What are the best tools available in InDesign to control left aligned body copy so that you avoid unattractive line endings and paragraph shapes?

I have a lot of text to work with and would like to automate at least some of the process so that I am not having to do it all manually (tracking, kerning, soft returns etc.).

Also, is it best to avoid relying on hyphenation?

I have fairly short column widths and a fair few long words.

  • "The best"? How many do you know of? Can you list them, and for each comment how they lead to unattrative line endings?
    – Jongware
    Apr 9, 2016 at 18:59
  • Maybe that wasn't the best choice of words. Sorry I don't have a list of them for you but I'm sure there's more than one solution to each problem you encounter while using InDesign, each with their own pros and cons. I was wondering what people find to be the most efficient approach when setting a lot of type.
    – user64349
    Apr 9, 2016 at 19:31
  • There is a nice video tutorial that could help you: InDesign: Text Composition & Justification Settings
    – elegent
    Apr 9, 2016 at 20:37

1 Answer 1


The answer to both questions depends on your personal experience with the software and with the font you are using. Some font families will not give ideal results with every option ID gives you.

Personally i would try using Balance Ragged Lines under your body copy paragraph style properties. This will even out long and short lines to a more compact looking paragraph flow. However its not perfect and some manual adjustments could be needed, also in my experience some clients will find this 'look' unusual and could ask for a normal flow of text.

Also personally i will usually avoid hyphenation, especially on a large volume of text since this sometimes needs proofing and that ofcourse involves additional time.

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