Reading the text is a complex activity for one’s eyes and brain. It is a part of designer’s work to make the reading experience effective, enjoyable, smooth, and helpful to the message that the text aims to convey.
One of the ways to do this is to remove obstacles which the eye might encounter while moving along a line of text.
What does this have to do with Bible publishing?
Well, think about verse numbers. They are a relatively recent addition to the Bible text. And they are definitely an obstacle for the reading eye. Think about the Lord’s prayer in the Gospel of Matthew. Ask yourself: (1) how many people know Lord’s prayer by heart? (2) how many of them know in which verse it starts, and which verse says “Forgive us…”? Do you see the difference? While reading this short piece of text, the reader’s eye encountered (read or skipped) verse numbers 10, 11, 12, 13. It took some additional effort and time, especially for a person less familiar with the Bible. This might not be your intent.
In this case we have some good news for you. You can help the reader of your Bible encounter fewer obstacles while reading and an easier time navigating through it. You can do it with the Marginal Text feature of PA 6.0/5.1.
You can find it in Other tab of Job Specification window.
Turn it on by choosing Yes for ‘Show Verse Numbers in Margin’.
You have 4 options for where to place verse numbers: Left, Right, Inside or Outside margin. (Note: You might like to make the chosen margin a bit wider.)
Set the distance between the Body Frame that contains biblical text and marginal verse numbers. The default setting for this is 0 (zero) mm which might be too close depending on the main text paragraph indents and justification. In the following example, I chose to show verse numbers in the outside margin.
For ‘Which Verses to Show’, select either All or Only Those in the Middle of the Paragraph. The latter will keep verse numbers in the beginning of the paragraph untouched.
Next you have to decide what to do with the Verse Numbers within the Body: either to keep them (in this case you’ll have two numbers for each verse — one inside the Bible text and another one in the margin) or to hide them (in this case only marginal verse numbers will be visible).
The last option allows you to insert an alternate character (marker) in place of the removed verse number in the Bible text (bullet, middle dot, slash etc.) or nothing at all. This marker will be given its own character style (vmark) in the InDesign file, which you can manage the properties for from the Character Styles palette.
If you are showing markers, you may choose how they are handled in poetry. You may choose to show all markers in poetry or only those in the middle of a Poetic Paragraph/Line.
Now, when you push Adjust page button and PA is able to complete the adjustments needed without issue, then at the very end of its work it will place verse number in the margin. You also have the opportunity to place verse number in the margin by pushing Rebuild Verse Numbers in Margin after any manual tweaking and tuning of the page layout.