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Author David Blatner provides in-depth training on InDesign CS5, Adobe's print and interactive page layout application, in InDesign CS5 Essential Training. The course shows how to create new documents with strong and flexible master pages, precisely position text and graphics, prepare documents for print, and export designs as interactive PDF or Flash SWF files. Exercise files are included with the course.
You've seen how a paragraph style can change the formatting for an entire paragraph. But wouldn't it be cool if you could automatically format different parts of a paragraph differently? For example, let's select this text frame, zoom into 400% by pressing Command+ 4 or Ctrl+4 on Windows and look at these run-in heads. I really like to make this word and this colon bold and these three words plus the colon bold. Can I do that automatically? Absolutely, it's called creating a nested style. Here's how it works. I am going to edit the paragraph style for that paragraph.
If I am not sure what it is, I'll simply double click on it to place the cursor there. Look at the Paragraph Styles panel, and see what's selected. Fact text, great! I'll right click on it or Ctrl+Click with a one-button mouse. Edit that. Now, we can add our nested style. Nested styles lives in the Drop Caps and Nested Styles pane of the Paragraph Style Options dialog box. We've talked about drop caps in a previous chapter. Here we are going to focus on nested styles. To make a nested style, you simply click the New Nested Style button. Now, I need to choose a character style out of this popup menu.
If you don't have a character style made yet, you can choose New Character Style. But in this document I've already created a character style that I want to use. That character style is going to make that text Bold Condensed. Now, I need to tell InDesign what part of the paragraph should get that character style applied to it. It always starts at the beginning of the paragraph and then it's going to go through 1 word. Now, even though the Preview checkbox is turned on, I cannot see that nested style take effect until I click in the blank area below here or click OK.
I'll click down there. That makes the nested style take effect. I can see that it's working. It's making it Bold Condensed through 1 word. That works great for the first line, but it doesn't work so well for the next. How do I make this go bold all the way through the colon? Well, to do that I can change these values, and I change them by clicking on them. If I click on the word through, you can see that you suddenly get a popup menu with two options. Through or up to. In this case, I am going to leave it set to through. If I click on 1, I can edit that.
In this case I am going to leave it set to 1. The thing I really need to change here is Words, so I'll click on that. You'll see that you have many different options for things you can choose here. Through one Sentence, through one character, one letter or so on. But what I am looking for, that colon character, is not listed here. So, am I out of luck? No, because I can simply change this word, the thing that says Words, to any character I want. For example, I can type a colon. In fact, here is a super secret trick.
You can type more than one character if you want. For example, a colon, a question mark and an exclamation point. When you have more than one character listed inside this field, InDesign will make this bold through one of any of these. It doesn't search for that string of characters. It just picks any one of those, whichever one it finds first. I'll click in this blank area down here. Let's check it out, move the dialog box out of the way a little bit. We can see that it is now applying the character style through the colon in all instances.
So, that's a great way to handle run-in heads like this. However, there is a rub. Let me click OK, and I am going to zoom back to fit the whole spread in the window with Command+Option+0 or Ctrl+ Alt+0, and I am going to zoom in on this paragraph on the right side of the page. Let's go into 400% there. Now, we can that whenever there is a colon in the paragraph, it's going to work great. But it this case, it doesn't know when to stop applying that character style. So, it does it through the entire paragraph. That's not what I want. I want it to stop after the word Trees, but there is no colon there.
Of course, I could type one or I could type an exclamation or a question mark, since I've set up my nested style like that. But that's not what I want. What I want is it just to stop. Is there any way to tell InDesign to just stop that nested style? There is, but you have to insert a special character. To do that I go to the Type menu, scroll all the way down to Insert Special Character, and then in the Other submenu, I see the feature I'm looking for End Nested Style Here. When I insert that character into the text, you can see that the nested style all of a sudden stopped working after it.
It's an invisible character, so you don't have to be afraid of it somehow printing differently. It just tells InDesign to stop any nested style at that point. You can see how powerful nested styles can be. Now, let me show you one more slightly more complex example. Here, in my flower catalog, I am going to select one of these text frames and zoom into 400%. I can see that I have a skew number on the left side followed by a price. Let's format that. It already has a paragraph style applied to it. So, I am going to double click on it to open the Paragraph Style Options dialog box.
I'll come over here and click on Drop Caps and Nested Style. Let's make our nested style. I'll start by clicking on the New Nested Style. I am going to say I want to apply Bold through 1 Word. Let's try it out, great. I've now formatted my skew number. Now, I am going to create a new nested style and I want it to applying no character style all the way up to that period. So, I'll change this to up to 1 period, simple as that.
Now, I need to move my dialog box out of the way a little bit more, because I have a small screen. I want to apply something to this period. There is something that I want to apply is for it to go away. I want to make it disappear, so I am going to create a new nested style. I am going to create a new character style. My new character style is going to be called disappear. Of course, you can call it anything you want. But here's what I do when I want to make something disappear. First, I change its Character Color to None. It's going to be filled with None. That way it doesn't print at all.
The next thing I am going to do is change its Size to something tiny like, 1 point. I'll go to Advance Character Formats, and set its Horizontal Scale to something really tiny like 1%. So, there we go. I've made a disappeared character style that makes a character pretty much disappear. I'll click OK and I'm going to apply it to my nested style. I am going to apply disappear through 1 character. Let's change this over to one character, great. So, I now have Bold through 1 word, None up to the Period, and disappear through 1 Character.
Finally, I want to apply one last nested style, which is going to be my superscript character style that I've already created through 1 word, in this case, until the end of the paragraph. Click OK, and let's see if it worked. We have bold for this skew number, nothing up until the period, the period was removed and the 99 cents became superscript. Let's see what it looked like before with the Command+Z or Ctrl+Z on Windows. That's before, and now Command+ Shift+Z or Ctrl+Shift+Z for after.
Before and after, looks great. As I have said before, I am all about productivity and automating mundane tasks. It's hard to get any more automated than nested styles doing all the hard work for you.
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