Typesetting mathematical equations using InDesign

It may have occurred many times that you ended up frustrated while trying to typeset mathematical equations. You may have set up different parts of an equation in various type frame, pieced it together and grouped it. This always demands a lot of effort and is time consuming. However, typesetting math in InDesign is relatively easier.

The very first step is determining the alignment and tabs. Figure out the alignment you need for the math. It is recommended to stay left as if there is a need for using tabs, centered type fails to work properly. You can let the equation appear centered if you use Left justification along with an outsized left indent. Tabs can be used to perfect alignments.

Initially place the numbers in their own concerned lines. Take care of the below points for effective typesetting in InDesign.

  • Make use of superscripts when and where needed.
  • For variables, i.e. letters, use italics; spare parentheses.
  • After and before every operation symbol give a space.
  • Use a minus when needed or else if you font doesn’t has it, make use of en dash.
  • Underlines can be used for serving as horizontal bars.

You can set the tab to align denominators to the center under horizontal bars. For this either select Tab from Type option or simply type CTRL / CMD + SHIFT + T; Tabs panel will be displayed.  Use the center tab till the concerned denominator looks exactly centered under bar. The finishing step of typesetting a book in InDesign when it deals with mathematical equations is setting a shift of baseline for denominators and numerators. Adding space below and above the equation is also recommended so that a clear look is availed.

Don’t forget to put up character styles to needed equation parts. Firstly choose a numerator section. Then proceed to Character Styles and from there select New Character Style.  Repeat the same thing with denominator. Even if the entire eBook has only one equation, character styles are inevitable for assuring that the equation is properly displayed; this is in fact one of the basic rules for typesetting mathematical equations.

For getting the best results, seek assistance of any of the best typesetting service providers. There are many but not all are skilled enough to avail excellent provisions. Keep this in mind and do enough market research before you finalize one.

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