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Using Multiline Composition

InDesign has two ways of compositing (laying out) text. Single-line composition looks at the current line and evaluates the best place to break the line or apply hyphenation. Multiline composition looks at the current line as well as previous ones when it evaluates the best place to break lines. When multiline composition is turned on, the result is more even spacing for the text and fewer hyphens (Figure 4).

Figure 4 

Turning on Multi-line Composition improves the spacing between words in this example.

To use multiline composition:

  1. Select the text.

  2. Choose Adobe Multi-line Composition from the Paragraph palette submenu. The text reflows.


  • Multiline composition is a paragraph attribute and is applied to all the text in a paragraph.

  • Multiline composition is turned on by default when you first open InDesign.

  • Choose Adobe Single-line Composition to apply standard line-by-line composition.

You can also set how many lines InDesign looks at to determine the best line breaks.

To set the composition preferences:

  1. Choose File > Preferences > Composition. The Preferences dialog box appears (Figure 5).

    Figure 5

    The Composition Preferences allow you to control how the multiline composition occurs.

  2. Set the number of lines the composer analyzes before the line being edited in the Look Ahead field.

  3. Set the number of alternatives that should be considered in the Consider Up To field.


  • The higher the number you enter in these two fields, the longer it may for the lines to be composited.

  • The composition preferences are applied to the entire document.

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