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Q. When starting a paragraph with a quotation, should the opening quotation marks sit outside the text so that it doesn’t appear to be indented? Or can the opening quotation marks align with the line below?
A. While it’s not technically incorrect for quotation marks at the beginning of a paragraph, opening sentence, or any occurrence to align with the copy below it, it does create a visual hole that makes the line appear to be indented. A more typographically sophisticated solution is to hang the quotes into the margin to create a cleaner margin alignment. This is historically called hanging punctuation, or “hung punc” in the days of speccing type for a type shop.
When quotes at the beginning of a line of text are aligned with the text below it (upper example), that line can appear to be indented. Hanging the quotes into the margin (lower example) will create a more visually aligned margin. Excerpt from A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens.
Adobe’s Optical Margin Alignment, available in InDesign and Illustrator, will hang punctuation and other characters that don’t align visually. You reach it through Type > Story in InDesign and Type > Optical Margin Alignment in Illustrator.
InDesign’s Optical Margin Alignment can be accessed in the Story palette, which is located under Type in the main menu.
QuarkXPress 8 has Hanging Punctuation and Punctuation Margin Alignment features. To access them, select the text or text box, then go to Style > Formats > Hanging Punctuation (complete punctuation hanging), or Punctuation Margin Alignment (modified punctuation hanging).
QuarkXPress 8’s Hanging Punctuation and Punctuation Margin Alignment features can be accessed by going to Style > Formats.
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