V-Justify: Control Text Frame Vertical Justification in InDesign
Reclaim control over InDesign’s vertical justification with the V-Justify add-on!
Often, a layout requires text to reach the bottom of the frame it’s in. This is called “vertical justification.” Like horizontal justification, it is achieved by adding space between paragraphs, and possibly between lines, until the last line is flush with the bottom margin.
(If you’re already cringing, you’re probably a book typesetter! Traditional book typesetting frowns on the idea of adding space between paragraphs, and, worse, between lines, to achieve vertical justification. The practice is known as “carding” or “feathering” (see here). The proper way to achieve a balanced page in traditional typography is by making sure all typographic elements on a page are a multiple of the baseline grid and to run spreads long or short as needed. However, even in books this is not always possible (think block quotes with tighter leading than body text, for example). And in newspapers and journals, labels, and many other items of print, it is neither possible nor desirable. V-Justify is intended for such cases!)
InDesign has a “vertical justification” feature. But it is so basic it is basically useless! InDesign’s vertical justification fails because:
- There is no way to specify how much space is allowed before or after a particular paragraph style. Instead, equal space is added between all paragraphs.
- InDesign only adds, never reduces, space. Even when a tiny space reduction is all that’s needed for a great-looking page, InDesign fails!
- InDesign justifies all pages (when using object styles), even at chapter ends! Typically there is no need for vertical justification on a chapter’s last page.
These shortcomings mean wasting time, repeatedly tweaking space-before and space-after settings to get a balanced page. The manual guesswork is tedious and inaccurate!
Wouldn’t it be nice if InDesign could do all this for you? Now it can!
- “Do you need V-Justify? If you even occasionally need to create a document that contains multiple columns or pages that must all be vertically justified, there’s no other way to achieve that goal that doesn’t involve considerable pain and suffering. V-Justify makes quick work of this task, potentially paying for itself the very first time you use it. It’s also easy to learn and use. As someone who’s used to working on complex layouts for fussy clients, I highly recommend it.”
V-Justify: The Solution
V-Justify is the new Id-Extras add-on for Adobe InDesign. It gives full control of text-frame vertical justification. Use it to balance text in frames with all the options you need for best results!
With V-Justify, specify minimum and maximum space-before and space-after values for each paragraph style in the document.
For instance, allow InDesign to add space before, but not after, a subhead, so the distance between the subhead and the following text is fixed. Or allow a little extra space after body paragraphs, but more flexibility around subheadings, block quotes or displayed equations.
You are in control!
V-Justify works with: single- or multi-column text frames, non-rectangular text frames, and frames with anchored and non-anchored objects. It also works with frames with footnotes and tables. It may not work properly with frames that have long tables or footnotes flowing onto the next page (but you can choose not to run it on those pages).
If there is not enough leeway for proper vertical justification, tell V-Justify only then to use InDesign’s built-in vertical justification to add extra space between lines, or unlimited space between paragraphs. Or tell V-Justify to disable InDesign’s vertical justification feature altogether, if you prefer to fix the page yourself.
Finally, because V-Justify can detect chapter endings, you can tell it not to justify the ends of chapters.
Raphael FreemanFebruary 11, 2021 10:05 am
This is a very interesting script. It would be nice if it supported the option of also increasing or decreasing the leading of a column to make it fit. So let’s say you have a box of two columns, would be cool if it could also say decrease the leading (or increase) to help with fitting. I tend to use the term carding for interparagraph spacing and feathering for adjusting the leading.