View Full Version : PDF indents and spacing

Gun Street Girl
07-22-2010, 08:57 PM
I have a formatting question for anyone who has created a PDF file:

Is it best to use strong indents at the beginning of paragraphs and double spacing at the end of sentences (such as in a manuscript) for ease of reading? Or does it appear unsightly and full of holes, as it would in a block of printed text?

Your opinions, please.

07-22-2010, 09:00 PM
If you're comfortable reading it in the original format, it'll translate directly like that to PDF. It's totally a taste thing.

In our coporation, it's either indents or double-spacing between paragraphs, but that's how all of us normally format things anyway.

I'm happy as a PDF reader as long as it's consistent and easy to read.

07-22-2010, 09:10 PM
If you're using a monospaced font, two spaces. If not, one space.

Do not full justify unless you've hand-kerned.

07-22-2010, 09:11 PM
Our house style for our software documentation (for my day job) is to use just one space after a period. In this day and age, two spaces after a period isn't even necessary for manuscripts. It's up to you, and I agree with DeleyanLee that consistency is the main thing (either all one way or all the other), but my recommendation would be to use just one. As you say, using two spaces leaves larger 'holes' (particularly since desktop publishing software already kerns extra space after a period anyway, which is why typing two spaces isn't necessary anymore).

As far as indents go, I'd suggest that you look at books similar to yours put out by others and see if there's a strong preference one way or the other. If so, I'd say go with the majority, but if it's pretty much 50/50, you can do it whichever way you like best.

07-22-2010, 10:14 PM
If you're publishing fiction. One space after periods. No indent for paragraphs, just use 2-3 spaces, whichever look you prefer. Make sure you justify the text block and set your software to hyphenate very rarely--never more than 3 hyphens per page and never more than one in a row. Also pay attention to rivers, widows, and orphans. If you want a professional looking book, be meticulous in your typesetting. Even though most readers might not be able to define a typesetting problem, their eyes know it when they see it and the book will seem a bit off.

Here's some more on typesetting along with some screenshots of the process. (http://www.thefiddlersgun.com/files/typesetting.html)

Gun Street Girl
07-23-2010, 02:58 AM
After speaking to some avid e-book readers, I think I am going to treat it as I would treat print (being closest to zpeteman's suggestions...I didn't mention that it is indeed fiction.) Thank you all for your input, and I shall most likely be back with more silly questions later...