All posts by James

About James

Graphic designer based in Phoenix, Arizona | Owner/Author of TheGraphicMac.com | Husband | Daddy | Mac Geek

Aligning punctuation in Numbered Lists in Adobe InDesign

I come across files all the time where the designer used multiple blank spaces, or even separate text boxes to align the period after the numbers in a numbered list in their InDesign document. It’s a royal pain in the ass to fix, and it actually is a lot more difficult to do than just doing it the proper way to begin with.

InDesign numbered lists

To align the punctuation in numbered lists, the first thing you do is NOT type numbers. Simply select the items in your list and click the Numbered List icon in the Control Bar (see image above). This will add the numbers for you.

To align the punctuation, Option + Click the same Numbered List icon in the Control Bar and adjust the Alignment of your list to Right Justified.

InDesign numbered list alignment

Next, click the Preview checkbox in the lower left corner of the dialog box so you can see your adjustments updated live, and adjust the Left Indent amount until there is a sufficient amount of space after the numbers and before the text of the list.

Finally, adjust the First Line Indent amount by a negative number until your satisfied with the look of the list. The amounts in the screenshot above is what I used to achieve the fixed list on the right.

The beauty of doing it this way is that you can go back later and make adjustments to all your lists at once, no hitting the space bar multiple times, no setting multiple tabs, no hassle!

Sparkle beta for simple web design

Build a website with Sparkle that feels native on mobile phones and tablets, as well as desktops and laptops. Sparkle gives you fine-grain control over the layout of every device you choose.

Sparkle beta

Sparkle is an open Beta, and it looks fantastic! Grab it here.

New color picker for web designers and developers

Skala Color plug-in
If you’re a web designer, you’re no doubt a bit frustrated with OS X’s built-in color picker. Skala Color aims to improve it with a plug-in that enhances the standard color picker by adding a few handy features.

Skala Color works by adding a tab to the color picker. It works in much the same way – you adjust the brightness and saturation by dragging the color sample circle around. You can also adjust the hue, on the fly, by dragging the outer edge of the circle around. As you adjust the color, a larger sample bar appears allowing you to really target the exact hue you’re looking for.
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Improve text appearance with Photoshop’s anti-aliasing

One of the most important things you can do to improve the look of your text in Photoshop is adjust the anti-aliasing of the text based on the size the text will be displayed at.

Photoshop text anti-alias
Text anti-aliasing can be found in Photoshop’s Control Bar (usually located at the top of the screen) when you have the text tool selected. You’ll find it just to the right of the point size entry box, as seen in the screenshot above. You can adjust the anti-aliasing by selecting the options in the drop-down menu.

There are four anti-aliasing options, Smooth, Strong, Crisp and Sharp. Which one you use depends on the size of your text.

Photoshop anti-aliased text sample
As you can see in the image above, larger text sizes look better with Smooth or Strong. Smaller text sizes tend to look better with Crisp and Sharp – with tiny text on a website almost always looking best using the Sharp setting. The image doesn’t really show the difference in smaller text as well as I would like, but if you adjust the settings in your own document, you’ll surely see the difference.