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Chris Schnell
Head of Program Higher Education Art and Design

Hard versus Soft Returns

Any feedback on how you teach the difference between hard and soft returns in Adobe InDesign?

Do you focus on teaching the difference when introducing Paragraph styles or before?

Any feedback....

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Lukas Engqvist

Posted on 11/17/15 8:47:35 PM Permalink

Yes definitely. Students get to redo till they get it right! (you need to get using the hidden characters or the story editor… cmd-Y as in "Why does it look like this?")

Hard returns mean a new paragraph. Advanced text searches or automatically finding first body will not work, paragraph rules, space before and space after will not work as expected if you cheat on this. I don't allow ghost paragraphs (an extra return between paragraphs)… Remember ghosts always come back to haunt you!

Marking stuff now where a magazine cover has lotts of titles and by turning text into numbered or bulleted list you quickly see where the paragraphs are wrong.

Nested styles also reset at a Paragraph return.

A soft return is the same as a forced line break. Anything forced is only a last resort. In a title first try turning off hyphenation and balancing ragged lines… if that doesn't work, fine use a forced line break. Forced lines are tricky in longer texts and should only be done from beginning to end when all text is proofed or it can really mess up justification (a sure sign is vertical rivers in the text).

Don't know if this will be of help but here are two videos I made on cleaning Raw text from the (pride and prejudice) gutenberg.org I hope that it will be apparent both the difference and why it is important Importing raw text (duration 06:51), and Cleaning up a novel with GREP (duration 18:27) (I hope to make a followup with running headers and other fun book stuff)

I do this text cleanup quite early, as I find many design students avoid working with text, and it shows them why text structure is important (and everyone loves the find change that does the hard work for you) In this context hard (end of paragraph) and soft (forced line break) returns. Also a must need to know is difference between return and enter (column break in indesign)

Feel free to use these as a resource. Most of the stuff I record I record in Swedish, but for the AEE I do an occasional recording in english :)