Michael Stone


Adobe's newest page layout program, InDesign, includes a "multi-line composing engine." This feature has been highlighted in presentations and preliminary literature about the program by Adobe. The claim being made by Adobe is that the multi-line composing method will produce visible improvements over traditional line-by-line justification methods, such as that employed by the current most-popular page layout program, QuarkXPress. Text produced using line-by-line justification methods tends to exhibit significant variances in interword spacing from one line to the next. Text often appears too loose or too tight in parts, and visual effects such as rivers of white space running through a column are often present. A multi-line method of justification should produce markedly better results, as interword spacing should be mostly consistent throughout an entire paragraph. The idea for a multi-line justification method is based on the hand-compositor's practice of resetting previous lines of text when a line cannot be acceptably justified on its own. This practice became very difficult with the arrival of the Linotype in 1886 and practically impossible with the Monotype in 1887. First- and second- generation phototypesetters also did not allow any form of multi-line justification. Only with the arrival of typographical technology to desktop systems has it again become possible to employ a multi-line justification method. Two notable programs that were able to perform multi-line justification before the arrival of InDesign are Donald Knuth's page description language, _fX, and the /zz-program, developed by Peter Karow and Hermann Zapf. InDesign's multi-line composition engine is in fact based on TX and the /zz-program, and it employs similar algorithms. Although there have been comparisons done between TeX or the /tz-program and line-by-line justification methods, there have been no extensive comparisons between InDesign's multi-linecomposing engine and a program using a line-by-line justification method, such as QuarkXPress. The hypothesis of this thesis, then, is that InDesign's multi-line justification method will indeed produce a significant improvement over the line-by-line justification method used by QuarkXPress. This hypothesis is tested through flowing text into three templates that are designed to be representative of a book layout, a newspaper layout, and an magazine layout. Identical versions of these templates were created in both InDesign and QuarkXPress 3.32. A challenging, yet not extraordinary text was flowed into all templates. Wordspacing and hyphenation are evaluated.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Adobe InDesign (Electronic resource); QuarkXPress (Computer file); Desktop publishing

Publication Date


Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

School of Print Media (CIAS)


Romano, Frank


Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works. Physical copy available through RIT's The Wallace Library at: Z253.53 .S766 2001


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