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Author David Blatner provides in-depth training on InDesign CS5, the print and interactive page layout application from Adobe, 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.
Styles are a way to specify a whole bunch of formatting with a single name. InDesign lets you create styles for character formatting, paragraph formatting, object formatting, even table formatting. In this movie we will focus on paragraph styles. Now I've gone ahead and created several styles in this document already and I can see that by going to the Window menu, choosing Styles, and then choosing Paragraph Styles. Here is a list of all the styles in this document. Now there are three main reasons to use styles. First, they let you apply a lot of formatting with a single click.
So they really boost productivity. Let me show you. I'll zoom in on this part of the page. I'll double-click on this heading here. We can see that no formatting is applied to it, and then I'll apply some formatting with a single click by clicking the Flower paragraph style. The font, style, size, and leading have all been applied with one click. I'll do the same thing to the next paragraph. Click Description and all of that formatting is applied with one click. The second reason to use Styles is to ensure consistency throughout your document because you don't have to think about, oh geisha, what was the last thing I formatted? Was it 13 points or 14 points? You simply apply the style to all the heads and you know they'll all look the same.
Finally one of the best reasons to use Styles is that you can change the style definition at any time. And every place you use that style in your document is updated immediately. For example, I'm going to pan down here so we can see all of these different headings at the same time and I'm going to edit this Flower style. Now I could double-click on the Flower style to do that. That would bring up the Edit dialog box, but if I did that it would apply the Flower style to whatever I have selected and if nothing was selected, it would actually change the default style, which would be applied to all new text I create.
So I don't like double- clicking on styles if I can avoid it. Instead, I right-click on the style or Ctrl+ Click with a one-button mouse and choose Edit. Up comes the Paragraph Style Options dialog box and now I can change the definition of the style. In this case I'll choose the Character Color pane and choose a different color. Let's make this blue instead. Because the Preview checkbox is turned on in the dialog box I can immediately see that all my flower headings have changed to blue. I could make other changes as well. For example, I'll change the font or the size or change indents and spacing and so on.
You change the paragraph style definition and it changes everywhere in your document. Okay, now that we know about paragraph styles, it's time to make our own. Let's go ahead and click OK. I'm going to scroll up to the top of the page here and we can see that we have some formatted text. But in this case if I select that text, we see that the Paragraph Styles panel says that it's basic paragraph. That means there's no paragraph style applied to this except for the one that always comes with InDesign. There's also a little plus sign after it. And that plus means there's local formatting on top of basic paragraph.
In other words, I simply applied local formatting by changing the font and the size and so on to this text. Now I want to take all that formatting that I have applied and turn it into a paragraph style so that I can use it later in this document. To do that, I'll go to the Paragraph Styles panel menu and choose New Paragraph Style. Now the great thing about this is that because I had some text selected on the page all the local formatting that I applied there is sucked up into this dialog box. We can actually see here that the font, styles, size, leading, and so on is included in this already.
That means I don't have to go through here and fill this in one pane at a time, which would really be a pain if you pardon the pun. So now all I really need to do is come in here and change the style name. I'll call this section head. The one last thing I am going to pay attention to though in this dialog box is this checkbox here, Apply Style to Selection. If that's turned off when I click OK, InDesign will make the paragraph style but it will not actually apply it to the text that I have selected. So I like having that turned on. Here it makes a style, it adds it to the Paragraph Styles panel, and it automatically applies that style to this paragraph.
Let's do it again with his paragraph. Here again all the formatting has been applied locally so I'm going to make a paragraph style. But instead of going up to the Paragraph Style panel menu I'm just going to click on this button down here. That's the New Style button. Unfortunately if I simply click that button, it makes a style for me but it does not apply it to the paragraph and it just calls it Paragraph Style 1. That's not very helpful at all. So I'll undo that with a Cmd+Z or a Ctrl +Z on Windows and instead I'm going to Option or Alt+Click on that button.
That forces the New Paragraph Style dialog box to open so I can name it. I'll call this section description. I'll make sure Apply Style to Selection is on, click OK, and there we go. Made the style and applied it. Let's try out our new styles. I'll pan over to the next page, select the first paragraph, click on section head and we can see it worked. Click in the next paragraph, click on section description, and that worked too. Now that you know how to make and edit your paragraph styles, I do want to teach you a couple of more advanced features having to do with styles.
The first is how to break a link to your paragraph style. You want to break the link to the paragraph style, that is, remove any connection to the paragraph style, if you want the text to look exactly the same, even if the paragraph style changes. For example, maybe I want this heading to always look like that even if someone else later goes and changes the paragraph style. To do that select the paragraph, go to the Paragraph Styles panel menu, and choose Break Link to Style. You can see that now the Paragraph Styles panel shows No Styles. That means there is no style associated with this paragraph.
So even if I later go and change the paragraph style for section head, this paragraph will not get updated. The second thing I want to point out is what do you do when somebody applies local formatting on top of your paragraph style. For example I'll select this whole paragraph and I'll change its font to something like Myriad, maybe Italic, maybe make it bigger. You know I'm really messing this thing up. So I'd like to remove all of that local formatting. As you can see, there is a little plus sign following the paragraph style name. If I hover over that it shows me a little tooltip to show me exactly what local formatting was applied.
But what I really want to do is remove it all, just get rid of all of it. InDesign makes that simple. All you need to do is place your cursor inside the paragraph, go down to the bottom of the Paragraph Styles panel and click on this little Remove Overrides button. It looks like a little paragraph symbol with a red line going through the Plus. When I click that it strips out all the local formatting that got added there. I find that very useful especially when someone sends me a document and they've added all kinds of local formatting that shouldn't be there. Paragraph styles are one of the most important productivity features in InDesign.
The more you use them the more efficient you'll get.
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