InDesign Secrets: Decoding hidden characters

Published by | Thursday, November 17th, 2011

In this week’s free InDesign Secrets movie, Anne-Marie Concepcion translates mysterious hidden characters that you often see lurking behind your text in InDesign. If you have a document of your own with any significant amount of formatted text, you can probably spot some of these elusive symbols yourself by choosing Type > Show Hidden Characters. When you do, you’re bound to spot one of these examples:

InDesign hidden non-printable characters

Although one might be tempted to think they contain messages in a cryptic language spoken only by angry aliens, they are actually non-printing characters that are used to indicate various types of spaces, hyphenation settings, comments, and other InDesign features. It’s useful to know what they mean when you run into them. For instance, you wouldn’t want to erase an index entry-marker by accident. (A good indexer is more powerful than an angry alien.) Anne-Marie explains the more common characters in this week’s free field guide to special characters video, and in the InDesign Secrets exercise files section she also provides this free Special InDesign Characters guide which charts many more of them. You may have started the week only knowing a dot indicated a space and the paragraph mark was called a pilcrow, but now you’ve got the InDesign Secrets Official Decoder Ring to clarify many additional mystery symbols.

Meanwhile, Anne-Marie’s partner in InDesign Secrecy, David Blatner, has an exclusive movie in the InDesign Secrets course for members of the Online Training Library®. This week David shows you how to trash and restore your Preference settings, which can come in handy when InDesign is acting oddly.

See you back here in two weeks with more InDesign Secrets.

Interested in more?
• All the InDesign Secrets in the Online Training Library®
• Courses by Anne-Marie Concepcion in the Online Training Library®
• Courses by David Blatner in the Online Training Library®
• All courses on InDesign in the Online Training Library®

Suggested courses to watch next:
InDesign CS5 Essential Training
InDesign CS5 New Features
InDesign FX series

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