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Nested styles

From: Up and Running with Styles in InDesign CS5

Video: Nested styles

Nested styles are a way of applying character styles automatically within a paragraph style. Nested styles are perfect for consistently formatted text in your layout, and saves a ridiculous amount of time when implemented properly. As you'll see, Nested styles can also be used in a creative manner when formatting text. In this document, I'm going to Zoom in on the caption area between these two photos. And as you can see, this text has not really been formatted yet.

Nested styles

Nested styles are a way of applying character styles automatically within a paragraph style. Nested styles are perfect for consistently formatted text in your layout, and saves a ridiculous amount of time when implemented properly. As you'll see, Nested styles can also be used in a creative manner when formatting text. In this document, I'm going to Zoom in on the caption area between these two photos. And as you can see, this text has not really been formatted yet.

When creating a Nested style, the first step is formatting the paragraph style, using the general formatting you want to use for the majority of the text within the paragraph. So, I'm going to select my Type tool, and I'm simply going to highlight this first paragraph, where it's describing the top photo. And we're going to make a couple of adjustments. I want to make sure that I'm using the Minion pro font, and that the style is set to Regular. I'm going to set my point size to ten point, because I want my text to be a little bit smaller.

And then I'm going to set my letting to 14 point. I never want my caption to hyphenate. So I'm going to switch over to my paragraph formatting, and then I'm going to uncheck the Hyphenate check box. Now I'm actually going to create a paragraph style from this text. We go to our Paragraph Styles panel. I'm going to hold down the Option key on Mac, Alt key on Windows, click the Create New Style button and I'm going to call this paragraph style caption. I'm going to apply the style to the selection and I'm going to click OK. Now, that's the first step.

We have a paragraph style that's been applied to our text. And what I would like to do is, when I have these captions I always want the description here where it says Top and Below, to be bold. So, to do that I'm going to edit my paragraph style. So if I right click on Caption, or Ctrl + click if you don't have a two button mouse, and I choose Edit Caption. I can edit the properties of this dialog box. Now, there's a couple areas where we can apply these Nested styles. And if I were to click on Drop Caps and Nested Styles.

You can see that we have multiple different areas here, that we can apply formatting. Now, the first area I want to point out is the drop caps section. A lot of times people will apply a drop cap and they wonder, well, how can I format that drop cap in a unique way? The way that you do that, is you choose a character style in the drop caps drop down menu. In addition, we have what's called Nested Line styles. This allows you to apply a character style to an entire line in a paragraph.

In this example, however, we're going to use Nested styles. So I'm going to click the New Nested Style button. And you'll notice, that in this drop down menu, the only options I have here, are character styles that have already been created. So, I'm going to choose Bold, from the drop down menu, and I'm going to tell it to apply Bold Through One. And, where it currently says, Words, I'm going to click on that, and I'm going to change that, I'm just going to type a colon on my keyboard. And if I click underneath this area, you can see, as long as your preview is turned on, that we've automatically formatted this section. Now, the only time that you could get into trouble here, is that if you're applying Bold to a font that doesn't have a bold property. That will, in turn, highlight that section in pink because that font simply doesn't have a Bold style.

In our case, however, this is working just fine. So I'm going to click OK. And then I'm going to click anywhere in this bottom paragraph, and I'm going to apply caption to it. As you can see, it's automatically formatting this text, the way that I would like it to appear. I'm going to press Cmd + 0 on Mac or Ctrl + 0 on Windows. And I'm now going to Zoom in on the very top of my page. Because we have some text that shows up here that says Kids Snowboard Camp, 2011. And we want to format that in a creative way, because next year we may reuse this design for the brochure and need to change the name or even the date. So to do this, I'm going to click inside of that paragraph, and I'm going to press Cmd + A on Mac or Ctrl + A on Windows to highlight all of that text. Now, for this particular text I have chosen a font that actually doesn't ship with InDesign CS5.

However, I found this font on the myfonts.com website. So if you are interested, you can check it out at myfonts.com. But if I go to the Character panel, and I go to the Font menu, I'm going to find the font called Zag. So I'm going to choose Zag bold, and I'm going to set the size to 59 points. That looks pretty good. So, with my cursor inside of there, if you remember, step one is to create the paragraph style. So with my cursor inside of this text, I'm going hold down the Option key on Mac, the Alt key on Windows, and I'm going to click on the Create New Paragraph Style button.

And I'm going to call this style Fun Heading. Then I'm going to click OK. And as we can see, this paragraph style is now applied to this text. Now I called this Fun Heading, because we're going to have some fun with this one. I'm going to right click on the Fun Heading style, and I'm going to choose Edit Fun Heading. And I'm going to come down here to Drop Caps and Nested Styles. I'm going to click the New Nested Style button, and from the drop-down menu, at this point I've realized that I forgot to create the character styles for this Nested style.

However, a really great hidden feature is right here, the ability to create my character styles as I go. So I'm going to click the New Character Style button, you can see that it opens up the New Character Style dialog box. And I'm going to call this style Blue one. And I'm going to come down to the character color category, and I'm going to click on the first blue color, underneath this seperator. I'm going to click on that Dark Blue, if we go to the general properties we can see that the only thing that this character style is going to do, is apply blue to whatever I apply the style to. I'm going to click OK.

You can see now it's applying blue through one and currently it's saying work. I'm going to change that to Characters. So once again I'm just clicking on it. Picking the new option from the drop down menu. And then to see the preview update, you just have to click underneath here. So we can see the change. I'm going to click on New Nested Style again. I'm then going to choose New Characters Style. I'm going to call this one Blue too. In the Character Color section, I'll now choose the second blue color and click OK.

This time I'm going to apply Blue two through one Characters again. Now just to point this out, when you're applying one of these Nested styles, you're applying the character style and you can choose Through Or Upto. So, through means including the next one character. If I say up to, it will apply the style up to the next one and then whatever property I choose here. And we can actually change the number in here as well. I'm going to click on New Nested Style again, choose another New Character Style, we'll call this one Blue three, and character color. And I'll pick the third color down.

I want to apply this through one character as well. We can see these start to update. Now we're going to do one more, New Nested Style > New Character Style. We'll call this one Blue four, and in the character color I'm actually going to choose the fifth color. I'm going to skip this one that is 40/10/6/0, because that is the color of our background and the text will get lost. So I going to choose this last option here the 10/2/0/0.

Click OK. Make sure I'm applying this through one character as well. And we can see how, it's alternating this pattern based on the Nested style. It's important to understand that Nested styles are cumulative within a paragraph. So remember, we're applying all these character styles within a paragraph style. So the minute I hit Return, and I apply this paragraph style again, it resets from the beginning. But these are cumulative, so it goes Blue one here, then Blue 2, Blue three, Blue four, and it's just cumulative within that paragraph. I'm going to do one last thing here, I'm going to click New Nested Style, and in this drop-down menu, I'm going to choose Repeat.

And I'm going to tell it to repeat , if I click on the next field here, it'll update, repeat the last. And I'm going to change this to four styles. And if I just click anywhere down here, you'll see that it updates your content. And you can see how your text changes and is now being updated within your text. I'm going to go ahead and click OK. And as you can see this is a great way to artistically and creatively utilize those Nested styles.

As you've seen in this video, Nested styles can automate the formatting of text as we saw in the caption. But in addition you can also really release your creativity and have a little fun with Nested styles as we did in this heading at the top of our page.

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This video is part of

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Up and Running with Styles in InDesign CS5

17 video lessons · 1316 viewers

Chad Chelius
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