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We have seen how useful the based on feature can be when setting up styles, and it's common to have one thread of styles based on your body text and another based on your headings and subheadings. In this movie we are going to have a look at sequential styles, and this leverages the next style feature, which is part of the Paragraph Style options. Let's just go and see where it is. It's right there, Next Style. Now, Next Style you can use in a couple of different ways. If you are actually typing the text in InDesign, then if you have a Next Style specified when you create a new line, the Next Style will automatically format that new line with whatever is specified here.
But more interesting than that and the way we are going to use them is to apply styles to text that we already have on our page. Next Styles are very useful when you have a very predictable, very structured text flow. As is the case with this document here, which is a course catalog, the text is always going to come in a predictable order, where we have the course name, followed by the dates, followed by the body text, followed by the prerequisites, followed by the technical requirements. Then that sequence repeats.
So what we can do is we can set up the Next Style parameters, Course name, the Next Style for the Course name is date, the Next Style for the date is body, the Next Style for body is prerequisites, and you guessed it, and the Next Style for prerequisites is tech. So then once we have that set up, we can select a range of text. I am just going to zoom out. What we have on the right page is the same text as what we have on the left but just unformatted. I have an uninterrupted sequence starting here with designing a basic digital character and then going all the way down to right there just before stop motion animation.
And to apply that style sequence, I come to the first style in the sequence, which is Course name, I right-click on it, and then I choose this option. I also have these other variants of it, but essentially assuming that your text is clean, i.e., it doesn't have lots of overrides, then this is the one that we want, Apply "Course name" then Next Style. And we can see that with a single click we apply all of those paragraph styles.
Now for other text sequences, you may be able to go even further. There isn't a way to go further here, because the department heads, Animation, Drawing and Applied Arts, Fashion and Textile Design, their position in the text cannot be predicted, and furthermore, they all vary slightly because they are all color-coded. So it's not like it goes back to a single department animation paragraph style. So that's about as far as we can take it. Here I could then select another.
I went one short actually, I could have selected that one as well. I missed that one. Anyway, right-click on there, Apply "Course name" then Next Style. For other types of text you may be able to take your usage of sequential styles one step further, and that is by adding the style sequence into an object style definition. And this is useful for breakout text like this, where we're not talking about lots of continuous text, various paragraphs where we have to worry about is it going to follow that predictable sequence for three paragraphs, which is what we have here, we can pretty much guarantee that it will.
And if I now come to my Object Styles and then apply the object style to that, we see that happens. So we get all that formatting with a single click, not just the formatting of the three paragraphs, but also the formatting of the text frame that the text is in. So how do we do this? Let's just have a look at this Object Style definition. I am going to right-click on that to edit it, and we can see that we have got predictable things like the Fill, Tint of the box set up, as well as the Inset Spacing, as well as--and this is a CS6 and above feature--the Auto Size Option.
Before I applied that style, this text frame was overset, when I applied the object style, the text frame grew in height only from its top position. But in order to apply the style sequence, it's this option, Paragraph Styles, where we say we want this paragraph style applied to the first paragraph in that frame, and then we have Apply Next Style checked. So when the Next Style option has been set up, you can incorporate that style sequence into an object style definition.
Don't expect too much of it, though. It doesn't take much to break a sequential style. And you don't want to spend two hours setting up a sequential style, which would take you five minutes to format in more conventional ways, but for small pieces of breakout text like this, they can be very, very useful. Having said that, another approach might be if you're working with a document that has lots of this kind of stuff in it, you could just create yourself a library, which I have just called Library.
And then once you have one set up, you can just drag that into your library, and you can give it a name. Next time you need one, you drag it out of the library. And the library can be used by all of your InDesign documents. Furthermore, if you are working with Library items or their close cousin, snippets, you can right-click on the Library item and choose Place, and that will place the item to the exact page coordinates that it was originally copied from.
Some food for thought there with sequential styles.
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