Hard re-set

19 Mar

You see what we have to put up with?

This story’s set very densely, so all I wanted to do was split one paragraph (highlighted) to create a bit of air and improve the column breaks later on. But as soon as I did that, Adobe Paragraph Composer, of its own accord, generated an extra line in the next paragraph. In the next paragraph! Not only that, but it did it just by turning a single word.

What’s going on? Adobe says:

When you use the Paragraph Composer, InDesign composes a line while considering the impact on the other lines in the paragraph, to set the best overall arrangement of the paragraph. As you change type in a given line, previous and subsequent lines in the same paragraph may break differently, making the overall paragraph appear more evenly spaced.

Right: but that’s in the same paragraph. All that happened to the subsequent paragraph is that it moved a line further down the column. And yet it automatically recomposed itself? Why?

There’s some grumbling about Paragraph Composer at the Tribune because of its occasional habit of making a par one line longer, rather than shorter, when you cut a word out of it. But I’ve never seen it do this. It’s almost as though there were a phantom Article Composer controlling the overall density of the piece based on the user’s cues. But if there is, it’s not a documented feature. And really, life’s busy enough without your editing software making the stories longer too.

4 Responses to “Hard re-set”

  1. Picky March 19, 2019 at 12:32 pm #

    … and when it recomposed itself, it decided not to fit “supermarket” in full into the line, but instead to introduce the unpleasant supermar-ket split. Golly!

  2. Ben Thomas March 20, 2019 at 1:29 am #

    When a par gets to the point where it takes up half a leg, paragraph composer recognises the piece is getting dense and reduces its instinct to avoid widows by kerning and tracking.
    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it (unless someone even sadder than me tests it or looks at the code).

    • edlatham March 20, 2019 at 8:52 am #

      That sounds quite likely, but then why would it change its mind about a subsequent paragraph too, that hasn’t been modified? I feel sure there’s a phantom Article Composer taking a holistic view in the background!

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