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CorelDraw X5 : The Text Bar and Special Paragraph Formatting

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5/1/2012 5:54:07 PM
Let’s dig deeper into paragraph text options and discover new ways to embellish your printed message; create or open a document now that contains a paragraph text frame. Because of the large screen resolutions we enjoy today, we can view pages at almost a 1:1 resolution as they would print, but this also means we might need to scroll and mouse around a document more than is healthy for the wrists. The solution in CorelDRAW is a simple one: if you’re working extensively with text, you float the Text toolbar close to the area of the document in which you’re fine-tuning. Right-click over any area of the property bar, and then choose Text from the pop-up menu. You can drag the Text toolbar to hover over any area you like.

The Text toolbar can be used to edit single characters in artistic text and paragraph text, but its real strength is in the offering of options for making paragraph text look polished and sophisticated. When the Pick tool or the Text tool is active, all the features shown in Figure 1 are active and at your disposal.

Figure 1. The Text toolbar is a convenient gateway to the text formatting you need on a daily basis.


Tip

The Text toolbar and the Text options on the property bar when the Pick or the Text tool have selected text are essentially identical. The Text toolbar is simply a more portable device for working closely with text.


Drop Caps and Bulleted Lists Formatting

A drop cap is a dropped capital character at the beginning of a paragraph, much larger than the rest of the text, extending three, four, or more lines down in the paragraph... and it adds a touch of class to a document, particularly if you’re illustrating a fairy tale.

Bulleted lists are a common necessity for page layouts: restaurant menus, assembly instructions, just about anything that’s a list that doesn’t need to be a numbered list! In the following sections, you’ll see not only how to create a bulleted list, but also how to choose any character you like for the bullet and even create a hanging indent for the bulleted list for an ultra-professional presentation.

Creating a Drop Cap

You have a lot of options, hence a lot of design opportunities, for drop caps in a CorelDRAW document: you can decide on the drop cap’s height relative to the lines of paragraph text of its neighbors, whether it’s nestled into the body of the text or stands to the left (called a hanging indent), and even choose the font used for the drop cap.

First, the Drop Cap button on the Text toolbar and property bar is available when the Pick tool is used to select paragraph text, and when the Text tool is used to highlight a paragraph within a paragraph text frame. This is a show/hide toggle button: it turns the default attributes for a drop cap on and off within the selected text. Therefore, you can create a drop cap for paragraph text in one click, but if you want to add your own input, you need to additionally work with the Drop Cap options box, as demonstrated in the following steps.

Adding a Drop Cap to Your Paragraph Text

  1. Create some paragraph text.

  2. Use the Text tool to highlight a paragraph that you want to lead off with a drop cap. You can create drop caps by simply selecting a paragraph text frame with the Pick tool, but doing so will put a drop cap at the beginning of every paragraph (after every hard return), which might be overdoing the effect.

  3. On the Text toolbar or the property bar, click the Drop Cap button; you’ll get the default drop cap effect, as seen in the illustration below.

  4. The easiest way to make the drop cap into an ornamental drop cap is to toggle the Drop Cap on the property bar to hide it; then highlight the first letter, and change the font for this one character. Then, with the I-beam cursor in front of the letter, click the Drop Cap button once more.

  5. Choose Text | Drop Cap to display the options for the drop cap. The most common customizing would be to change how many lines the cap is dropped; by default, it’s three, but four or even five can look interesting, depending on the font you use. If you feel there isn’t enough air between the paragraph text and the drop cap, use the Space After Drop Cap spin box to increase the space to the right of the drop cap. You also have the option to Use Hanging Indent Style For Drop Cap, which casts the drop cap to the left of the paragraph text while the paragraph text then takes on a flush-left indent. The following illustration shows the completed effect; a hanging indent was not used because the design uses paragraph text inside a path to wrap the text around the cartoon, and an indent would spoil the overall composition.

Making Bulleted Paragraph Text

Like the toggling Drop Cap button, the show/hide Bulleted List button can be your one-click stop for creating bulleted lists; however, you’ll surely want a custom bulleted list that looks as artistic as your document layout. On the Text menu you’ll find the Bullets command; it’s straightforward and you’ll quickly achieve great results. Find or create a list of something, and follow along to see how to work the options for bullets.

Creating a Bullet Motif

  1. There’s no real harm in simply using the Pick tool to select the paragraph text you want to make a fancy bulleted list: every line break in the list begins a new bulleted item, so select the text and then click the show/hide Bulleted List button on the property bar or on the Text toolbar. See the following illustration.

  2. Choose Text | Bullets.

  3. Choose a typeface that contains a character that works well with the theme of the bulleted list composition. The illustration is an “All-Star Recipe,” so a bullet shaped like a star is appropriate. Microsoft’s Wingdings font is installed with every copy of Windows, and it features some nice symbols: choose Wingdings from the Font drop-down list in this example, and then click the Symbol drop-down arrow, and locate a good star shape.

  4. Click the Use Hanging Indent Style For Bulleted Lists check box to get a polished look for the list.

  5. Increase the point size by dragging upward in the center of the spin box control for Size.

  6. Most likely, the baseline of the enlarged symbol won’t look right compared with the text in the list (it’ll be too high). Drag downward on the Baseline Shift spin box control until the bullets look aligned.

  7. Optionally, if your symbol is crowding into the list text, increase the Bullet To Text spacing. Similarly, the paragraph text frame might be too tight to the left of the bullet; in this case, you increase the Text Frame To Bullet amount. See the following illustration for the completed design.

Working with Columns

Although you can manually create flowing columns of paragraph text, it’s often less time-consuming to use the automated Columns feature in CorelDRAW. Text columns divide paragraph text frames into several vertical columns separated by gutters (margins). Multiple columns can be created only in the Text | Columns dialog. This section describes how to manipulate columns with the mouse. You must have paragraph text selected with the Text tool to work with columns: the tabs do not show on the rulers using other tools.

Select the frame in which you want to place columns, choose Text | Columns, and then set the Number Of Columns on the Column Settings dialog. It is always a good idea to keep the number of columns balanced, so each column is neither too wide nor too narrow. A good rule of thumb for legibility is: each line of text should be no wider than 6 inches or 16 words, but it should be wide enough to have at least 4 words per line.

To change the width of the columns and margins, drag the column guides, column-boundary markers, gutter handles, and horizontal-resize handles, as shown in Figure 2. When dragging the column guides or boundary markers, if the Equal Column Width option is selected in the Column Settings dialog, all the gutters will be resized together; the gutter handles are available only when this option is not selected.

Figure 2. Column widths can be edited directly by dragging with the mouse.

Note

Columns can be applied only to whole paragraph text frames and cannot be applied to individual paragraphs or artistic text.


Column Settings

Once you’ve created a paragraph text object with columns, you can refine and make precise columns and gutter widths through the Column Settings dialog (Text | Columns), shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3. Use the Column Settings dialog to apply columns to paragraph text.

To add extra columns, first set the Number Of Columns, and then set the Widths of the columns. The Gutter value is the distance between the selected column and the next one. If Equal Column Width is selected, changing the width of any column or gutter changes the width of all columns or gutters to the same value. If Maintain Current Frame Width is selected, changing the width of any column or gutter will not change the overall width of the frame, so the other columns and gutters will be resized to accommodate the change. A preview of the column settings is shown in the preview frame on the right side of the dialog.

Text in columns (even if only one column is used) can be justified via the Text toolbar and the Paragraph Formatting box.

Tip

You can have more control over columns by laying them out as multiple text frames, each one containing a single column.

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