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Auto leading in InDesign

Most of text is 12 pt with 14.4 pt leading. The bold text (14 pt and 18 pt) causes the auto leading to change for those lines of text. | Typography Glossary | Alpha Index to Full Glossary:

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Definition:

Leading is the space between lines of type. Auto leading is a feature found in software that automatically sets and adjusts the leading of your type based on the type size.

Auto leading can be a convenient feature if the automatically selected leading amount works for your selected typeface. Generally, the software has a default setting that sets leading at around 120% or so of the type size. 12 point type would have 14.4 point leading, for example. In some programs you can change the default auto leading percentage.

When to Use or Not Use Auto Leading

Where auto leading can create problems is when you change the type size of just a portion of text in a paragraph. The software will automatically reset the leading for that entire line of text to whatever the auto leading specifies for that type size you just changed. This can result in paragraphs with some lines of text closer or further apart than others in the same paragraph. The fix for this condition is to set the leading for that paragraph to a fixed amount, even if that amount is the same as the auto leading for the bulk of the text.

Use auto leading when you haven't settled on a final font or type size for your document. However, once you've finalized your font and type size, go through and reset the leading in your document — even if that is the same number as your auto leading. This will prevent the leading from appearing differently when you share digital documents with someone who has a different auto leading setting for their software. Also, if you find that you need to change the type size of just a few parts of your documents you won't need to make manual adjustments due to the auto leading kicking in.

For a more detailed look at leading and auto leading:

Also Known As: automatic leading | auto linespacing
Alternate Spellings: auto-leading | autoleading
Examples:
In the image, a paragraph of text in Adobe InDesign is set with 12 point type and auto leading, which is 14.4 in this example. The third line of type has a word in 14 point type. Auto leading causes that entire line to change to 16.8 pt leading. In the fifth line a word is changed to 24 point creating a very obvious leading increase to 28.8 pt for just that line of text.
Terms Related to Auto Leading

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