InDesign Does Super Duper Script

I was recently working with a notable ad agency that’s in the process of upgrading from Creative Suite 1 to Creative Suite 2 and they had some unique requests related to type handling in InDesign. Essentially, they wanted several superscript variations of certain characters for use in the ads they design. Considering the level of complexity of their requirements, I suggested the best option might be to recut their typeface or create a good collection of character styles.

Then I told them that if they could live with only two flavors of superscript, then InDesign already had all they tools they needed! This trick is so easy it’s almost silly, but it’s not something I’ve seen many people try:

  1. Open the application preferences (Command/Control-K) and select the Advanced Type category.
  2. Assign a negative percentage, such as -50%, to the Subscript position value.
  3. Now create your second superscript variation by assigning the subscript text attribute.

Voila! That’s all there is to it. You see, InDesign makes the reasonable assumption that superscript is going above the baseline and subscript is going below the baseline. This means that two positive values move the text in opposite directions, which might seem a bit odd if you think about it too much. The solution is simply to give subscript a negative value which moves it in the opposite direction and provides for a second variation of superscript. I’m sure it’s obvious by now, but you could reverse this trick and create two variations of subscript if that’s the problem you’re facing.

I’d love to hear back if this solution solves any real world problems out there!