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Applying basic character styling

From: InDesign CS5 Essential Training

Video: Applying basic character styling

It's easy to get text into InDesign. Just click in a text frame with the Type tool and start typing. But how do you format that text? How do you make it pretty? Let's take a tour through your options for text formatting. I have my brochure document open here from the Exercise Files folder and I'm going to select this central text frame and zoom in to 200% by pressing Cmd+2 or Ctrl+2 on Windows. To quickly switch to the Type tool, I'll double-click in my text frame. I'd like to format some of this text, so first I select the text that I want to change, then I can have a choice for where I want to make that change.

Applying basic character styling

It's easy to get text into InDesign. Just click in a text frame with the Type tool and start typing. But how do you format that text? How do you make it pretty? Let's take a tour through your options for text formatting. I have my brochure document open here from the Exercise Files folder and I'm going to select this central text frame and zoom in to 200% by pressing Cmd+2 or Ctrl+2 on Windows. To quickly switch to the Type tool, I'll double-click in my text frame. I'd like to format some of this text, so first I select the text that I want to change, then I can have a choice for where I want to make that change.

Many people think they need to use the Character panel, which you get by choosing Window > Type & Tables and then Character. But you know what, I never use this. Why? Because all of these features live up here in the Control panel, so I'm going to put away the Character panel. I just don't need it. When I have text selected, the Control panel shows me everything I need. Now there is something important that you need to know about the Control panel though. When I do have text selected, the Control panel can be in one of two modes, and these modes are controlled by these buttons on the left edge of the Control panel.

The top button shows me the character formatting. The bottom button shows me the paragraph formatting, things that apply to an entire paragraph. To start with I'm going to make sure that this is set to Character Formatting because I want to change things like font and size and so on. I will say however that if you have a really wide monitor, you actually can see both character and paragraph formatting in the Control panel. Then these buttons actually just control which is on the left side of the Control panel. Let's go ahead and see how we can change the font or the typeface of this text.

All the fonts are listed here in the Font pop-up menu. I'll click on that and you can quickly see that there is a long list of fonts on this machine. The current font has a little checkbox next to it. Also pay attention to the little symbol next to the font name. That indicates whether a font is an OpenType font or a TrueType font or if you see a little p1, it means it's a PostScript font. If there are individual font styles within a font family, for example Regular, Italic and Bold, those will appear out here in the submenu.

Now if you know exactly what font you're looking for, you don't have to select it out of this pop-up menu at all. In fact, I'm going to let go of my mouse cursor over here so it won't change my font, and instead I'm going to type-in the name of my font. I could do that by simply clicking in that font field but I'm going to show you a shortcut and that is to press the Cmd+6 or Ctrl+6 keyboard shortcut. That's a really important shortcut because it always jumps to the first field in the Control panel. In this case it jumped to the Font field. I'm going to change this to Myriad, so I type My, and that's all I need to type for it to guess that I want Myriad Pro.

Now I can press the Tab key, which applies that font and jumps to the next field down, which is the Font Style. Inside the Font Style it has all of the different styles within that family. For example if I want semibold, I would simply have to choose Semibold from that menu or type S for semibold, but in this case because I use the menu, it took my cursor out of that field, so I'm going to have to do it manually with my mouse. Now the next field over in the Control panel is the Font Size, right now it's set to 11 point and once again you can choose it out of a menu or type exactly what you want inside this field.

I'll make this a little bit smaller. How about 10.5 points? And again I'll press Tab. Now the next field down is an interesting one. It's the Leading. Leading means the amount of space between one baseline and the next baseline down. Currently the Leading is set to 12.6 points, but that Leading value is inside parentheses. What does that mean? Well, it means that I have Auto-Leading turned on, and Auto-Leading is typically 120% of whatever the font size is.

Auto-Leading is okay if you're just typing a list of things to buy at the grocery or something but in general you want to specify absolute leading so that you know exactly how far it is from one line to the next. In this case I'm going to change that value to 13 points. I'll type 13 pt and hit Enter or Return to jump out of the field. Now I know it's exactly 10.5 points tall on 13 points leading. If you've used the QuarkXPress, you're probably used to leading being a paragraph formatting instead of a character formatting, but here in InDesign it's a character format attribute.

So you need to be careful. Each character on a line can have its own leading. For example, I'll just choose the letter W at the beginning of this and change its leading to something really large, about 30 points. You can see that it added space above that entire line. Why? Because in InDesign, whichever character has the biggest leading wins. In this case this W had 30 points leading, so the whole line gets 30 points leading. That's very different than QuarkXPress and many other applications.

And to be honest it drives me crazy. I don't want to have different leading in the middle of a paragraph most of the time. So fortunately, Adobe gave us a preference, an option for how we want leading to work. I'll go to the InDesign menu on the Mac or the Edit menu on Windows and choose from the Preferences submenu and I'm going to choose Type. That takes me right to the Type pane of the Preferences dialog box, and in here, there is an option called Apply Leading to Entire Paragraphs. I like turning that on and I almost always leave it on because now when I click OK, all the changes to leading will affect an entire paragraph.

Now it doesn't change any paragraphs that have already been formatted but as soon as I make any change to any leading in this paragraph, it'll apply it to every character in that paragraph. For example, I'll change this a here to something different. How about 14 points? You can see that now all the text in this paragraph has 14 point leading. As I've mentioned in an earlier chapter, if I want that preference to be on for all future documents, I'd have to close all my documents and then change that preference while no documents were open.

That'll affect all the new documents I make. Let's look at a little more basic character styling that you need to know about. I'll select all of this text again and come up here to the Control panel and I want to look at these things that are labeled AV. The one on top has to do with kerning. That is, it adjusts the amount of space in between two individual characters. The one on the bottom controls tracking. That is, kerning across a number of different characters. Because I have a whole sentence selected, I'm going to be changing the tracking.

Some people call this range kerning, but it's technically called tracking. If I choose a negative number, it makes all those characters tighter. For example, I'll choose -25 and you'll see that the characters tighten up a bit. Or if you choose a positive number, it stretches them out a bit. I'll choose 50 and you can see that there is extra space between each character. Of course the styling we've looked at so far, the font, size, leading and kerning or tracking, just scratch the surface of what's possible.

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This video is part of

Image for InDesign CS5 Essential Training
InDesign CS5 Essential Training

135 video lessons · 90373 viewers

David Blatner
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 5m 50s
    1. Welcome
      1m 33s
    2. What is InDesign CS5?
      2m 26s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 51s
  2. 54m 49s
    1. Understanding the Application window
      6m 0s
    2. Navigating pages
      6m 39s
    3. Zooming and magnifying
      6m 57s
    4. Managing more than one document window
      3m 36s
    5. Setting rulers and measurements
      2m 9s
    6. Positioning panels correctly
      6m 28s
    7. Saving time by making workspaces
      3m 24s
    8. Setting the view quality of artwork
      4m 9s
    9. Adjusting View and Preview settings
      4m 56s
    10. Rotating pages and spreads
      3m 2s
    11. Displaying a new view with the New Window feature
      3m 29s
    12. Setting application and document preferences
      4m 0s
  3. 21m 31s
    1. Using the Tool panel
      8m 1s
    2. Learning and editing keyboard shortcuts
      6m 24s
    3. Working with spring-loaded tool shortcuts
      1m 17s
    4. Using contextual menus
      2m 51s
    5. Choosing menu items with Quick Apply
      2m 58s
  4. 45m 25s
    1. Creating new documents
      7m 28s
    2. Saving and reverting documents
      3m 41s
    3. Using multiple Undo and Revert
      4m 28s
    4. Setting margin and column guides
      5m 16s
    5. Using ruler guides
      8m 10s
    6. Bleeding colors or images off the side of the page
      4m 29s
    7. Saving objects in libraries
      4m 49s
    8. Exporting and importing page snippets
      4m 29s
    9. Saving for CS4 with IDML
      2m 35s
  5. 31m 18s
    1. Inserting, deleting, and moving pages
      7m 23s
    2. Changing page size
      6m 14s
    3. Adding page numbering
      3m 43s
    4. Changing page numbering with sections
      5m 58s
    5. Creating and applying master pages
      5m 20s
    6. Overriding master page items
      2m 40s
  6. 1h 21m
    1. Understanding text frames
      4m 6s
    2. Typing and editing text
      4m 36s
    3. Filling with placeholder text
      2m 38s
    4. Inserting special characters
      4m 43s
    5. Importing text
      7m 49s
    6. Threading text frames
      4m 1s
    7. Setting text frame columns and insets
      6m 32s
    8. Setting vertical justification and first baseline position
      6m 9s
    9. Putting text on a path
      6m 51s
    10. Using the Story Editor
      8m 43s
    11. Checking spelling
      7m 42s
    12. Using Find/Change
      9m 25s
    13. Tracking text changes
      8m 1s
  7. 49m 50s
    1. Importing graphics
      8m 11s
    2. Importing from Mini Bridge
      5m 27s
    3. Using the Links panel
      6m 34s
    4. Embedding links
      2m 37s
    5. Editing graphics in their original app
      3m 14s
    6. Fitting graphics to a frame
      6m 12s
    7. Taking advantage of image transparency and clipping paths
      4m 53s
    8. Adding live captions
      5m 56s
    9. Colorizing images
      2m 1s
    10. Turning image layers on and off
      4m 45s
  8. 46m 15s
    1. Selecting objects
      5m 32s
    2. Applying basic strokes and fills
      8m 18s
    3. Using advanced strokes
      3m 28s
    4. Adjusting transparency
      4m 38s
    5. Adding drop shadows
      6m 41s
    6. Applying feathering
      4m 25s
    7. Copying formatting with the Eyedropper tool
      4m 35s
    8. Finding and changing object formatting
      4m 50s
    9. Making polygons and starbursts
      3m 48s
  9. 22m 56s
    1. Making interactive documents
      2m 6s
    2. Adding hyperlinks
      5m 52s
    3. Building bookmarks
      3m 38s
    4. Creating buttons
      8m 57s
    5. Animating an object
      2m 23s
  10. 23m 29s
    1. Creating color swatches
      5m 52s
    2. The danger and power of unnamed colors
      4m 47s
    3. Building tint swatches
      2m 18s
    4. Creating gradient swatches
      3m 56s
    5. Applying gradients
      6m 36s
  11. 50m 0s
    1. Positioning objects with the Page Gap tool
      2m 53s
    2. Stacking objects
      2m 13s
    3. Creating and controlling layers
      3m 53s
    4. Managing objects in the Layers panel
      3m 37s
    5. Nesting objects
      2m 46s
    6. Editing frame and path shapes
      4m 6s
    7. Adding rounded corners and other corner options
      3m 57s
    8. Grouping objects
      3m 14s
    9. Locking objects
      2m 39s
    10. Aligning and distributing
      5m 43s
    11. Understanding text wrap
      8m 13s
    12. Using anchored objects
      6m 46s
  12. 18m 49s
    1. Duplicating objects
      5m 39s
    2. Rotating objects
      3m 3s
    3. Scaling objects
      3m 57s
    4. Mirroring objects
      3m 46s
    5. Using the Transform Again feature
      2m 24s
  13. 25m 52s
    1. Applying basic character styling
      7m 8s
    2. Applying advanced character formatting
      4m 54s
    3. Changing case
      2m 51s
    4. Understanding OpenType features
      3m 19s
    5. Using Find/Change for text formatting
      3m 18s
    6. Using Find Font
      4m 22s
  14. 45m 27s
    1. Applying formatting to a paragraph
      4m 14s
    2. Spanning a paragraph across multiple columns
      3m 5s
    3. Splitting a paragraph into multiple columns
      2m 1s
    4. Using drop caps
      3m 16s
    5. Adjusting text hyphenation
      3m 21s
    6. Fine-tuning justified text
      4m 19s
    7. Setting tabs
      5m 54s
    8. Aligning to a baseline grid
      4m 24s
    9. Controlling orphans and widows with Keep Options
      2m 39s
    10. Adding rules (lines) above or below a paragraph
      3m 14s
    11. Adding automatic bullets
      4m 39s
    12. Working with numbered lists
      4m 21s
  15. 31m 3s
    1. Creating and applying paragraph styles
      6m 34s
    2. Using character styles
      5m 43s
    3. Applying styles automatically with Nested Styles
      7m 19s
    4. Using object styles
      3m 27s
    5. Using Quick Apply with styles
      2m 49s
    6. Cleaning up a local formatting mess
      5m 11s
  16. 37m 0s
    1. Creating a table
      5m 54s
    2. Adjusting rows and columns
      6m 35s
    3. Formatting a table
      8m 5s
    4. Adding headers and footers
      1m 58s
    5. Applying table styles
      5m 32s
    6. Adding Microsoft Word and Excel tables
      8m 56s
  17. 10m 26s
    1. Checking your document with the Preflight panel
      2m 54s
    2. Creating a custom preflight profile
      4m 45s
    3. Checking color with the Separations Preview
      2m 47s
  18. 31m 7s
    1. Packaging for output
      4m 13s
    2. Using the Print dialog box
      10m 22s
    3. Exporting a PDF
      8m 47s
    4. Exporting an interactive PDF
      3m 59s
    5. Exporting text
      1m 36s
    6. Exporting SWF files
      2m 10s
  19. 1m 32s
    1. Finding more information and help
      1m 12s
    2. Goodbye
      20s

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