I guess it's easier to show you what I want to achieve than try to explain it :P

Take a look:

enter image description here

As you can see, there is a Guillemet (French quotation mark) next to the paragraph, centered vertically in relation to the paragraph.

The problem is, I did this with drop caps, setting it to one character and three rows. That means if the paragraph is shorter or longer than three rows, it won't look like I want it to ... So, is there a way to get this large Guillemet next to the paragraph vertically centered, independent of how long the paragraph is? The Guillemet should always have the same size, rather than scaling with the length of the paragraph! (I'm hoping for a solution that works purely based on paragraph and/or character styles, meaning no manual tweaking is required for each paragraph I want to use this with) ... Thanks!

Edit: I can't use an individual textframe for each of these paragraphs, since I need them to stay in the primary textframe ...

4 Answers 4


That's not something you can do with regular paragraphs of arbitrary length, but it's easily done using a two-column table.

Set up the table so that the text offset top and bottom is exactly half your normal paragraph spacing. The right column will contain your text.

The left column will the Paragraph Style for your guillemet, with the cell style set to center text vertically.

It takes a bit of fiddling with offsets to get the spacing right so it fits with the run of the main copy, so save the table and cell styles when you have it set the way you want!

Here's a demo, using a Body Copy paragraph style that's the default plus 8 pt Space Before.

Using a table to center bullet vertically on a paragraph

This uses an overall table style with a "Space Before" setting the same as the Body Copy style, a cell style for the guillamet (which has its own paragraph style), a cell style for the regular rows of copy and a separate cell style for the last row, to remove the bottom offset.

Given what you're trying to accomplish, you won't want a bullet paragraph to split across pages. Since tables can split across pages, but individual rows can't, that's built into the workflow.

The table will of course move automatically with the flow of text.

[Late Edit] I have now described this setup much more fully in this article on InDesignSecrets.com.


There's an option to link an element to specific text.

Anchored objects are items, such as images or text boxes, that are attached—or anchored—to specific text. The anchored object travels with the text containing the anchor as the text reflows. Use anchored objects for all objects that you want associated with a particular line or block of text, for example, sidebars and callouts, figures, or icons associated with a specific word.

You can read more about anchored objects on the Adobe InDesign Help center.

  • 1
    Welcome, indeed. It's great to see more InDesign users showing up on the site. Anchored objects would be difficult to use as a solution in this case, because positioning is relative to a fixed point in the paragraph, so you'd have to have an Object Style for each paragraph length (which would each have to change if the text styles changed). Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 20:32

You could create outlines of the Guillemet, converting it to art rather than type, then use bulleted lists with an anchored art object. And anchor it to the first line of the text.

This will allow the guillemet to travel with its anchored text. However, you'd have to take care with the initial placement.

enter image description here


I’ve found there is a way using para and character styles though this means creating as many as there are lines you want indented.

I typed in a guillemot (at the start of a two-line paragraph followed by an indent to here character. I then used a negative base-line shift to centre the guillemot on the two lines. I made this into a character style calling it “guillemot 2 lines”. I then highlighted these two lines and made a paragraph style calling the style “bullet 2 lines”, making sure that in the “Bullets and Numbering” panel the following items are ticked: • “List Type: Bullets” • Bullet Character: » • Text After: ˆ< (Thin space)ˆ to push the text away from the guillemot. • Character Style: guillemot 2 lines.

I then duplicated further character styles calling them "guillemot 3 lines”, “guillemot 4 lines” etc. modifying the negative baseline shift to suit those number of lines, and then duplicated further paragraph styles (“bullet 3 lines”, “bullet 4 lines” etc.) changing the "Character Style" under the "Bullets and Numbering” option.

A bit of work at first but, with shortcuts, you can click in your desired bullet paragraph and apply the paragraph style (though you do have to insert the “indent to here” character before the test starts).

  • That certainly works, but it creates another problem. If the number of lines in one of these paragraphs changed during editing, you'd have to also change the paragraph style. Worse, if there's a global change to the font, the tracking or the font size you'd have to check every instance of each one and update the any that were now off because of reflow. That would not be fun in a long document. Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 20:27

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.