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Drop Caps always seems to always want to drop a letter rather than just the first character

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Windows 10 Home 1809, Publisher

I've noticed that the Drop Caps feature always seems to want to 'drop' a letter regardless of what the first character in the paragraph is.
For example, in the attached image:
1) Drop cap with letter as first character is as expected;
2) 'D' has been replaced with '>' and both the '>' and 'r' are dropped;
3) Keep adding more non-letter-characters and the problem persists;
4) This is what I think it should do.

I've tried clicking round the glyph browser adding different characters and sometimes it drops just the first character and sometimes it drops more.
It seems like Publisher has its own opinion on what a 'letter' is and, therefore, what can be dropped.

Is the feature working as expected or is this a bug? (If it is working as expected, can anyone explain (A) why I can't use non-letters as drop-'caps', or (B) how I can do what I want?)
I have a clunky work-around - as seen in figure 4 - but I'd rather not have to use it if possible.

This post seems to be on a related note but from a different direction: https://forum.affinity.serif.com/index.php?/topic/74084-drop-caps-feature-suggestion/

drop caps with not letters.png

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1 hour ago, GarryP said:

why I can't use non-letters as drop-'caps',

Perhaps because only letters have capital forms?

In books that I've seen the function is usually only a letter, or perhaps a letter and one punctuation mark. For punctuation marks it's usually the opening mark of a pair (quote marks, for example).

-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 1909 (183623.476), 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00Gz, GeForce GTX 970
Affinity Photo and Beta   / Affinity Designer and Beta  / Affinity Publisher and Beta

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I understand that only letters have capital forms but Publisher is happy to drop-cap a lower-case letter so why not other characters also?
The result might not look nice sometimes but that's no different to the situation you'd have if you used a particularly fancy font.
If there's a good reason why it can't do what I want then that's fair enough, but I'd be curious to know why.
There's also a good chance I'm not doing this right and someone can point me in the right direction.

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Like @walt.farrell I thing it's perhaps to have quotation marks dropped, avoiding the usual trick to set "2 characters" instead of one as drop caps.

It would be usefull in french when we use "« A" (more often "“S", since "« " with space isn't aesthetic, and the trend is to keep "“" or "«" instead of deleting them before a drop cap).

But with this, we can't use anymore whaterver character we want: "1.", "2.", etc. can't be dropped, as we do sometimes.

How did you manage in 4th example?

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The 4th example was done manually.

I know of two ways to create manual drop-caps but they are both horrible work-arounds.

The first involves creating a separate artistic text layer containing the first letter of the paragraph, placing it at the start of the original text frame, and using the text flow function to move the rest of the paragraph text out of the way. Putting the two layers together in a group makes it a bit easier to move them around together but there are various problems with this, such as the first word will probably show as a spelling mistake (it's now missing its first letter), and if the text re-flows - because of format changes, or whatever - you will probably need to manually re-position the first letter, especially on paragraphs after the first one.

The second is way more awful and involves making various weird changes to font size, indents, and baseline adjustments over multiple text frames. This method is really nasty and I would not recommend anyone using it; it's just there as an example of what is possible, not of what to do.

I've attached a quick mock-up where you can see both methods being used (first method on the left).

Personally I would use the first method - if absolutely necessary - but it's not something I would be happy with in any work that was not trivial.

nasty manual drop-cap methods.afpub

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Thanks, we also use the first example when we need special effect (white drop cap on a coloured background, for example), it's easier than playing with underline/hightlight on different cap's width/height, and not a problem on magazines since there's few reflow.

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