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Adobe FrameMaker: Understanding Paragraph Indents

by Barb Binder

Indents in Adobe FrameMaker are pretty straightforward. When you decide that you would like to add indents to a paragraph (i.e., a block quote), you simply select that paragraph and enter your First, Left and/or Right indent values into the first column of the Basic property sheet in the Paragraph Designer.

As a visual learner, I’ve become accustomed to keeping an eye on the rulers while I’m working. A paragraph without any indents looks like the image below. Note the zero values in Paragraph Designer on the right, but also the position of the First/Left indent triangles and the Right indent triangle in the ruler. They point directly down to the edges of the paragraph.

Adobe FrameMaker: Weird Indents

A paragraph with First, Left and Right indents defined might look like this second image. Note the .25” values in the Paragraph Designer, but also the new positions of the First/Left indent triangles and the Right indent triangle in the ruler. They’ve shifted in to reflect the indents.

Adobe FrameMaker: A paragraph with indents

So why would a paragraph without an indent value specified look like this in the ruler?

Adobe FrameMaker: Weird indents

That question was posed to me last week by a former Advanced Adobe FrameMaker 9/10 student. Turns out the answer has nothing to do with indents, and everything to do with Runaround Properties. He had a graphic sitting on the same page, just above the paragraph in question. Even though the graphic wasn’t touching the text, the Gap value did, and it resulted in a very odd display.

Adobe FrameMaker: Turn off Runaround Properties

On a page-anchored graphic (that is, sitting on the page and not inside an anchored frame), Runaround Properties is set to Run Around Bounding Box as a default. Once we turned it off with Object > Runaround Properties > Don’t Run Around, the paragraph moved back to where it was supposed to be.


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One thought on “Adobe FrameMaker: Understanding Paragraph Indents

  1. Thanks, Barb. This is one of those gotchas that would have driven me crazy. Perfectly reasonable once you understand it 🙂