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Like other page layout applications, InDesign allows users to control the appearance of every element on a page. It helps format elements with style sheets, which collect formatting attributes for easy replication. But that's where the similarities end. InDesign CS3 One-on-One: Style Sheets demonstrates why InDesign's style sheets are far more powerful than anything found in any other page layout program. Pioneering electronic publisher and author Deke McClelland goes to the heart of InDesign's style sheets, and discusses how they define and guide just about every other program feature. He covers how to format words, paragraphs, whole frames, objects, tables, and even entire stories with a single click. Exercise files accompany the course.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts for InDesign Style Sheets from the Exercise Files tab.
Now, let's say you want to load just a few specific settings, with the Eyedropper tool, load some settings, not others. For example inside of this document, let's say that I want to style this text right here, David Soul. And if you are of a certain age, you may recall he is famous from TV's, Starsky and Hutch; not the movie of course. He played the Owen Wilson part and he also sang, 'Don't Give Up on Us Baby' and did a few other things, a huge star back in the days. So huge that let's say that we want to format his name to match this red headline, or sort of red first text at the top of the text block.
So I am going to go ahead. I still have my Eyedropper tool selected here as you can see. I am going to go ahead and Alt-click or Option-click on that text in order lift its attributes and by the way you don't have to Alt click or Option-click exactly on a letter, or the baseline or something along those lines. You can Alt or Option-click just kind of vaguely in the area of that text, and InDesign is smart enough to know, oh that's the text you're looking for, that you want to go ahead and load sort of this big red stuff right here. I'm not sure if I really want to make David Soul's name that big, but let's just give it a shot. Let's see how it works.
Well, it turns out, I don't have to double click and drag over David Soul, all I have to do at this point is click and I am going to just completely damage that paragraph. The reason being this first paragraph here has a Paragraph Style associated with it. We will see what a Paragraph Style is later on in this series, but for now just know that it affects an entire paragraph at a time, so when I lifted that Paragraph Style and then I assigned it to the paragraph below, I styled that entire paragraph as well and of course absolutely ruined its legibility. So we can't tell what's going on anymore.
Let's go ahead and press Control+Z, Command+Z on the Mac, to undo that modification. How do we tell the Eyedropper to lift some attributes and not others? Well, I'll go ahead and double click on the Eyedropper tool here inside the toolbox. Brings up this dialog box and you can see that there are five groups of attributes of the Eyedropper tool can pay attention to. That is Stroke Settings, and the Stroke being the outline of an object. Fill Settings, that's the interior of the object. Character Settings, our character level formatting attributes like typeface, and type style, leading and type size and all that jazz.
Then Paragraph Settings are things like alignment, paragraph spacing, and then we have Object Settings, and Object Settings include transparency settings and special effects. Now, in our case we are not really concerned about Stroke, Fill or Object Settings because this text right here doesn't have any stroke or fill or object settings, but it does have character level formatting attributes and paragraph level formatting attributes. We don't want the paragraph stuff at all, so let's just go ahead and turn that off. We are not trying to lift anything that has to do with the Paragraph Settings at this point. Where Character Settings are concerned, let's go and twirl that open by clicking on the little twirly triangle right there.
And if I go ahead and scroll down the list, unless you can see that there's just tons and tons of character level formatting attributes to choose from and most of them I want to turn off, like Baseline Shift I don't care about it, so I turn it off. Well really, if mostly you want the options off, the better thing to do rather just than just sort of hunt and peck for the once you want to turn off, is just go ahead and turn them all off like so. Notice that I now have this little blue square there that's telling me some things are off and some things are on. Go ahead and click on it once to turn all of them back on, and then click again to turn them all off.
Now, I say OK, I definitely want Color and Tint because I want the text to be red and I know I don't want Size. Maybe I do want Font. I am not sure of there are different fonts or not. Maybe Character Style. This kind of looks bold and this stuff looks regular, so maybe I want that and that's about it. I don't think that I wanted any other stuff, so I will just go ahead and click OK at this point. Now I will once again lift my formatting attributes, so notice my Eyedropper is now empty because InDesign has said, "OK, you just changed everything buddy, you now need to re-lift the attributes." So I have gone ahead and emptied the Eyedroppers is what InDesign is saying.
So go ahead and click on the text once again, and this time I will double click and hold over David Soul, and I have gone ahead and formatted the text red. Now, apparently the typeface and the Character Style are the same for this text and this text down here, so that didn't change, but the color of the text did and that's exactly what we wanted. So if you want to control exactly which attribute you lift and which ones you ignore, double click on the Eyedropper tool in the toolbox in order to load the Eyedropper option settings right here.
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