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I am a little confused by the paragraph spacing options and the use cases for some of them. For reference, I am coming to Affinity as an ex-InDesign user.

'Space before' and 'Space after' are self evident.

The 'Use space before' options threw me a bit, but I got the hang of it with some experimentation. 

The 'Sum space before and after' check box totally throws me - what's the use case for NOT checking this?

The 'Ignore before and after space for same styles' check box seems straight forward, but somewhat incomplete, since checking this obviates any space between paragraphs of the same style.

Further, there are functionality overlaps, where certain combinations of selections don't produce unique results. The intuition here is not obvious to me - perhaps someone can give me a clear explanation of how paragraph spacing is supposed to be used here.

To me the clear set up would be: 

  • Space before
  • Space after
  • Space between same style

I don't get the use case for having a 'space before' at the top of a column - I would assume the system would automatically ignore it - but you could have a check box to 'ignore column top' and just leave it unchecked.

And that's it -- so simple - what am I not appreciating about the current implementation?

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Several of the things you bring up are among the points where Publisher has the upper hand as compared to InDesign. First, the behaviors you are used to are all still available with the right setting. Maybe I can try to explain why a person might want to use some of the settings that don’t seem helpful to you, but in the end, if they are still not helpful to you, then you don’t have to use them of course. That is why they are settings and not just automatic behavior.

10 hours ago, deft hands said:

The 'Sum space before and after' check box totally throws me - what’s the use case for NOT checking this?

It is hard to explain (for me), but let me see if I can invent some kind of scenario to illustrate. Let’s say that you aways want 6 pt of space after each body paragraph, but only 3 pt of space after each numbered list item. Now you want a Heading 1 style with 12 pt of space before it. If the spaces are summed, then the resulting total gap of space above the heading will be different depending on whether it follows the body paragraph or the numbered list style. However, if you turn off the summing of space on the Heading 1 style, then you can put in 12 pt and be guaranteed to get 12 pt.

11 hours ago, deft hands said:

I don’t get the use case for having a 'space before' at the top of a column

Here is a simple example: consider that you have a paragraph style for the title of a new chapter, and you want the chapter title to start lower than the top of the page. In old days, you might have to have a different master page where the text frame starts at a different place. With the ability to allow space before even at the top of the column, you can take care of it just with the style definition.

Really, it is a different way of thinking about measurements, which may or may not be helpful to your way of thinking. (Incidentally, this is the default behavior of spacing when designing webpages, called margin collapsing). Generally, I recommend you just keep in mind that these options are available, and you might find an occasion where it will be helpful. Until then, you can just use the settings that do work for you.

11 hours ago, deft hands said:

The “Ignore before and after space for same styles” check box seems straight forward, but somewhat incomplete, since checking this obviates any space between paragraphs of the same style.

I agree that this could be room for improvement. One option would be to separate before and after space for the same style to separate checkboxes (ex: “Ignore before space for same styles”). Another option would be instead to have a dedicated input for spacing between paragraphs of the same style, since that is really what we are trying to accomplish. For example, this layout construct:

Body paragraph text

  • Bullet point
  • Bullet point
  • Bullet point

Some more body paragraph text.

What I ultimately want to control is spacing before and after the group of bullets as well as spacing between.

 

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@garrettm30, that's a super-helpful response - thanks for the time and effort, much appreciated!

'Sum space...': I get it now - and it's actually super-clever. It just requires a slightly different way of thinking. A bit of a shame the Affinity video didn't explain it more fully - since I'm not smart enough to grasp it myself.

'Only at column top': good point! I always used frame positioning on a master to take care of it - again, a different approach and I'm too slow to grasp.

'Ignore before and...': looks like we agree on the desire for explicit spacing between paragraphs of the same style.

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