Monday, April 02, 2007

The InDesign text-scaling snafu

If you have ever encountered the dreaded parentheses-in-the-font-size-field problem in InDesign CS/CS2, you know how maddening this can be. This is where the font size field in the Control or Character palette displays something like "20 pt(11)". InDesign then refuses to allow you to enter a new exact type size in the field.

In CS2, here's how to avoid and fix the problem:

1. To avoid the parentheses-in-the-font-size-field problem, don't group your objects before you scale them. You can still scale multiple objects together without grouping them by either:

a. Command/Ctrl-Shift dragging a corner handle of a text box in your collection of multiple objects
b. Using the Scale Tool in the tool palette
c. Using the Scale fields in the Control palette or Transform palette
d. Using the Free Transform tool in the tool palette.

(In CS3, no matter how you group and scale your objects, you will never get the parentheses-in-the-font-size-field problem. You will only see this problem in CS3 if the objects were scaled incorrectly in CS2, and the file was converted to CS3.)

2. To fix the parentheses-in-the-font-size-field problem when it does occur, do the following:

a. Ungroup the objects
b. Select the text box with the Selection (black arrow) tool
c. Choose Scale Text Attributes (CS2) or Redefine Scaling as 100% (CS3) from the Control palette menu.


Sarah A. said...

Thanks for this tip! This had been driving me crazy for a while now, and I couldn't figure out how to fix it.

Font said...

Thank you so so much for this info. Quite handy and useful.

Unknown said...

Here's how to deactivate this "feature" in CS3:

1. Choose Edit > Preferences > General (Windows) or InDesign > Preferences > General (Mac OS).

2. Select "Adjust Scaling Percentage" (as opposed to "Apply to Content"), and then click OK.

Keith Gilbert said...

Just to be clear, changing the CS3 preference to "Adjust Scaling Percentage" will make CS3 continue to behave like CS2. But I'd suggest leaving the preference set to "Apply to Content", and then you will never have the type-size-in-parentheses problem at all in CS3. See my Blog post on 8/22/07 for more information about scaling text objects in InDesign CS3.

Gary said...

One thought, though: this can actually come in handy.

I design covers in which the same title needs to appear on the front and back, but at different sizes. The frame on the back is scaled, so I can copy/paste the text (using the Type tool) from one frame to another, and it scales to the right size automatically.

Even "annoying" features sometimes have useful purposes... :)

SusanDotWilson said...

This was originally posted back in 2007 - well, over 2 years have passed, and if this problem was corrected in CS3, it's back in CS4. I'm having exactly this problem, and I no longer see the recommended fixes for when it happens.

I always want to adjust scaling percentage, I need to know what percentages of the actual size images are placed at.

So how do I fix this now? I see neither option that was recommended back in '07

Keith Gilbert said...

Susan, I don't understand what you are asking exactly. The problem as described in the original blog post is not "back" in CS4. CS4 operates exactly like CS3 in this regard. Can you describe your issue in more detail?

MarkThai said...

Susan, I understand what you mean. I had a hard time finding it in CS5. Now I found it.

To remove the scaled point size from the Transform panel, choose Redefine Scaling as 100% in the Transform panel.

Go to Window/Object&Layout/Transform. It will open Transform palette. Click on the palette option, you will see "Redefining Scale as 100%".

beauhappyday said...

THANK YOU! I have been wondering about this for YEARS. Thank you!

Unknown said...

CMD + CTRL + SHIFT.... THANK YOU! Been pulling my hair out (text flipping over, staying the same size within the box, etc). Such a relief! :)