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Precise text justification in Affinity Publisher


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  • 1 month later...

Over on the very long footnotes thread, we got a little sidetracked when we got to discussing word processors versus layout apps, of which the main element of our discussion focused on justification quality. Finally, it was proposed to move that discussion on justification elsewhere, and as this existing thread already focuses on the very question, I have suggested continuing in this thread.

For historical reference, the discussion on the other thread where we began this off-topic discussion starts with this post and continues onto the next page (along with the usual influx of new users adding “must have footnotes” mixed in):

So, continuing the discussion here…

For anyone who is even a little interested in justification quality, I would like to recommend this very fine article (probably many of you already read it when the current site existed as Indesign Secrets):

https://creativepro.com/abcs-hj/

It is an excellent overview of how to get good results of justification, going beyond what the average word processor can do. This article has value for the present discussion in two regards. First, until you get near the end of the first page, just about everything it says are principles that can be applied in Publisher in its existing form, so you get an immediate win there. Secondly, starting with the image of the yellow highlighting, three additional features are briefly mentioned that help with still better justification results that are not in available in Publisher (all of which have been discussed at different times on this forum, including some in this thread):

  • H&J Violations highlighting
  • Glyph scaling
  • Paragraph (multiline) composer

As this is a feature request thread, I think it is good to point out both what is good about Publisher and what else can be done to take it further. Any one of these three features would be welcome toward the end goal of better justification. A multiline composer is my favorite, but until that comes, I think I would most appreciate H&J violations highlighting to help make manual adjustments go faster. Perhaps that is easier to implement?

[Side rant: The formatting of the article I just recommended is terrible for a site promoting good layout. If I had to guess, I would suppose it happened this way when the rather old article was brought over to the new website design. The entire article is encoded as a single paragraph (<p>), so there is no way to delineate paragraphs with either spacing or text indents. Edit: I contacted the website about this, and I got a kind response explaining it is the result of a migration and combining two different sites into one. There are many older posts (this one from 2009) that suffer from this problem, and they require being fixed individually. But they did fix this one up for us.]

Edited by garrettm30
Update on my side rant
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In the first paragraph, they are fairly well identical until the fourth line, where Publisher broke to a new line before the others. I don't know why, but every layout engine will have different internal calculations, so even with what seems to be identical settings, I would not necessarily expect identical flow. Of the three specimens, the only "bad" line is that fourth in Publisher, as it appears too loose compared to the other two. I would want to fix it, and in so doing, I would also hope to avoid the single word on the last line of the first paragraph that bothers me, but that is probably just being obsessive.

The second paragraph is different in all three. It is interesting to see how they each made a different choice on hyphenation at the third line of the second paragraph. However, I think all three struck a fair balance in each their own way on the second paragraph. That is just my opinion.

Now for the text as a whole. Publisher is the only one in this example where I would want to manually override the default layout. The other two are good enough as is. Of the other two, Quark looks a little over tight (but that could just be differences in onscreen rendering between the apps), but it achieved a better overall balance in this example. I think the InDesign example is not as tight, but not uniformly so. When I scrutinize, a few lines jump out at me as being tighter than the surrounding lines.

It is also worth noting the commas. The last paragraph has 3 in Publisher, 2 in InDesign, and 1 in Quark.

I'll admit one thing about Publisher, I have been paying a lot more attention to these things now that I have to do it manually. It has been a good learning experience.

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4 minutes ago, garrettm30 said:

I don't know why

Perhaps it's just me, but Minimum Letter Spacing in Publisher does. Not. Work.
All it does is to allow negative values in Desired Letter Spacing.

That's the major difference to both ID (CS5.5 here) & QXP (v2015 here).

MacBookAir 15": MacOS Ventura > Affinity v1, v2, v2 beta // MacBookPro 15" mid-2012: MacOS El Capitan > Affinity v1 / MacOS Catalina > Affinity v1, v2, v2 beta // iPad 8th: iPadOS 16 > Affinity v2

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10 minutes ago, loukash said:

Perhaps it's just me, but Minimum Letter Spacing in Publisher does. Not. Work.
All it does is to allow negative values in Desired Letter Spacing.

I'm not sure I follow, and I would like to know more, because it seems you are bringing up an interesting point. Would you care to explain or demonstrate, perhaps with a screenshot or an example document? What do you mean that it does not work even though it allows negative values? I am confused, because I thought that was the point of the minimum letter spacing.

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6 minutes ago, garrettm30 said:

I'm not sure I follow, and I would like to know more, because it seems you are bringing up an interesting point. Would you care to explain or demonstrate, perhaps with a screenshot or an example document?

No, actually, I see what you mean. I just opened a finished document and dropped the minimum spacing on the whole body text to a crazy low value, and it made absolutely no change in text flow at all. That looks like a bug indeed. Unless I have misunderstood the point of that setting, then I think a post in the bug forum is in order.

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On 4/2/2021 at 9:40 PM, garrettm30 said:

I see what you mean

So, for the record:

 

vs:

 

Edited by loukash
replaced *.mov with *.mp4

MacBookAir 15": MacOS Ventura > Affinity v1, v2, v2 beta // MacBookPro 15" mid-2012: MacOS El Capitan > Affinity v1 / MacOS Catalina > Affinity v1, v2, v2 beta // iPad 8th: iPadOS 16 > Affinity v2

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  • 2 weeks later...
16 minutes ago, Maaja said:

Go easy on me

Well, welcome then :)

You may want to post in this forum as a separate thread:

forum.affinity.serif.com/index.php?/forum/5-affinity-on-desktop-questions-mac-and-windows

rather than here in the Feedback forum, buried in a somewhat related but not necessarily on-your-topic thread.

MacBookAir 15": MacOS Ventura > Affinity v1, v2, v2 beta // MacBookPro 15" mid-2012: MacOS El Capitan > Affinity v1 / MacOS Catalina > Affinity v1, v2, v2 beta // iPad 8th: iPadOS 16 > Affinity v2

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  • 1 year later...
On 12/12/2019 at 8:32 AM, Seneca said:

This feature was discussed at length here in this forum. Just search for this term.

It's not a must because not all competing programs have it, QuarkXPress is one of them.

On the other hand a lot of people would cringe at the fact that people distort glyphs (scale them ) to achieve as you call it precise justification. 

"it's not a must because not all competing programs have it"?

some bug sprays cause cancer.  why should we bother making one which doesn't?    some children's toys poke out kid's eyes.  now ours can, too!  and some cars have crappy brakes.  why should we make good brakes on our vehicles?  etc...

also, maybe serif shouldn't use second-rate software as the high bar.  mediocrity is easy.  excellence is hard. 

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  • 9 months later...

EDIT: The examples in this post were all wrong. Removed to avoid confusion.

I noticed this thread again, and wanted to check again the spacing between InDesign CS6 and Publisher 2.3ß. The former on the left, the latter on the right. Paragraph composer in InDesign; the default spacing in Publisher.

 

Here, Publisher has minimum/maximum letter spacing of -2% and +2%.

 

And now, Publisher with minimum/maximum letter spacing of -6% and 0%.

 

Here, I reset all paragraph parameters to default, in Publisher, and set tracking to -6%:

 

 

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4 hours ago, PaoloT said:

I noticed this thread again, and wanted to check again the spacing between InDesign CS6 and Publisher 2.3ß. The former on the left, the latter on the right. Paragraph composer in InDesign; the default spacing in Publisher.

 

Not to negate the request for some sort of multiline composer (which has been a long-time desire of mine for Publisher), but in the interest of being accurate, it seems you do not have hyphenation configured to allow hyphens in Publisher, whereas I see multiple hyphens in the InDesign specimens. Notice that the worst lines in the Publisher examples are followed by very long words. Allowing hyphens would greatly improve the results you get in Publisher.

It might also be interesting to turn off hyphens in InDesign and see how it compares to Publisher without hyphens. In theory InDesign ought to do better than Publisher on average in such a case, especially with such long lines to work with.

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1 hour ago, garrettm30 said:

it seems you do not have hyphenation configured to allow hyphens in Publisher

Good catch. I had the spelling language set in the Character pane, but auto-hyphenation off in the Paragraph one. The result is indeed a lot different. This is with the default paragraph spacing values, tracking set at -15%, hyphenation and optical alignment turned on (again, ID on the left and AfPub on the right). I'm also attaching the file.

The result in AfPub looks of excellent quality. Rivers are nearly non-existant.

image.thumb.png.14201d07d1123e1df281de0e21bac36b.png

 

Paolo

paragraph and line formatting.afpub.zip

 

 

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  • 4 months later...

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