Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
How do we combine Character Styles and Paragraph Styles together so that we can get multiple formats with a single click? Well, the answer as you probably guessed is Nested Styles. Nested Styles allow us to incorporate or the nest Character Styles into a Paragraph Style definition so that with a single click we can set off a chain reaction. Here is what I mean. I'll turn on the second layer so I can see the starting state of this text, and with one click I can apply that formatting.
Swipe through these three paragraphs, a single click is all that's necessary to apply the formatting. I am going to undo those two steps so that we can see how we can create these from scratch. Okay, so creating your nested styles. First of all, we create the base paragraph style. So I am just going to select this paragraph and do whatever it is I need to do to it. I am just going to leave it as is, but I will take off the hyphenation. Just a word about Nested Styles, it's possible to create these incredibly elaborate Nested Styles where you with a single click apply a whole range of formats.
They are very impressive to see demonstrated, but often it takes so long to set them up that you might as well just go and format the text in a more conventional way. And the other problem with them can be that if you are sharing documents, if you are working in any sort of workgroup situation, unless you were the person who set these things up, they can be really rather confusing as to how they work, especially if you are working with people that aren't quite as switched on in terms of their InDesign knowledge as you are. So I have kept my examples really simple here, and I think that a really simple application of Nested Styles is really where the time-saving and efficiency comes in.
So a common usage is for our running head, where we don't have the room to have our subhead and the body text on separate paragraphs, but we need to save space and have the text begin right after the head on the same line. So I'm going to come to my Paragraph Styles, and I am going to save this as a Paragraph Style, and I am going to call it runin_ns. Now why am I doing that? The reason I am doing this is because it's useful to know at a glance when you glance down your Paragraph Styles panel, what paragraph styles have nested character styles in them.
Otherwise, you may get some very unpredictable results. So that's just a sort of transparency issue and just my own personal convention for working with Nested Styles. All right! Having done that, I can set up the Nested Style while I'm here. You may prefer to first of all set up your Character Styles, but we can do it all in one place, and that's what I am going to do. So you probably remember we saw this earlier when we were working with Drop Caps. We can apply nested styles to our drop cap, that's not what we want here.
I am going to go ahead and click on New Nested Style, and what I'm after is applying my color, but I am going to pretend that I don't have a Character Style already created. I am going to create one, and I'll call it color and then come to my Character Color, scroll down, and I'll use this Pantone color that's in there, Pantone 302, click OK, and then if I move that out of the way, we can see what's happening there. I have the text selected, so we are seeing the inverse color of that, but we can see that the first word is colored, that's because my current Nested Style says apply this Character Style through 1 word. All right! Well, we don't want one word.
Nested Styles depend absolutely on consistency of formatting. So what's consistent about the way I am going to have my run-in heads is they are all going to finish with a colon. So if we look at the options that we have here, I could say through a specified number of words or characters, but I am just going to type in colon, and then when I press my Tab key, we can see that that updates. So I'll click OK, and there is my run-in head. Now actually I also want it to be bold, I forgot that.
So, if you forget something about the formatting, you can now come to the Character Style that you have created and edit that, Basic Character Formats. I also want it to be a different Font as well, Myriad Pro bold, and now we see update in place. Look what happens if I take the colon out of the equation. Without the colon to switch off the Character Style, the Character Style remains on for the whole paragraph. Wherever I insert the colon, that's where the Character Style gets turned off, and it reverts to the normal for the Paragraph Style.
So that's what I mean when I say that consistent formatting is absolutely paramount. Nested Styles can and frequently do incorporate more than one Character Style. Another very common usage of Nested Styles is a Table of Contents page in a magazine. So what I am going to do here is set up my Paragraph Style first of all. I'll select this first paragraph by clicking it four times. Let's turn on my Hidden Characters just so we can see that we have tabs in here, and that's what's creating the hanging indent.
I am now going to press Command+6, or Ctrl+6, to jump to my Font menu, type in the first few characters of the typeface that I am after, and I am now going to switch to my Paragraph Formats, and we would like to have a left indent of 1 pica and 6 points or 18 points, and a First-line indent of -1 pica and 6 points, and that will bring that first character back flush with the left edge of the text frame. Okay, so that's how my paragraph is going to look.
Paragraph Styles > New Paragraph Style, I'll call this contents_ns, and let's say I now want to go and add in my Drop Caps and Nested Styles. So I want two here, New Nested Style. You know what? I'm going to just click OK and then move that over, like so, and then right-click on Paragraph Style name to come back to it so that we can see the change taking effect. So back to New Nested Styles. This is going to color the page number.
I would like it to be bold, and I would like it to be in a color, and I'll have it be magenta. We'll call that page number, click OK, that's looking good. Now I need another Nested Style, New Nested Style, and this time I am going to call it article. And again, I would like it to be bold, but using a different color, we'll use Cyan here. Click OK, and I forgot I also want it to be All Caps, so I can change that.
Unfortunately, you can't go back to the Character Style here, you have to go and edit it from the Character Style panel itself. All right! Now we are going to see that that's okay up to a point, but it's not entirely going to work, and I want you to see why it's not going to work. So when I click OK, I can now select all, and I can apply that, and there is the problem. The problem is that it works great when we have a one-word article, but if it's going to be any more than that, then it's not going to work.
So let me just come and first of all address the casing issue. All right! But we still have this problem. So how do we solve that? Well, as I said, we need consistency. We need to identify a consistent pattern. When some of our article is going to be one word, some are going to be two, three, four, how do we predict that? Well, we can't. In the case of the run- in head, we have the colon, but stylistically using a colon in this example is going to look odd.
We don't want to have that. We need a different solution. I am going to come back, and I am going to edit this again. And what I am going to say when all else files, when you cannot identify a consistent pattern, then you have this option, through--and let me just point out the other choice there is up to. And had I, in the case of this one, chosen up to, it would have colored everything up to the colon but not the colon itself, which is why we chose through. Now I am going to choose through again, but I am then going to choose here End Nested Style Character, and End Nested Style Character is an invisible character that you have to go and insert wherever you want to turn off the Nested Style.
So it does involve some manual input which unfortunately does somewhat undermine the automated nature of the Nested Style. We could maybe go for an em space and then just insert em Spaces after the article or department name, and that might work, too, but I don't want an em space, because an em space is going to visually be bigger than a regular space. So I am going to choose End Nested Style Character, which has no width whatsoever, and then click OK. And then things just get worse, because at the moment that End Nested Style Character is not in the text. We need to insert it.
So to insert it, if I right-click, come down to Insert Special Character > Other > End Nested Style Here. Great! The only problem with that is it's a long way to that menu. So what you might want to do if you are going to use this approach is make yourself a keyboard shortcut, and that's what I am going to do. I am going to make myself a keyboard shortcut. I'll have to have a new keyboard shortcut set to start with. Once you have that set, you can just continue to modify it, but you will need to set to begin with, and then I need to choose the menu that that option is under, it's under the Type Menu.
Then I get a list of everything under the Type Menu. I am now going to scroll down to Insert Special Character: Other: End Nested Style Here, which is right there. Click in the Shortcut field, and we need to use something that is not being used by anything else. On the Mac, we have the fourth modifier key that isn't used that much, the Ctrl key. If I apply Ctrl+X, we see that that's currently unassigned. I am going to Assign that, click OK, and now to insert my End Nested Style Characters, I can just press Ctrl+X, the relevant points to turn off the Character Style.
So when you cannot identify a consistent pattern, you always have the End Nested Style Character to fallback on. One other thing relating to Nested Styles, and that is we have the Repeat option. So let's say that I want to create this effect. I am going to switch back to my Character Formats. Now quick tip here, I am on my Paragraph Formats, if I want to switch to my Characters Formats, I know I have them over there, but I prefer to have them on the left. Keyboard shortcut for that is Command+Option+7, or Ctrl+Alt+7, then Command+6 or Ctrl+6, jump to my Font menu--and let's also make that Semi bold and a little bit bigger.
Okay, so that's how we want that to look. So I am now going to create a Paragraph Style based on this, and as I did before, I am just going to move this part of the page over to the left and choose New Paragraph Style, and we'll call this repeat_ns and come down to my Drop Caps and Nested Styles, New Nested Style, I'll use the color Character Style through 1 word. And if we turn off the Preview, turn it back on again, that's what we have so far, New Nested Style. I am then going to say I want nothing to happen, i.e., just the base formatting for the paragraph through 1 word.
New Nested Style again, and this time I am going to Repeat. This happens automatically, repeat the last two styles. So when I click OK, that's our result. So I am now going to save this out as nested styles_in progress, and in the next movie, I'll show you how we can use the related feature of a GREP style.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
117 Video lessons · 43643 Viewers
119 Video lessons · 54742 Viewers
65 Video lessons · 14911 Viewers
113 Video lessons · 83040 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.
Your file was successfully uploaded.