InDesign's hidden distraction-free writing mode

I’m a big fan of distraction-free writing environments that strip away all of the formatting and let you focus on the words. (I normally use Byword for iOS and Mac.) What does this have to do with today’s quick tip? Adobe InDesign has a built-in, distraction-free editing mode.

It’s called Story Editor and it’s helpful when you are trying to edit text without the formatting. To activate it, select a text box and go to Edit > Edit in Story Editor. A simple window will open that looks like this:

The default Story Editor in InDesign.

The default Story Editor in InDesign.

Any text changes you make in the Story Editor are also made in the InDesign layout. It's just a different view of your story.

To the left you have the Paragraph style and a ruler showing how many inches of text you’ve written. The ruler takes into account the type style and width of column to give you an accurate estimate of how long your text is. If you don’t find them helpful, you can disable them by going to View > Story Editor and hiding them.

Also, I’m not a big fan of the type settings. Thankfully, you can change the appearence in InDesign > Preferences > Story Editor Display... Change the typeface, size, background colors line spacing and more.

With some tweaks to the interface, the Story Editor now looks like this:

Slightly customized Story Editor.

Slightly customized Story Editor.

In a perfect world, Adobe would include some other options. Personally, I'd like to be able to adjust the width of the side margins so can take the window full screen width and still have an easily readable line length. As you can see from the shot above, the text goes all the way to the edge of the window.

It's not going to replace Byword for me, but it is a nice option when editing text in InDesign and really helpful with complex documents.

Every Wednesday, I post a quick tip on an Adobe app.