Why Is My Text Highlighted Orange in InDesign?

Updated April 17, 2017

Adobe Systems' flagship page-layout application uses condition-specific highlight colours to warn you about situations and problems that may hamper your ability to complete and publish your work. While you're using Adobe InDesign CS5.5, you may see pink, green, yellow or orange highlights on some or all of your text. Your composition preferences determine whether you see these alerts. Whether or not you take action in response to them depends your evaluation of the conditions they expose.

Composition Preferences

Within its Composition Preferences dialogue box, Adobe InDesign CS5.5 gives you individualised control of highlighted alerts notifying you of five potential violations of your typographic standards. These include Keep Violations, locations in which lines of text fail to follow your preferences to keep them together; H&J Violations, instances in which InDesign overrides your hyphenation and justification settings in composing type; Substituted Fonts and Substituted Glyphs, cases in which your text calls for typefaces or characters that aren't available on your computer or in the typeface you're using; and Custom Tracking/Kerning, in which text is set more tightly or loosely than your preferences state.

Highlighted Problems

Adobe InDesign CS5.5 uses various highlight colours to identify its individual composition-alert types. Keep Violations appear in yellow, as do H&J Violations, which use three gradually darker shades to indicate the severity of the problem. Substituted Fonts use pink, while Substituted Glyphs appear in a golden yellow. Custom Tracking/Kerning combines green and orange to point up combinations of problems. Unless you activate these alerts in your Composition Preferences, none of their highlight colours appear.

Coincident Highlights

Some of Adobe InDesign CS5.5's composition alert highlights override others in any range of text that contains more than one applicable condition. For example, Custom Tracking/Kerning obscures the yellow applied to Keep Violations. You may see the golden yellow of Substituted Glyphs in the midst of a range of H&J Violations. To check all the alerts, you must turn them on one at a time and observe whether and where they apply.

Where Orange Appears

Adobe InDesign CS5.5 reserves orange composition alert highlighting for a situation you may not see in a typical page-layout document. If you place your text cursor between two characters in a range of text and apply kerning to that character pair, then select a wider range of text including the kerned area and apply tracking to it, the first of your kerned characters appears with orange highlighting while the rest of your tracked text appears in green.

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About the Author

Elizabeth Mott has been a writer since 1983. Mott has extensive experience writing advertising copy for everything from kitchen appliances and financial services to education and tourism. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in English from Indiana State University.