Drop caps are a great way to add an interesting design element to your publication, whether it is the first paragraph of chapters of a book that you apply the drop cap to, or use it for the main article in a newsletter. When using a drop cap, the size of the initial letter of your text is usually enlarged to the height of three lines of text, although making it smaller or larger is an option.
What can be fun with drop caps is that you can change the font to one different than the one used for your text. If you were creating a newsletter for a flower club, you could download a flower font from the internet. You can find a good selection of flower fonts for free. With so many fonts now available, you could end up like me checking them all out!
Drop caps can be placed within the text, which is pretty standard. However, you can also put them in the margin or set them where they can extend above the text. Try different ways of placing them to see what works for your publication.
To use drop caps in PageMaker, place your cursor at the beginning of the first paragraph, click on Utilities, then Plug-ins from the drop down menu, and select Drop Caps. In the Drop Caps window you have the option to select size; the default is set at three lines. Select Apply. If you would like the drop cap to be a different font than the text, it is good to change it first then do the drop cap function. If you change it after, the indented text may shift and not line up anymore. This is an easy fix. Go back to the Drop Cap window, click Remove and then click Apply again. This will fix the indent so that it is even.
When using styles in PageMaker, apply the style for your paragraph first as the style will affect the whole paragraph. Then create the drop cap. If you do the drop cap first and then set the style, the drop cap will not only change, but the indented text will lose its original format. Undo in PageMaker will not undo style changes. You will have to go and manually fix it back to what it was.
Drop caps can be a great tool in your desktop publishing toolbox. Use them when appropriate to enhance your publication and be creative and try different options. That is part of the fun in doing desktop publishing!