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Adobe InDesign styles let you format content in your layouts easily, accurately, and consistently. In this workshop, expert trainer Chad Chelius teaches how to use every kind of style: character styles, paragraph styles, nested styles, object styles, and table styles. Learn about style overrides, the Next Style feature, importing styles from Word, sharing styles between documents, and much more. If you create content that requires consistent formatting, this workshop can help you work faster and more efficiently.
Paragraph style should be the first type of style that you create when formatting text in InDesign. Think of paragraph styles as the styles that are used for the majority of the global formatting in a document. Paragraph styles are applied to text on a paragraph level. What does that mean? Well let's take a look. I'm going to zoom in on the top portion of my text in this middle panel. So I'll just hold down Cmd+Space Bar on Mac or Ctrl+Space Bar on Windows as I marquee on the top of this text. Now to see what I want to show you, I'm going to turn off preview mode by clicking on this left icon at the bottom of my Tools panel. And then up here in my application bar, I'm going to click on my view options button and choose Show Hidden Characters.
Or if you're using an older version of InDesign, you can go to the Type menu, and choose Show Hidden Characters there. And as you can see, the shortcut is Cmd option I or Ctrl+Alt I on windows. The hidden character allows me to see characters that don't actually print in my document. However, they are very important because they allow me to see things that I don't normally see in the regular viewing mode. What defines a paragraph is simply a hard return. Usually when I ask people this question, they think it's a trick question but it's pretty simple. When I hit the Return key on my keyboard, it creates a new paragraph. And that's why I see this icon here at the end of every paragraph in my document.
Now, I'm a big proponent of only using that character when you truly need to define the end of one paragraph and the beginning of another. People will often hit a double return in between paragraphs or hit multiple returns to indicate spacing between what may normally would consider a paragraph. Or they'll insert a paragraph return where one is not necessarily needed. So my point here is that paragraph styles format paragraphs as a whole.
So what I'm going to do is I'm going to switch my Type tool, and I'm going to highlight this first line of text that says it's all about the kids. Now I want to point something out here that's kind of unique in InDesign. If I highlight this text from left to right, it will also select the paragraph return. If I highlight right to left, it does not. Now this doesn't really affect us when applying paragraph styles, but it can affect us when we're formatting text manually.
So I often tell people, when you highlight text, either highlight left to right, or simply triple-click within the line to select the entire line and its return. Now we're going to start formatting this text the way we want our subhead to appear. So I'm going to switch over to my character formatting by clicking on the Character Formatting button, and I'm going to change my font to Myriad Pro, Bold. I'm going to change my point size to 18 and my leading to 18 as well.
I'm going to make sure that my fill color is active and in my swatches panel, I'm going to choose this dark blue color. Click on My Swatches panel to close it. Then I'm going to switch over to my paragraph formatting, and I'm going to set my Space Before, I'll highlight that value, and I want to add 15 points of space above this paragraph. So if I highlight that field and type P15 and hit Return, that will apply Space Before above this paragraph.
Now, you're not actually going to see it in this first paragraph because space before never is applied in the first paragraph of a frame. So with this text selected, or you can actually just click inside of this line of text, I'm going to go to my Paragraph Styles panel. And you can see that whenever you work inside of InDesign your always working from the basic paragraph believe it or not your always using one style in InDesign. And that style is called the basic paragraph and it simply indicates the default.
Appearance of the text inside of InDesign when you begin working. Now you can see that right now Basic Paragraph has an override because we've changed that text. So from that text we're going to create a brand new style. To do that I can just click this button, which is the Create New Style button. But you'll notice that if I do this, it creates a new style with a default name of Paragraph Style one. I like to name my styles appropriately when I create them so I'm going to undo that by pressing Cmd+Z on Mac or Ctrl+Z on Windows.
And this time to create this style, I'm going to hold down the Option key on Mac or the Alt key on Windows and I'm going to click the Create New Style button. I'm going to name this style Subhead. In addition, you can see that in the style settings that it's picking up all of the attributes that are defined inside of this style. I'm going to make one additional change to this heading. I'm going to come over here to the Keep options. I'm going to tell it to keep the lines in this paragraph together, and I'm actually going to tell it to keep all the lines in this paragraph together.
That prevents my sub-head from ever splitting across multiple columns. In addition I'm going to tell it to stay with the next one line that appears after it. This helps to avoid my subhead breaking apart from the text that follows it. All of these categories on the left hand side control all the different properties on how this style is bahaving. And you can see how there are so many properties in here to choose from that it can actually be a little bit confusing.
That's why the easiest way to create a style is to format your text the way you want it to appear, click inside of that text and create a new style from it. Because that new style is going to pick up all those attributes of that formatted text. Before I click OK, I'm going to turn on the apply style to selection so that it applies my new style to the text that I'm clicked inside of. When I click OK, you'll notice that subhead automatically gets applied to that text. If I move my document up, to go to the next section that says the facility, I can click inside of there and choose Subhead.
I can see that that style's applied, using the exact same formatting defined in Subhead. I'm going to move up to the top of the second column. Once again, I'm simply holding down the Option key on Mac, or the Alt key on Windows. And actually this world class instructors is the next paragraph I want to format. So apply Subhead to it. That takes care of our subheadings, so I'm going to go back up to the top of my text frame and now we're going to format the body of the text. So to do this I'm going to select this first paragraph. And we are going to go up to our character formatting and I am going to make sure that my font is set to Minion Pro.
Now I should point out that if you don't have Minion Pro on your system you can select any font of your choice for this lesson . However, Minion Pro is a font that ships with InDesign CS5. So I'm going to make sure that mine is set to minion pro regular, I'm going to change my point size to 13 point and in my letting field you can see that my letting value is currently in parenthesis. This indicates that it is using auto letting. I prefer not to use auto letting so I'm just going to highlight this field and type 16 in that field and press return and that'll apply that formatting to the text.
In addition, I'm going to switch over to my paragraph formatting. And I'm going to find the space after field. And in that field I'm going to highlight the value and once again I'm going to type P 15, and press Enter. That applies 15 points of space after this paragraph, thereby avoiding the need to double return in between this paragraph and making it much easier to edit in the future. I'm going to click anywhere inside of this paragraph.
And I'm going to hold down my Option key on Mac or Alt key on Windows, and I'm going to click the Create New Style button. And I'm going to name this style, Body. Now, I'm going to add one more attribute to this. I'm going to go to my keep options once again. I'm going to choose Keep Lines Together. And I'm going to tell it to keep the first three and the last three lines of the paragraph together. I'm going to click Okay, and you could see that body has now been applied to this text. Now I'm going to press Cmd 0 on Mac, or Ctrl 0 on Windows to zoom out of my text. And I'm going to simply click inside of every one of these paragraphs, and apply Body to it.
And see, I can select a range of text and apply Body, I actually don't have to highlight the entire paragraph as long as I'm highlighting part of it. And that's because a paragraph style can only apply to an entire paragraph. I'm going to undo this for a second. Just to show you that I can highlight one word. But when I apply a paragraph style, it applies to the whole paragraph. That's an important concept to understand. So I'll apply body to the remainder of my text.
And now you can see that my text is formatted accordingly. Now what this really does is makes it very easy to modify in the future. Let me show you. If I edit Body, and we can do this a couple of different ways. But if I right click on Body, or if you don't use a two button mouse you can hold down the control key on Mac and click I would choose edit body. And if I come over here to my basic character formats, you can see the properties of the body style.
Now if I turn my preview on and I increase the point size of my text, I can see a live view of what my text is going to look like. So I'll change my size to 14, my leading to 17 and as you can see, my text is updating live. And that is because this style's applied to all those different areas of my text. I'm going to click OK. So as you can see, it's very easy to edit that style.
But let me show you another way. I'm going to zoom in on this first paragraph of text. And I'm going to highlight it. Now another way that I can update a style is to format text that has the style applied. I'm going to come up here to my character format. I'm going to change my size back to 13 and myUNKNOWN back to 15 and notice that my body style now has a plus sign. So, I showed you that you can Option click on Mac or Alt click on Windows to remove that override.
But another thing that I can do, is I can say you know what, I like that override and I want it to be part of the style. So what I can do is I can right click on that style and I can choose Redefine Style. And when I do that, it makes those changes part of body and if I press Cmd+0 or Ctrl+0 on my keyboard, you can see that every instance of body has been updated to reflect that change. So you can see, creating paragraph styles allows you to globally format large areas of text in a consistent manner and making it even easier to update those styles in the future.
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