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Tip of the Week: De-Runt Your Paragraphs With a GREP Style

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This InDesign tip was sent to Tip of the Week email subscribers on June 20, 2019.

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Although you can control quite a few widow and orphan settings with InDesign’s Keep Option settings, one problem remains: a too-short last line (sometimes called a “runt”). Let’s assume you have a style rule that states the last line of a paragraph must contain at least 10 characters. The following GREP Style trick helps you follow that style.

1. Start by creating a Character Style called “no break” that only has the No Break option enabled.

2. Next, add a new GREP Style to your paragraph style, set the Apply Style pop-up menu to the “no break” character style you created earlier, then enter the following regular expression in the To Text field:
.{10}$ (That’s a dot-curly-ten-curly-dollar sign.)

Now any 10 last characters of the paragraph will never be broken.

Editor in Chief of CreativePro and InDesign Magazine. Instructor at LinkedIn Learning with courses on InDesign, Illustrator, GIMP, Inkscape, and Affinity Publisher.
  • Gert Verrept says:

    FYI, this slows down ID (cc2019, win 10) when having a lot of pages with not that big paragraphs.

  • d f says:

    Hi Mike,
    Thanks for the tip. I am facing a big problem though:
    In applying this GREP style I am getting very weird font behaviour.
    As I type in a text box, no matter the font, the characters shrink ever so slightly, starting 10 characters back from the current character being typed.
    Here is a gif showing what I mean:

    This happens with various fonts using this paragraph style, and does not happen using the basic paragraph style or in other documents.

    If I take out the GREP style, the problem goes away. If I change the 10 to 5, for example, the shrinkage of letters begins 5 characters instead of 10 behind the last character. Why is this behaviour happening?
    Thanks for any help

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