Right-aligned tabs with leaders
“Leaders” are the dots or lines that lead your eye from one column to another, most often seen in tables of contents. When working with leaders, remember that the tab marker holds on to the leader specs, so if you delete that tab, you delete the leaders.
Task 10 Create tabs with leaders
- Create a text frame about 3 inches wide; choose 10-point type.
- Type the first line or two of the list shown below, hitting a tab before the page number. Do not type the dots!
- Select the text.
- Open the Tabs panel and click the magnet to snap it to the frame.
- Single-click the right-aligned tab; click in the Tabs panel ruler close to the right edge.
- While that tab is still selected, type the leader character that you want to use in the “Leader” field. For now, type a period. You will instantly see the leaders connect from the name to the number, which is now right-aligned as well.
- Click at the end of the last line (after the number) to put your insertion point in that position. Hit Enter to make a new paragraph.
Continue typing the rest of the list. As long as you keep hitting the Enter (or Return) key at the end of each line (which turns that line into a paragraph), the tab formatting will carry over to the next line.
Task 11 Match the leaders
One sign of unprofessional typography is when the leaders in a list have differently sized dots. This happens because the leader automatically picks up the formatting from the last character before the tab, as shown below-left. You can see the consistent formatting for leaders and page numbers in the example, below-right.
- Recreate the text above, using a heavy bold face for the headings. Set the right-aligned tab with leaders, as explained on the opposite page.
- The leaders are simply formatted characters, so there are several ways to make the leaders match. Experiment with these options:
- Select the leaders in each line and change the formatting (to 8-point Light, for instance).
- Or select the smaller leaders in one of the lines.
Copy the leaders.
Select the larger leaders in one of the headings.
Paste. Paste to replace the others as well.
- Or create a style sheet for character formatting, as explained in ch06. Assign a keyboard shortcut to it, then apply it to the selected leaders.
- Or create a paragraph style sheet with nested character styles, as explained in ch06, so the leaders and the page numbers appear in the proper formatting automatically.
- Or if you use the Table of Contents feature (from the Layout menu), your paragraph and character style sheets will be applied automatically as InDesign generates your table of contents. You can see an example in this book’s contents—the entire table was formatted when I clicked the button. Unfortunately, I don’t have room in this small book to explain InDesign’s book features, but they are in the Adobe online manual.