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InDesign CS4: 10 Habits of Highly Effective Pros
Illustration by John Hersey

5. Using styles for everything


From:

InDesign CS4: 10 Habits of Highly Effective Pros

with Anne-Marie Concepción

Video: 5. Using styles for everything

When ID professionals work on a publication that's anything more than a few paragraphs long, they use styles. Styles are named collections of formatting attributes. And they use styles to help them quickly format text and objects and tables that keep the formatting consistent and that allows them to easily modify the formatting just by editing the style. Now I've come across a lot of users who put together entire magazines or journals or even catalogs without ever using styles other than basic paragraph.

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InDesign CS4: 10 Habits of Highly Effective Pros
1h 29m Intermediate May 26, 2009

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

InDesign professionals have developed some very useful habits and shortcuts to maximize design time and minimize repetitive tasks. In InDesign CS4: 10 Habits of Highly Effective Pros, Anne-Marie Concepción takes the mystery out of the techniques that professionals use to create successful designs. From customizing InDesign for specific project needs, to using tools like GREP that are built into the program, these techniques can free up time to focus more on the creative process. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Exploring styles to help with design
  • Building custom defaults
  • Working with auto bullets and syncing to save time
  • Using keystrokes and Quick Apply
  • Creating and applying Masters intelligently
  • Mastering autoflow in InDesign
  • Managing links effectively
Subject:
Design
Software:
InDesign
Author:
Anne-Marie Concepción

5. Using styles for everything

When ID professionals work on a publication that's anything more than a few paragraphs long, they use styles. Styles are named collections of formatting attributes. And they use styles to help them quickly format text and objects and tables that keep the formatting consistent and that allows them to easily modify the formatting just by editing the style. Now I've come across a lot of users who put together entire magazines or journals or even catalogs without ever using styles other than basic paragraph.

So it's kind of crazy. I want to make sure that everybody understands that one of the hallmarks of a true InDesign professional is using named styles for basically everything, because though it's a little more work upfront, it definitely pays off in the long run. So we're going to take a quick look at this magazine and the exercise files called Javaco that has some good styles built into it. And if you're ever interviewing somebody for position as an InDesign production person, ask to see some their live InDesign files that they have created. And the first thing you want to do is open up the Paragraph Styles and the Character Styles panels to see what they've done. So this is a very good example of a well put-together styled document.

When you click inside some text, you should see the name of the style appear without any plus symbols, meaning that the style specifications are exactly correct. Sometimes people will start by creating a style say like called Body text or Article subhead and then as they are working and they will slightly change it a bit. Like for example on this spread, which I've done this on purpose. If you select Types of Tea, let me zoom in with the Command+Plus or Ctrl+Plus a few times, you can see it's Body text+ and this is Body text+.

So this is an example of somebody who created a headline, then manually formatted it, but they didn't go on to the next step, which is to create a style based on their manual formatting. And I've come across many documents where they might have 10 or 12 styles, but every style has a Plus symbol after that which makes it basically useless, because if I'm writing another future story, I'm laying this out, how am I suppose to replicate this formatting without the style? If you hover over the Plus symbol you'll see the overrides and in this one there's a ton of it done.

But let's say for example that in this Body text, that after you've been working on it for a while, you kind of like it spread out a little bit. So I'm pressing Option+Right Arrow or Alt+ Right Arrow just once to air it out a little bit. Now, if you do this to every instance of Body text, again you're going to have that same problem of Body text followed by a plus symbol. So what you might want to do is actually just redefine the style to match this new manually formatted look. So I'm just going to go right up here to the Paragraph Style menu and choose Redefine Style.

And then throughout this entire document, everything that was styled with Body text has now been spaced out by this measure by 21,000ths of an em. But this one, we would not want to Redefine Style because otherwise, all the Body text throughout would turn blue and all caps. So in a case like this what you want to do is actually create a style based on this formatting. So I'll just come over to the Paragraph Styles panel and Option+Click or Alt+Click on Create New Style. And here I'm going to call it article subhead and I'll go ahead and leave it based on Body text so that everything is using the same font. And we'll say Apply Style to Selection and Preview, which should not change a thing, correct? Because we're just creating a style based on this formatting then applying it.

Now the question is how can you quickly then apply article subheads to every instance of text in a document that has been manually formatted? Well, in this example there's only one page so it's a simple matter of just clicking in these headlines and clicking on article subhead or using Quick Apply to do so. But another great way would be to use Find/ Change. So I know for example that the only text in this story, I'm going to press Ctrl+A or Command+A, that is colored blue is this text that I don't want to be blue, that I want to be Article subhead.

So I'm going to go to Find/Change. Edit > Find/Change and I'm just going to find format in this story. I'm going to find any text that's colored blue and I'm going to change it's format to the Paragraph Style called Article subhead in the Body Sizes folder and then click OK. And let's try this out. Let's say Find the first instance, it found that instance. We'll say Change and now let's click here to see if it works. Well, I guess it did. And then we'll just say Change All.

So now when we click in these headlines they have all been styled. So if you're the kind of person who wants to be an InDesign professional and you have been styling things manually and you want to give into the habit of using actual styles, then this example of using Find/ Change to find manually formatting text and then changing it to that style is a fast way to quickly create styles in your documents. There are other really cool things that you can do with styles that we really don't have time to go through in this video, but I highly encourage you take a look at some of the other InDesign videos that David Blatner has done or I've done or Deke has done to see things about like Nested Styles and combining Character Styles with Nested Styles and apply first then next style and so on.

So there are lots of fast ways that you can format text using styles. The last style that I want to talk about are the Paragraph and Table Styles and we have an example of this in this document if you scroll up to page 3 and I'm going to switch to Preview mode by pressing the W key and we'll zoom in here a little bit to show you a close-up. This is a table that has been styled with the Table Style. Now to open the Table Styles panel go to the Window > Type & Tables > Table Styles. Creating Table Styles and applying them and modifying them are covered much more fully in one of the other InDesign videos here at lynda.com. But I just want to bring to your attention the fact that you shouldn't be limiting yourself to Paragraph and Character Styles and then Objects Styles, but also Tables and Cell Styles are extremely useful.

You start by creating a Paragraph Style for the text inside the table and then you create a Cell Style for each kind of cell. So the Cell Style can contain a definition of the Paragraph Style that should be used there. So like for map data body I might say Map Table data would be the Paragraph Style that I wanted to use. And then when you create the Table Style, you choose which Cell Styles should be used for body rows and header rows. You also get a chance to specify a specific kind of Table Cell for the Left Column and the Right Column where you might have headers or totals or prices or things like that.

Once you apply a table style to a table, then you can apply that same Table Style to multiple tables and then if you need to change the look of the tables, then again you will just edit the Table Style or the Cell Style without having to go to every last table and manually change the formatting. So it speeds up your work and streamlines everything. Finally, one last point I want to make about styles. If you want your InDesign documents to be the most flexible, meaning that you'll be able to export to a tagged PDF or you'll be able to export your text to XML or make an EPub out of it or export it to the web pages to XHTML. All of those kinds of formats assume that everything in your document has been styled, because they all have these cool 'Map Styles to Other Styles' kind of features.

So you might well just go ahead and style all your text and as many objects as you can in order to keep your documents the most flexible as well as help you become a true InDesign professional.

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