Tutorial: Exploring OpenType features in InDesign

Tuesday 1 December 2020
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when using OpenType fonts having extended Glyph sets
(e.g. Minion Pro)

First create a new file.

  1. Type in some text including some numbers and words like "first" and "office".  For the purposes of this tutorial type "Our first office was at 408 Main Road" as this gives a good range of characters.
    Zoom in so you can see your changes easily.
  2. Go to Paragraph Styles – [F11] toggles this on and off – and you'll see that Paragraph Style 1 is selected.
  3. Double-click [Basic Paragraph] and tick the Preview box.
    If necessary, move the Paragraph Style Options box so you can see what changes happen to your text.
  4. In Basic Character Formats choose "Minion Pro"; this should have been installed along with InDesign.
  5. Tick and untick Ligatures
  6. Go to OpenType Features – select Figure Style: Proportional OldStyle; then tick and untick Fractions.
  7. Try the other options too: discretionary ligatures are quite nice in titling, but perhaps not for body text.
  8. When you're happy with how the text looks, go back to General, and give the Style a meaningful name, then click OK.

The paragraph style is now set.

Nested styles

  1. Click on Character Style [Shift-F11]. and click on the icon next to the Trash Can at the bottom of that window; the Character Style Options box will open. Give the new style the name "OpenType all small caps".
  2. Go to Basic Character Format, and choose Case: OpenType all small caps.
    Click OK.
  3. Click on the Paragraph Style tab and double-click the paragraph you previously gave a new name (formerly "Paragraph Style 1").
  4. If necessary, move the Paragraph Style Options box so you can see what changes happen to your text.
  5. Click Drop Caps and Nested Styles. Ignore Drop Caps for now.
  6. Click on "New Nested Style", choose "OpenType all small caps" and change 1 word to 3 words. See how it looks. This will make the first three words of each paragraph appear in small caps.
  7. If you like it, OK it.

That's it!

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