Setting mixed Chinese/English in Adobe InDesign

Ever since they came out in CS4, I’ve been fascinated by GREP styles and the amazing things you can do with them.

The problem

One small part of what I do involves setting a mixed Chinese/English publication and I have been on the look out to find some way to use just one base paragraph style for both the English and the Chinese content. The problem is that a lot of Chinese fonts have absolutely horrible Latin characters, and so I need to be able to switch between two different fonts depending on whether the characters are English or Chinese.

The solution – GREP Styles

GREP styles are at least on the way to making this happen for me. After creating a Character Style for the Chinese font, I then assign it to the standard English Paragraph Style as the following GREP Style which I found on the Adobe Forums ad then tweaked with some additional goodness:


That even handles some of the slightly more obscure “non-Chinese” characters that I’ve only ever come across in Chinese text such as Fullwidth Colons (:) and Fullwidth Commas (,)!

So what this actually does is prevents any of the dreaded crossed boxes.

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