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Contest! Unravel the Mystery of the Low First Baseline and Win

You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to love a good mystery, especially when it involves InDesign. This particular puzzle came to me in a file sent by a friend, who was having trouble figuring out why the first line of text was sitting so low in a particular text frame. Are you ready to put on your thinking cap and figure this one out? It’s not obvious or easy, but I’ll make it worth your while. If you email me the correct solution to the problem (identifying exactly what is causing the text to start so low in the text frame) you could win a copy of the InDesignSecrets Top 40 Tips eBook, featuring over 100 pages of awesome InDesign tips.

Here are your clues:

As shown below, the first baseline of text sits 12p6 below the top of the text frame. Your job is to figure out why that is the case.


The only thing on the page is the one text frame. There is no facing page, and nothing on the pasteboard. There are no master page items, no hidden layers, no anchored objects, and no hidden objects. There is no use of conditional text. All the text and whitespace characters are shown in the screenshot above. No text is baseline shifted. The text frame is a simple rectangle with no corner effects and it has no stroke or fill color.

Here are the character and paragraph settings for the first paragraph:


Here are the text frame options:



Have you figured it out yet? Got a guess?

If you want to actually open the file and poke around for more clues, download this IDML file and open it with CS4 or later.

Want the answer? Check out this post.

Mike Rankin

Mike Rankin

Editor in Chief of, InDesign Magazine, and Author of LinkedIn Learning courses on InDesign, Illustrator, GIMP, Inkscape, and Adobe Dimension.
Mike Rankin

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