I am working on a project at the moment where there are a few spreads with names and then a bunch that are referred to by numbers. None of these actually co-relate to the printed page. This means I can’t just scroll to spread 5 when my client is referring to spread 5. To remind myself about which spread is being referred to I have simply placed a “note to self” box in the margin with the spread number. Simple and easy.
More and more on the Internet the em-dash (—) is disappearing. This is probably because of a few reasons.
- Lack of knowledge of when to use them
- How difficult it is to actually add one
- Webpages not automatically turning “- -” into an em-dash like Microsoft Word auto-correct
- How hard they are to find in other software packages
- Laziness and/or ignorance
In order to add the em-dash to this post I Google-searched “em-dash” and copied and pasted it. Easy. I have a shortcut on my Wacom Tablet that works with InDesign to put the em-dash in—instead of avoiding the long maze through the menu.
InDesign menu to find an em-dash
When I started to notice the rise in “- -” formatting on the Internet I was a little sad because the formatting is wrong. Then I realised that it has shown up in more and more places on the Internet and was now approaching critical mass. I have seen this misuse on blogs about writing blogs.
The “- -” has not only taken over the Internet. I’ve seen it in printed brochures and *gasp* a printed book.
Since it was little effort to place the actual em-dash, and as a typesetter I do this regularly, I do get upset seeing this wrong formatting. I understand it takes a moment and breaks your flow but before publishing, it is always wise to edit and proof your work and this is where a find and replace will pick up this mistake. And yes, it is a mistake.
The “- -” symbol actually does mean something. It is a “decrement operator“.
Remember, there are no spaces on either side of an em-dash. For more advice about proper em-dash usage see Grammar Girl’s article: When to Use—and Not Use—an Em-Dash.
NB: WordPress automatically converts the double hyphen to an em-dash so I have intentionally placed a space between the two while formatting this page.
InDesign has a quick and easy way to convert any shape, with all of its settings, into any other shape.
Something that has caused me to grunt in frustration for years is going to relink files in InDesign and it decides I want to find my link in the last folder I was ever in which always a different folder to the one I want. Frustrating.
I have found the setting inside preferences to change this so it defaults to looking in the folder that the original link is stored. Time saver!
Edit > Preferences > File Handling > Default Relink Folder
Change this to be the original folder and save yourself time and frustration.
When using a Wacom tablet in my Windows machine, Windows decided to add a few annoying and not wanted features.
- A hovering pop-up to hand-write whenever a text cursor is shown.
- Long pressing the pen made a strange “freeze computer while showing a blue circle” thing.
To remove these annoying anti-features:
Control Panel > Pens and Touch
Start Tablet PC Input Panel: This is what is causing the annoying pop up asking to enter hand written information. Turn it off.
Press and Hold: This is what is causing the freezing and blue circle. Apparently that is just the computer doing a right click.