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When you have long documents you usually have repeating sequence of content. Wouldn't it be great if you could apply a sequence of formatting to several paragraphs at once? Well you can with the Next Style feature. Here I have a page of text that I need to apply some formatting to and right now it's all styled with just the basic paragraph style. And I could go through one paragraph at a time and apply the styles I need to, so I could apply my ChapterNumber paragraph style, my ChapterTitle, and a body text paragraph style with a drop cap, and several plain body text styles.
But there's a faster way of doing that, and that's with the Next Style feature. So what I need to do is edit the paragraph styles I am going to apply here to take advantage of that. I will start with the ChapterNumber paragraph style. I will scroll down to my numbering styles and right-click on it and choose Edit ChapterNumber. And in the General options there's an option for a Next Style. So which paragraph styles should be applied to the text that comes in the paragraph after this one? Right now, it's set to Same Style, so it will be applying ChapterNumber again, but I can change that.
So I know, after I have the chapter number, I have the chapter title. So for Next Style, I'll choose ChapterTitle and click OK. Now I need to edit the ChapterTitle paragraph style. I will right-click on it, choose Edit, and for the next style after this, I want my BodyDropCap style. I will select it and click OK, and now I need to edit BodyDropCap. I will right-click on it, choose Edit and after BodyDropCap comes my plain BodyText, and click OK.
So now I have defined that sequence of formatting, let's test it out if it actually works. I will take my Selection tool and just drag this text frame out of the way, and draw a new one with my Type tool. And I will type some dummy text in these paragraph styles to see if it works. So first I will pick my ChapterNumber, and I'll just type in Chapter 1, and press return. See how the paragraph style automatically changed to ChapterTitle? Now I'll just type in a chapter title, and hit return and now I have BodyDropCap that I am going to apply, and so forth.
So that's kind of interesting, but who is going to use it this way? Well, an InCopy user would. The same style definitions apply in InCopy as well as InDesign. So if you have an editorial workflow using InCopy. You can definitely leverage the power of Next Style. But what if you don't use InCopy? All you have are some paragraphs of unstyled text. I will delete this text frame that I was playing around with, and drag the other one back up to the top, and now I want to apply all those paragraph styles with just one click.
I can select the whole range and I want to apply the first paragraph style, that ChapterNumber paragraph style. But I don't want to just click on it, I want to right-click on it and from the menu that pops up, I'll choose Apply ChapterNumber then Next Style. And when I do that, InDesign looks at all those paragraph style options and finds the Next Style and applies it. So I have my chapter number, my chapter title, my body drop cap, and all my body text styles. When you have a lot of text to style in some predictable sequences of paragraph formatting, the Next Style feature is your best friend, whether you're entering text in InDesign, or InCopy, or applying it to a range of existing text like this.
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