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Basing styles on other styles

From: Up and Running with Styles in InDesign CS5

Video: Basing styles on other styles

When creating paragraph styles, an incredible powerful and time saving feature is the ability to base styles on other styles. This allows you to use the majority of the formatting from the base style with some added modifications. Basing one style on another is efficient because if you modify one style, all styles based on that style are updated as well. Let's take a look at how we can utilize this feature in our brochure. I'm going to zoom in on the top portion of my text frame on this middle panel.

Basing styles on other styles

When creating paragraph styles, an incredible powerful and time saving feature is the ability to base styles on other styles. This allows you to use the majority of the formatting from the base style with some added modifications. Basing one style on another is efficient because if you modify one style, all styles based on that style are updated as well. Let's take a look at how we can utilize this feature in our brochure. I'm going to zoom in on the top portion of my text frame on this middle panel.

In this example, I'd like to set this subheading to span both columns in this text frame. That way this text will align with the body text in the left column. So, to do this, I'm gunna click inside of this Subhead with my Type tool and I'm gunna come up here to my Control panel and I'm gunna click on the drop down menu, and I'm gunna choose span two. Now if you don't see this feature, it could be because you're in your character formatting.

So, make sure that you're in your paragraph formatting so that you can see this span column drop down menu. Spanning columns is new in InDesign CS5 and allows me to span multiple columns within a text frame that has been divided into multiple columns. So, as you can see, we've now aligned our body text, and this Subhead is now spanning both of these columns. So, there's a good chance I'll have to use this later on, so I'm going to make another style out of this text. Now let's take a look at something.

If we go to our Paragraph Styles panel, we can see that we're currently using Subhead to format this text. But because I spanned the columns, it now has an override. That's okay. Because what I'm going to do is create a brand new style out of this spanned column. So, if I hold down the Option key on Mac, or the Alt key on Windows. And i click the Create New Style button, it'll allow me to create a new style from that text. So, I'm going to rename this style, I'm going to call it SubHeadSpan. And notice that because SubHead was origanlly applied to this text, it is currently based on SubHead.

And down here in my Styles settings, you can see that it's essentially using everything from the subhead style. But just adding the Spam column command and a value of two columns. So, this is once again incredibly efficient. Now, if you ever do this and you decide that you wouldn't want to base this new style on another style. You can simply click on this drop down menu and choose No Paragraph Style. And you can see that when I do this it's pulling every attribute from this text into this style.

It's not being based on anything other than the current style. I actually do want to base this on Subhead, so I'm going to change that to Subhead and as you can see this updates accordingly. I'm going to apply the style to the selection and simply click OK. Now, for the first paragraph of body text that appears underneath the subhead, I would like to have no indent. However, the following paragraphs, I would like to have an indent. So, what I'm going to do is I'm going to click anywhere within this second paragraph that currently has a body applied.

I'm going to make sure that I'm in my paragraph formatting and I'm going to come over here to the first line indent field. And I'm going to highlight the value. And I'm going to type 1p for 1 pica. When I press Enter, you can see that that indent has been applied to this text. Body now has an override, because I made a change above and beyond what the style is defining. But I'm now going to create a new style from that text. So, once again I'm going to hold down the Option key on Mac, the Alt key on Windows and click the Create New Style button.

This style I'm going to name Body Indent. And as you can see, because body was applied first, it's basing this text on the body style. Down here in my style settings, you can see that it's using everything from body, but just applying an additional first-line indent. I'm going to make sure that Apply Styles to Selection is selected and I'm going to click OK. And now I'm going to press Cmd+0 or Ctrl+0 on my keyboard, to zoom out. In any paragraph other than the first paragraph that appears under a subhead, I'm going to apply body indent.

There we go. So, once again you can see how by basing one style on another, I'm getting consistent formatting, essentially with a twist. Now how does this really benefit me moving forward? I'm going to zoom in on this text so we can see it a little bit better. And what I'm going to do is in my paragraph Styles panel I'm going to right click on Body and choose Edit Body. And if I were to come in here to the basic character format section and I make sure that my preview check box is turned on.

If I increase the point size of body, notice that body indent is also changing. If I increase the letting of body, notice that body indent is already changing as well. Because body indent is based on body, any changes I make to body are automatically applied to body indent, which is based on body. I'm going to cancel this for now, and the same thing applies for our Subhead. If I were to adjust my Subhead by right-clicking on Subhead and choosing Edit Subhead. Maybe I'll change my character color to say a lighter blue. Once again we can see that every subhead is being updated. Even Subhead span because it's based on Subhead.

I'm going to cancel that as well. So, hopefully you have an idea now of how this works, and how it can really allow you to efficiently apply styles. In this video, you've seen the value of basing one style on another, and how it can save tremendous amounts of time when changes need to be made to your design. When your design calls for multiple variations of a style, remember how useful it can be to base one style on another.

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Up and Running with Styles in InDesign CS5

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Chad Chelius
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