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U&lc Online Issue: 40.1.2


Tab Leaders

 

by Ilene Strizver

 


FYTI

For Your Typographic
Information


In typography and design, details matter, but getting details just right can be time-consuming. The more you take advantage of the “bells and whistles” of your design application, the more time you can save. Here’s a great example: Learn how to use your software application’s Tab Leader feature and you’ll never dread laying out a table of contents again!.

Tab leaders are the repeated dots or other characters that lead from the end of the text in your first column to the beginning of the text in the second column. Today’s design software is quite robust, yet its ability to automatically generate tab leaders often goes unnoticed. Not only is it easier to let the software do it, but it can be thrilling to see all the leader characters appear in an instant! Here’s how:

Adobe InDesign
InDesign lets you use any character or short sequence of characters (up to eight) to create your own custom tab leader.

  1. Enter the text. Use tabs (not the space bar) to separate the columns. Use soft returns (not paragraph breaks) to make line breaks. Place the cursor between the two columns.
  2. Go to Type / Tabs to open the Tabs palette.
  3. Select your tab alignment (left, center, right or decimal) and desired column width on the tab ruler, or enter a value manually in the X field.
  4. Type up to eight characters (including spaces) in the Leader field, in whichever combination you choose.
  5. Hit Return or Enter.

QuarkXPress
QuarkXPress lets you use any character or pair of characters as a leader.

  1. Enter the text. Use tabs (not the space bar) to separate the columns. Use soft returns (not paragraph breaks) to make line breaks. Place the cursor between the two columns.
  2. Go to Style / Tabs, which opens Tabs in the Paragraph Attributes dialog box.
  3. Select your tab alignment (left, center, right, decimal, comma or “align on”) and location (in the Position field).
  4. Type up to two characters (including a space) in the Fill Characters field.
  5. Hit Apply and OK.

Microsoft Word
Microsoft Word can use either dots, dashes or solid lines as leaders.

  1. Enter the text. Use tabs (not the space bar) to separate the columns. Use soft returns (not paragraph breaks) to make line breaks. Place the cursor between the two columns.
  2. Go to Format / Tab, and then to the Tabs palette.
  3. Set your Tab stop positions, Alignment and Leader character (either dots, dashes or solid lines.)
  4. Hit Set and OK.

NOTE: To preserve tab leaders when importing text from Word into a design program, don't “cut and paste.” In InDesign, get text using File / Place, then go to Show Import Options, then select Preserve Styles and Formatting from the Options dialog box. In QuarkXPress, use the Get Text command.



Editor’s Note: Ilene Strizver, founder of The Type Studio, is a typographic consultant, designer and writer specializing in all aspects of typographic communication. Read more about typography in her latest literary effort, Type Rules!, published by North Light Books. This article was commissioned and approved by Monotype Imaging Inc.

  

 


FYTI - Tab Leaders

 


COLO-WEB-06