16 Replies Latest reply on Sep 16, 2016 9:57 AM by Laubender

    Dynamically adjusting text

    Karl B Cartwright Level 1

      InDesign CS 5 - Windows

      I am looking for suggestions for a solution.


      I have this format which includes one or two lines of text that appear inside brackets (Graphic elements) as shown.  The brackets will always be the same size and should "expand" to accommodate the text between them. (I know the example shows the brackets the same distance apart in both examples, but they should be ab


      For one line, I have placed the graphic elements inline with the text.  So when the text is edited, the brackets will expand as needed.  This works fine


      For two lines, the text needs to be smaller, but the brackets remain the same size as the single line of text.  Looking for an easy way to edit the text in this case so it works similarly to the single line of text.  Editing the text will allow the brackets to expand as needed.

        • 1. Re: Dynamically adjusting text
          Document Geek Adobe Community Professional

          You need to use anchored objects. Diane Burns wrote an article explaining how to do just that: http://indesignsecrets.com/the-burns-effect-using-anchored-objects-in-nonintuitive-ways.ph p

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Dynamically adjusting text
            Obi-wan Kenobi Level 5



            Just for fun and just done with 3 different para styles:


            Capture d’écran 2016-09-13 à 19.19.08.png



            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Dynamically adjusting text
              Karl B Cartwright Level 1

              Is this done with "The Burns Effect" as described above?

              • 4. Re: Dynamically adjusting text
                Karl B Cartwright Level 1

                As I went through this, I realized that this is just what I am doing for the single line of text.  I just did not realize it was making an anchored object.  So yes, this works for the single line.

                Still looking for the other option, unless I am missing how to make this effect work for that case.

                • 5. Re: Dynamically adjusting text
                  George_Salnik Adobe Community Professional

                  Jedy! I'm repeat: show all, not only screenshot with ready image

                  • 6. Re: Dynamically adjusting text
                    Obi-wan Kenobi Level 5

                    Aha! You again! Would you be a Sith? 


                    Here, I'm searching some specific para lengths (more than 120 chars but less than 135!

                    … But the op can just select a para and play it on "selection"!

                    Capture d’écran 2016-09-13 à 21.23.38.png

                    Capture d’écran 2016-09-13 à 21.23.54.png

                    Capture d’écran 2016-09-13 à 21.24.06.png

                    Capture d’écran 2016-09-13 à 21.25.20.png

                    Capture d’écran 2016-09-13 à 21.25.51.png

                    Capture d’écran 2016-09-13 à 21.26.11.png

                    Capture d’écran 2016-09-13 à 21.52.23.png



                    • 7. Re: Dynamically adjusting text
                      Karl B Cartwright Level 1

                      Thank you for your reply.  I really appreciate your time in answering with screenshots.


                      The language difference in the program is making it a bit difficult to follow your steps.  I will continue as best I can, but I am not sure I will succeed.


                      It looks like you have used the Find/Change feature to find specific text to apply a paragraph style to, and this is not really necessary to achieve the effect you have described here.


                      If I understand you correctly, you have created 2 character styles. One to describe the base text, and one to describe the brackets.  You then have created a Paragraph Style which uses GREP to identify the two elements, and apply the character styles accordingly.


                      Unfortunately, I am not familiar enough with this approach to work out the details.  If you are able to provide further details on how each style is created, that would help.


                      Again, i really appreciate your time.

                      • 8. Re: Dynamically adjusting text
                        Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                        Hi Karl,

                        the brackets are text characters.

                        The first one is formatted with:


                        Character style 1:

                        56 pt size

                        0 leading

                        -25 baseline shift


                        the second bracket:


                        Character style 2

                        56 pt size

                        0 leading

                        +4 baseline shift


                        Paragraph style:

                        The indents are:

                        57 mm left, 47 mm right

                        To make room for the brackets:

                        -7 mm first line indent

                        -7 mm last line indent


                        There are two GREP styles that apply the formatting for the brackets by detecting a bracket at the beginning of a paragraph and one that will detect a bracket at the end of a paragraph. Also note, that the second bracket is parted from the text with a right aligned tab.


                        But this construct is also showing, that there is no real flexibility with InDesign if you consider a construction like this as part of a text flow. A different text size of the body text could break it, a different width of the text frame will break it and you have to readjust the indents, the baseline shift values as well.



                        1 person found this helpful
                        • 9. Re: Dynamically adjusting text
                          Obi-wan Kenobi Level 5



                          As you said, It's an "ID construction" based on a para style (with a char size), a number of lines (3 here) and 2 char styles.

                          With variants based on the number of lines (~ the chars number), it's relatively cool to insert this kind of constructions in a text flow!


                          Thanks for the explanations! 



                          1 person found this helpful
                          • 10. Re: Dynamically adjusting text
                            Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                            Hi Obi-wan,

                            I'm not sure about Karl's setup of text frames. Maybe he is using his sample not with a paragraph flowing with a larger story.

                            Even if this is the case, would't it be easier to use anchored objects for the brackets and a simple "align center" for the text? The concept that is behind Diane Burns' blog post.


                            If the brackets and the text can stand alone on a page and not flowing with a story I would perhaps go for:


                            Plan B: Work with 3 text frames.

                            *(CS6 and above)


                            Frame 1 and 2 will hold the brackets. Could be text (glyphs you find in your font), anchored images or graphics; that will not matter.

                            Frame 3 is our text frame, that holds the main text and has some special features:

                            a. Text wrap

                            b. Automatic width (optional, but convenient if applied)*


                            Position the right edge of frame 1 to the horizontal center of frame 3.

                            Position the left edge of frame 2 to the horizontal center of frame 3.


                            Make sure that the width of frame 1 and 2 when added is the maximum width you would allow for the brackets surrounding your text.


                            It's more difficult to explain than to show.
                            Download an IDML file from my Dropbox account where I am showing this:

                            Dropbox - BracketsAroundTextFrame-FLEXIBLE.idml


                            And watch a movie where I am working with the 3 text frames (also on my Dropbox account):

                            Dropbox - BracketsAroundTextFrame-FLEXIBLE.mov


                            Here some screenshots from my German InDesign CS6 that are revealing a little bit of this:


                            1. Two text frames holding the brackets, one text frame for the main text:



                            2. No text frame between the two text frames holding the brackets:



                            3. Dragging another text frame with text wrap will part the two brackets:




                            • 11. Re: Dynamically adjusting text
                              Karl B Cartwright Level 1

                              Excellent!  Thank you for that explanation.  I really like this approach, Obi-wan.

                              Unfortunately, the design requires the brackets to be graphic elements.  But if I can convince the designer to change her design...


                              Thanks again!

                              • 12. Re: Dynamically adjusting text
                                Karl B Cartwright Level 1

                                Thank you Laubender


                                This is a great option for me.  It can be set up in the template, and the artists can edit the text as needed.  Changing the text size within the limits we specify and adjust leading if necessary.  In fact, there will probably be just two options for text sizes.  One for a single line item, and one for the two line item.  So we can set up some character styles for them to use for each case...


                                The easiest approach for the single line is the anchored objects.  But to give flexibility, we can set it up this way to accommodate either option... Or, perhaps give the options as separate layers...


                                Thanks again. This been a great discussion and I have learned a lot.

                                • 13. Re: Dynamically adjusting text
                                  Obi-wan Kenobi Level 5

                                  Uwe and Karl, just for fun!


                                  Variable Brackets in InDesign - YouTube



                                  • 14. Re: Dynamically adjusting text
                                    Obi-wan Kenobi Level 5



                                    More time now to answer!


                                    It's truly easy to do it like I show in the video above.


                                    1/ create a [width-height auto-sized] text frame and type what you want:


                                    Capture d’écran 2016-09-14 à 17.37.55.png


                                    To do the brackets, I use 2 tricks:


                                    2/ 4 anchored blocks, placed at each text frame corner but anchored at the beginning of the line:


                                    Capture d’écran 2016-09-14 à 17.38.10.png

                                    Capture d’écran 2016-09-14 à 17.39.44.png


                                    For the first anchored:


                                    Capture d’écran 2016-09-14 à 17.40.26.png


                                    For the others, duplicate the anchor 3 times and play with the 2 checkerboards in the screenshot above and the  (vertical/horizontal)-mirror effect.

                                    Note that the 4 anchors are locked!


                                    3/ The anchored element is a simple stroke with a gradient (!):


                                    Capture d’écran 2016-09-14 à 17.41.58.png



                                    More control on its aspect:


                                    Capture d’écran 2016-09-14 à 17.43.18.png




                                    Capture d’écran 2016-09-14 à 17.45.11.png


                                    4/ The central part of the bracket can be done using 2 ways:

                                    a) using "Paragraph Border" (as here);

                                    b) Applying an effect to the text box [ID basic feature, on the left/right sides].


                                    Capture d’écran 2016-09-14 à 17.45.58.png



                                    No more!


                                    With this simple construction, the box works horizontally and vertically!

                                    We can type text (horizontally) with new lines (vertically)!  Cool!



                                    • 15. Re: Dynamically adjusting text
                                      Obi-wan Kenobi Level 5

                                      Just for fun! [2]


                                      Another construction using 2 auto-resized text frames and … Grep! Just type you text!


                                      Capture d’écran 2016-09-16 à 18.14.15.png

                                      Capture d’écran 2016-09-16 à 18.14.37.png

                                      Capture d’écran 2016-09-16 à 18.23.53.png


                                      Capture d’écran 2016-09-16 à 18.27.31.png


                                      The trigger is a soft-return before "just".

                                      The background color and the shadow? It is to look pretty! 



                                      1 person found this helpful
                                      • 16. Re: Dynamically adjusting text
                                        Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                        Hi Obi-wan,

                                        to trigger another point size with a GREP Style that reacts on a soft return \n is a cool idea.