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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.
One of the most often requested special effects in InDesign, is a text highlighter. You know, like here where it looks like someone has marked up the text with a highlighter pen. Now, it's not hard to get this kind of text effect in InDesign, though it does take a little bit of set up. Here's how you do it. First, select some text. I'll do that by double-clicking with the Selection tool on top of this text frame which switches to the Type tool. Then, I'll simply double-click and then drag over some words. Now the whole key to the highlighter effect is the underline effect, you want a custom underline. Now, I'm going to get that by going up to the Control panel and making sure that I'm in the Character Formatting mode.
That's this little A on the left edge of the panel. Once that's selected, I can come over to sort of the middle, and I'll see a T with an underline. Now, if I just click that, it makes an underline. Just a boring plain black underline underneath that. That's not what I want. So instead, I'm going to hold down the Option key on the Mac, or the Alt key on Windows. And then click, and that tells InDesign to open up the Underline Options dialog box. Here, we have a lot of control over what this underline is going to look like. I always want to make sure that Preview checkbox is turned on. That way I can see what I'm doing even though this dialog box is open.
Now, I'm going to make this underline, this really thin underline much thicker. Let's say 13 points a really thick underline. Next, I'll set the offset to something smaller, like minus 3 points, that actually pushes it up so that it overlaps the text. Of course we don't want the underline to be the text color. In this case it would be black on black and that doesn't help us. So I'm going to choose a different color. For example, this nice bright yellow. And if I wanted to, I could change the tint. Finally, I'll click OK and I'll click over here, so it deselects this. And you can see the highlighter style is applied to the text.
Looks great. Now I'm going to use this in several places in my document So I better save it as a character style. You always want to save these kinds of things as a character style. I have my advanced work space open. So the Character Styles panel shows up here in the dock. So I'll simply select that text again, and in the Character Styles Panel menu, I can choose New Character Style. I'm going to call this my. Highlighter style. You can call it anything you want really and I'm going to apply it to the selection. Because I had this text selected, it took all of that formatting and put it up here into this character style. Click OK and you'll see that it made the style and applied it to that text.
Let's go ahead and apply it to this text over here as well. Excellent. It didn't change what it looked it, but it now has the style applied to it. Now there's a couple other things you might want to know about when applying this highlighter style. For example, it's usually a good idea to highlight beyond the text. For example in this case, I'll select this space and I'll apply the highlighter and also the comma on the other side. Let's go ahead and do the same thing over here. I'll just select all this text and apply the highlighter style. There we go. Another thing you might want to do is round the edges of these highlighters. And I can do that by right-clicking on the highlighter style, or Ctrl click with a one-button mouse, and choose Edit.
I'll jump right to the underline options pane inside the Character Style Options dialog box, and instead of making a nice, sharp solid highlighter. I'm going to make a rounded corner one. And to do that, I'll choose one of the dotted types. Either Japanese dots or dotted. As long as it's a dot, it'll work. I'll turn on the Preview check box, and you can see that now that solid highlighter is dots. Which doesn't seem like helps us, but it does because there's one more step to doing this. And that is to change the gap color. The color of the space between those dots. We're going to change this to exactly the same color as the color of the stroke itself.
Now when I click OK, you can see that my highlighter has rounded edges. Like so many InDesign techniques, the highlighter effects takes a little time to set up the first time. But then, because it's a style, you can reuse it quickly over and over again.
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