QuickFix: Line Breaks and Paragraph Breaks in InDesign

Category: Techwriter
 
Line Breaks (Shift+Return) and paragraph breaks (Return/Enter) are both types of carriage returns.  They are, however, handled differently in varying environments and each serves a different purpose.  Web designers, for instance, discourage the use of Shift+Enter when writing and laying out text and web objects.  It generally makes for awkward and inconsistent code.  In Microsoft Word, some users may find them indistinguishable unless the hidden markup characters are displayed. 
 
Microsoft Word Line break and Paragraph break markups
 
 
Adobe InDesign's powerful typesetting tools and features are more than enough to prevent users from using a Line Break,a method typically used to avoid large gaps between lines.  In the illustration below, the first line is cut off using a forced line break in an Adobe InDesign CS4 document.
 
InDesign marks the break on the first line  while the pilcrow (paragraph symbol) is shown on the next line 
 
 
Some users use the line break because a carriage return places too much space between lines
 
 
Veteran InDesign users would avoid using the line break altogether, using kerning, hyphenation, space before, and space after tools in the Paragraph palette.  Discarding the use of the line break in InDesign ensures that the next writer or editor would not need to re-adjust the original layout.  Moreover, it provides more control over the overall look of the document.     
 
The writer replaces the line break with an appropriate carriage return and adjusts the space after to achieve a better layout
 
 
 
This is one of the many reasons why having Hidden Characters visible is so important for designers, writers, and proofreaders when they are working.

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