4 Replies Latest reply on Apr 26, 2013 1:08 PM by flybynight

    "Copy fitting" in layouts?

    flybynight

      I work in printing, and we have some variable data software that can perform "copy fitting" - and it's quite handy.

      Basically, when doing complex mail merge printing, sometimes you have a field with 25 characters in a record, and 125 in another. Or perhaps it's a sentence in one and several lines of text in another. But, you only have a finite amount of space to print that info. The software lets you set up certain "rules" - if the copy doesn't fit, start to reduce the horizontal scale, tracking, point size, and/or leading, etc… until it fits. You can set the min/max you are willing to let it squish your data before it really doesn't fit.

       

      I'm designing a form layout that is intended to be printed in FMP and I'm wondering if there is any such beast here. There are several fields that usually won't take up much space, but when they are longer, I need all of the data to show.

       

      Any suggestions? The only thing I can think of is to use conditional formatting to say, if Self is longer than X characters, then change the font size (I already have it set to "Condense" in Type Styles). But you still have to guess how many characters will fit - a lot of w's take up more space than a lot of i's.

       

      Thanks,

      -Shawn

        • 1. Re: "Copy fitting" in layouts?
          jml

          If field sliding doesn't do it for you, perhaps using a web viewer might. 

           

          Here's an example web address that changes the font size depending on the number of characters in your text:

          "data:text/html," & GetAsCSS (

          TextFont(

          TextSize(

          your_text_field;

          10 + Case (Length(your_text_field) < 50 ; 2; Length(your_text_field) < 100 ; 1 ; 0 )) ;

          "Courier" ) )

           

          P.S. If you use a fixed width font like Courier, then the i's take up the same space as the w's.

          • 2. Re: "Copy fitting" in layouts?
            flybynight

            jml wrote:

             

            P.S. If you use a fixed width font like Courier, then the i's take up the same space as the w's.

            Of course, but then all of the characters are as wide as the w's - which takes me backwards, as far as trying to fit more copy. More predictible, yes, but overall taking up a lot more space.

            Field sliding is not a good solution in this case. Because of the nature of the "form" that we are printing, having the same information in the same, predictible place makes it easier for the people working on the job to get the info they need. Having fields shift position would cause more confusion that the potential space savings is worth.

            • 3. Re: "Copy fitting" in layouts?
              Mike_Mitchell

              I feel your pain; this is definitely a problem area.

               

              Have you investigated the use of merge fields? These often flow better than standard fields in situations like this.

               

              Mike

              • 4. Re: "Copy fitting" in layouts?
                flybynight

                I have played with merge fields, and do make use of them sometimes. But, they have their own set of issues, too, when it comes to placing and sizing them in a layout. I feel like you have less control. I know there are work-arounds like making all but the first character a really small font size, but that gets tedious quickly.

                Just plain layout-based copy-fitting rules would be an amazing addition.

                 

                Laters,

                -Shawn