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In this series, David Blatner and Anne-Marie Concepción, co-hosts of the web's top resource for InDesign tips and tricks, InDesignSecrets.com, share some hidden and sometimes surprising workflow tips that will make working in InDesign more efficient and more fun. The course covers built-in timesaving features such as Quick Apply and auto-expanding text, but also little-known tricks, such as using the eyedropper to copy and paste character and paragraph text attributes and making accurate selections by selecting through or even into objects.
New techniques will be added to the collection every other week, so check back early and often. Find more tips and tricks at indesignsecrets.com.
I wish I had a dollar for each time someone said they wanted a way to copy text formatting from one place to another in InDesign. Well, it turns out that you can actually do this already. You just need to know where to look, plus a couple of little secrets. The key to copying text formatting is using the Eyedropper tool down here at the bottom of the Tool panel. The Eyedropper tool is a very powerful tool, but with that power comes great responsibility. You must understand how it works or you're going to get yourself in trouble. The main thing you want to watch out for when using the Eyedropper tool is whether or not anything is selected on your page when you use it.
Right now nothing is selected. So if I click to pick up some formatting, it won't affect anything on my page. If something were selected, well, whatever I pick up, it will apply it to what's selected immediately and that can cause some problems. If something were selected on my page, like a text frame or a graphic frame, when I'd use the Eyedropper tool, it will apply any formatting I pick up to that object and that can be good or it could be a problem depending on what I want. But at least you need to be aware of it. In this case, like I said, nothing is selected so I am going to go ahead and click on this word Hansel.
It picks up that blue color and you'll notice that the Eyedropper cursor changed from white to black indicating that it has sucked up some of the formatting. It's copied the formatting. Now, I can come over to the word Petal and drag over those letters. When I let go, it colors that word. It takes the same formatting from the first word, the one I clicked on, and it places it on that new word. I am going to press the T key and select some of this text in this text frame, because I want to apply some formatting to that text with the Eyedropper tool.
So once again I am aware that text is selected, so when I use the Eyedropper tool it will apply it to this text. I will switch back to the Eyedropper tool and click on this bold text down here. As soon as I click on that, it not only loads up the Eyedropper cursor, so you will see that the cursor changes. It applies that formatting to whatever was selected. Now even though that's still selected, I can keep using my Eyedropper tool. For example, I can drag over some words here and it applies that formatting, that bold text, to the text that I highlighted and I can keep doing this as much as I want.
I will double-click on this and drag over here. That's a faster way to apply text formatting to more than one word if you want. And I can come over here and double-click on this word and apply it and you get the idea. As long as I keep double-keeping or dragging over text, it will apply that same formatting. The Eyedropper tool is not limited to a single text frame either. For example, I want to take the formatting from this head and drop it over here on the word Contents. So while the Eyedropper tool is still selected, I am going to hold down the Option or the Alt key and you'll see that while that Option or the Alt key is held down, the Eyedropper tool reverts back to a white Eyedropper cursor.
That means I can resample something and I will click on the heading. Now I've copied that formatting from the heading and I'll come over to the Contents word and click on it. And it applies that formatting to that word even though it's a whole separate text frame. I will admit that the Eyedropper tool does take some getting used to, but man oh man, it lets you format a whole of text quickly.
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