Graphic Design / Interactive Design / Fine & Applied Arts / Parkland College

Graphic Design Exercises
InDesign: Text Type


To learn how to enhance readability in text type. To study the texture and color differences between various typefaces. To learn InDesign's professional typesetting tools by example.

Also see:


prepping for the exercise

  1. download starter file; open in InDesign
  2. practice Adobe navigation keyboard shortcuts: space=hand; space+cmd=zoom in; space+cmd+opt=zoom out; cmd+zero=fit in window
  3. practice InDesign preview shortcuts: cmd+opt+I (show/hide hidden characters); W (normal/preview mode)
  4. go to master page: type your name and exercise number at the top of the file; return to page 1
  5. select tool: cmd+shift+CLICK text frame to unlink from master page

page 1: making paragraph breaks

  1. view > actual size (cmd+1)
  2. note font, size and leading (cmd+shift+click on text frame)
  3. select all the text (cmd+A)
  4. compare paragraph space before = 12pt, 9pt, 6pt (cmd+T)
  5. compare first line indent = 2p, 1p6, 1p, 0p9
  6. remove paragraph space

page 2: change column width

  1. duplicate page 1 to make page 2 (window > pages: drag page 1 icon on top of new page icon)
  2. view 150%
  3. note the current width of the frame; read the copy
  4. change the width by subtracting one inch (6 picas) at a time; read the copy
  5. continue to change the width until there are only 7 words (average) per line (this is optimum line length)
  6. select all the text (cmd-A); make justified (is this an improvement?); return to flush left
  7. record new width at bottom of page

page 3: change the leading

  1. duplicate page 2 to make page 3
  2. view 150%
  3. make text frame width 18p
  4. select all the text; change the leading to: 10pt, 11pt, 13pt, 14pt, 16pt, 18pt (which is easier to read?)
  5. with the leading at 18pt, make the frame wider (how wide can you make it without inhibiting readability?)
  6. adjust the indent
  7. record new width and leading at bottom of page

page 4: change the font

  1. insert new page; go to page 4
  2. view 150%
  3. object > text frame options: columns = 2
  4. select all text, add indent
  5. change each paragraph to a different font:
    • Adobe Garamond
    • Century
    • Bodoni
    • Helvetica
  6. record font name as first word of each paragraph; make one word in each paragraph italic
  7. examine type size and readability of each paragraph
  8. record new width and leading at bottom of page

making PDFs

  1. file > adobe PDF presets > smallest file size: "text type-small.pdf"
  2. file > adobe PDF presets > high quality print: "text type-high.pdf"
  3. file > adobe PDF presets > press quality: "text type-press.pdf"
  4. file > package


  1. print all 4 pages
  2. submit b&w proofs with your name and exercise number on it for grading
  3. file your graded proof in your Process Book for individual review

Last updated: 3/2/17 ■ Webmaster: Paul Young