Formatting elements: Alignment (Nifty tricks)

First off, in honor of spring I just want to say that it’s time to…

Stop and smell the

But as the subject of this post says, I’m talking today about some of the nifty tricks you can do with alignment. And since the graphics above use every alignment tool I’ve mentioned except for text orientation, I’ll just use them as an example.

To make it easier to see exactly what I did, here’s another copy of the first graphic, but with all the lines showing. Right below it, I’m going to go through each of the types of alignment formatting I’ve discussed, and point out where and how I used each one.

Horizontal Alignment: Everything was center-aligned except for the first and last cells in the second row. The first one, so that the text would line up with the ends of the lines above and below it, was left aligned. The last cell with right-aligned, for the same reason.

Vertical Alignment: Everything was middle-aligned except for the 2nd cell in the first and third rows. The one in the first row was top-aligned, to meet the ends of the lines to either side. The one in the third row was bottom-aligned, for similar reasons.

Cell Margins: Throughout the graphic, cell margins were reduced to zero, to minimize the blank space that would appear at the joints between the lines forming the hexagon.

Text Wrapping: The text below the sign, “and smell the”, was wrapped to fit in the cell.

Text Shrinking: The giant STOP! is actually shrunk to fit the available space. To do this I first increased the font size to something enormous (96 pt font, to be precise), and then told it to shrink to fit the space. That way as I adjusted the spacing I did not also have to adjust the size of that word.

Cell Merging: If you look down at the blank row in between the sign and the green text, you’ll see that there are actually 5 columns involved in this, even though each row in the sign only seems to have 3. In the first row I merged columns 1 & 2, and then merged columns 4 & 5. I did the same thing again in the third row. If I hadn’t, then the lines in those two cells would be trying to fit in a smaller horizontal space, and it wouldn’t work. But in between, in the second row, I’ve merged columns 2, 3 & 4. This is so the STOP! has as much room as possible, rather than being stuck in the same space as the horizontal lines above and below it.

Text Orientation: Lastly, I used text orientation to change the angles of the text to form the border of the sign. Last week I explained how to figure out the angles and make the hexagon, except for this one instead of dashes I used numbers to make it easier to a) see how the text was actually changing direction, and b) tell what angles each cell was set at. Although with dashed lines I duplicated angles wherever they were just upside down from each other, since with dashed lines you couldn’t tell and it made it easier to explain. In this example, though, you can see how opposing lines are 180 degrees different in angle.

And that’s everything! I’ll be back next week with something other than alignment formatting.