Details Part 2 (Text Setting)

Text (range left, ragged right)
Once you have established your type specification and have set the type over your chosen measure you need to look at the line endings and if necessary ‘massage’ the text so as to achieve a reasonably even right hand edge by selectively hyphenating (do not allow the system to automatically hyphenate). Avoid having rows of hyphenations on too many consecutive lines. Although software programmes allow you to automate hyphenations you do need to be judicious regarding a programme’s suggestions. Text must also be adjusted to eliminate widows and orphans were possible. Widows and orphans are short lines or single words appearing at the end of paragraphs at the top or bottom of a column. A widow is also a single word at the end of any paragraph. Avoid single lines at the top and bottom of columns.


It is rare to see ranged right, ragged left setting. This can be considered for small amounts of text such as captions but the unevenness of the start of lines for longer texts would make reading tiring. Conversely (in my view) the unevenness of line endings in ragged right setting can aid in keeping your place as you read through the text. The text on the right in the illustration has been altered to create a more even right-hand edge.

7 Text rl-rr [Converted]

Text (justified)
Setting justified can be problematic. To get lines to justify the word spacing has to vary – this can make the text look particularly unattractive if the word space varies greatly from line to line. Never alter the letter spacing to aid justified text, rather use selective hyphenation to break long words. Typographers consider how subtle adjustments such as letter and word spacing can alter the experience of reading. Although I have demonstrated in the illustration below how one might alter the text to create a better setting (on the right) I am not promoting this style of setting or the example shown as good practice.

8 Text Justified [Converted]