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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.
Have you ever had a situation where you need to insert some text at the beginning of a bunch of different lines really quickly? For example here this first number is a phone number, and the second is a fax number. That's not immediately obvious so I better label them, and I could do that by applying a paragraph style. I'll double click on this to switch to the Type tool and then when my cursor is flashing inside that paragraph, I'll go to my paragraph styles panel and I'm going to choose a different paragraph style. I'll choose this one here called phone that I've set up. As soon as I click on it you'll see that the word phone is added to the beginning of the paragraph. Whoa! How did it do that? What kind of magic was going on there? Well, let me tell you the secret.
The secret is that this is actually an automatic numbering style, but in InDesign, numbering doesn't have to look like a number at all. I'll undo this by pressing Cmd + z, or Ctrl + z on Windows, and I'm going to make a new paragraph style that shows you how this trick is done. I'll go to the Paragraph Styles Panel menu and choose New paragraph style, and then, I'm going to give it a name. I'll just call it My Phone Style. Obviously, you can call it anything you want. Now, I'm going to jump over here to the bullets and numbering pane, and I'm going to set the list type from none to numbers. Now ordinarily, I'd only use this for automatic numbering like one, two, three and so on, but in this case I'm going to change it to type text instead and I'll do that by changing the number fields right here.
I'm going to take out this code. Just hit delete and I'm going to type in the word phone followed by colon, followed by a space. That's really all you need to do. As soon as you click OK, InDesign adds that paragraph style to the Paragraph Styles panel, and now all you have to do is click on it, and you'll see that it adds the text right at the beginning of the paragraph. Let's do another one for the fax number. Come up here, New Paragraph Style. I'm going to call this fax number. I'm going to make sure the based on popup menu is set to my phone style. That's the style that I just created. But in this case, I'm going to make a slight change.
I'll go to the bullets and numbering pane and change phone to fax. Click OK, and then simply select this text paragraph down here. Come down here and click on Fax number. And you'll see that the word fax is added to the beginning of the paragraph style. Now obviously, if I only had one or two of these in a brochure, it wouldn't be worth taking the time to make a style like that, but if add hundreds, this could save me a lot of time. Now, what if I wanted to use a graphic instead of text? Can I do that? Well, you can, but instead of using automatic numbering, you'd use an automatic bullet. Let's change this phone style here, my phone style.
I'll right click on it, or control click with a one button mouse. That lets me edit it with a context menu without changing anything that's already in my document. And then I'll choose Edit, my phone style. I'll go back to the bullets and numbering pane. And this time, instead of making this a number, I'm going to make it a bullet. Bullets in InDesign always come from characters inside of a font. And InDesign gives you a couple options. But none of those are graphics that I'd want to use, so I'm going to add my own. And I can do that by clicking on the Add button. Then, to get the bullet characters that I want, I'm going to choose a different font. I'll just type in w, and it'll jump right down to webdings.
Or, you could choose anything from your list of fonts here. Maybe in wingdings we have something There's a graphic. I like this one here. I'm going to use that for my phone graphic. So I'll select it, and then click, OK. And you'll see that, suddenly, it shows up in my list of bullet characters I can use. I'll select it, and then change this text after, which is currently a code for tab. I'm going to delete that. And instead, I want it to have a space, or maybe an end space. And I can get that from this little pop out menu off to the right here. I'll choose, end space. So it's going to be this character, followed by an end space, followed by the number. Let's see how it looks.
There we go. It's a bullet character followed by an en-space, followed by the number. Of course, because the fax number paragraph style that we created is based on the phone number style, they both changed. So I'd better change fax number. Right click on it, click Edit, come over to Bullets and Numbering, and then add a new bullet. Once again, I'll change this to wingdings and then I'll choose a graphic that fits it. I don't really know what I'll choose. I'm going to grab one of these over here, click OK, select it, click OK, and you can see that now, it's updated on the page. This ability to add text or graphic right at the beginning of a paragraph can really come in handy when you're trying to lay out a document quickly.
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