3, and 4. This makes a tri-fold brochure or a three-column newsletter easier to measure. Ask yourself: Have you ever measured a third of an inch? Likely No! Imperial inches often bring you to fractions like 11/32. Can you type that into a dialog box field easily? No! Can you divide an 8.5 x 11 inch page easily into thirds without painful repeating decimal inches. No again! Can you even calculate that in your head? My experience says no, you cannot. But it is all easy, whole numbers when you use Picas.
4. Professionals in the printing and graphic design industry in the US where I live commonly work in Picas/Points and are natively comfortable with inches, too. Maybe you should consider the two to be close cousin measurement systems, affording simple math advantages sometimes in one; sometimes in the other. It is trivial in at least two ways to change the measurement system of any document: Either right-click the ruler's Zero point, or type the explicit measurement system into a dialog box field. There is even a shortcut for it (Cmd+Opt+Shift+U, I think.)
I have to comment on the claim that you haven't come across picas since 1998. As the native measurement system of all PostScript Adobe software, it is certainly not dead. It is a reborn innovation. The fact that many aren't using it simply indicates the enormous paucity of education in our industry. With the 1980s, many seasoned folks retired when computers came along. The next generations were mainly self-taught, and this has left big experience gaps for us all to re-discover.
Next time you encounter Picas/Points, give them a hug, why don't you?!
Another advantage of learning and using picas which I like to teach my students. It's much easier to do quick calculations.
You need to add 1-5/8" to 3-7/8". Bet you can't do that in your head. Yes, we learned fractions in grade school but most people still have problems with them.
But if you have something that's 5p3 wide and you need to add 1p2. I bet you can do that one more easily. With picas, you're working with integers.