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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.
I am still working inside that same Numbers & bullets.indd file that I opened in the previous exercise wherein we change the numbering of the first paragraph on the left-hand page to begin at number 9, and we change the lower paragraph on the right-hand page to reset to number 1. So that's good, that's the way we want it, but we still have some problems with these numbers. First of all, they aren't styled properly and then secondly, they don't align properly. If I went ahead and dragged out a vertical guide here from the left-hand ruler and let's say I'll drop it roughly at this point here.
You can see that the 10 aligns quite nicely, actually we have enough room for that double digit number right there, but when I have a single digit number, it ends up aligning left. It needs to align right so all of the single digits are in a row with each other and then when we add a double digit, it goes left, which is the way you actually align a numbered list. That's the way you are supposed to do it. So what we have got here is wrong. So here's how it's going to flesh out. In this exercise, I am going to show you how to assign a Character Style to the numbers.
In the next exercise, I am going to show you how to set up an elaborate system of guides. That's going to seem elaborate; it's just due diligence essentially so that we can get a sense of how our number should align, and then in the exercise after that, we are going to actually apply the alignment. Now the reason we are working so slowly and deliberately is because this is a bizarre feature. It's just strangely implemented. I don't actually like the way it is implemented, but it does work once you understand it. So I am going to undo the addition of that guideline and let's set about making sure that the numbers are styled properly.
I am going to bring up the Character Styles palette so that we can see that we do indeed have a style called Step Number that should be applied to the numbers. Now I can't apply it manually, if I want to zoom in on the number and I want to switch to the Type tool by pressing the T key, in no matter how hard I try to select that number, it's not there; it's a ghost, it's ephemeral. It's something that InDesign is in charge of. So if I want to style that number, I have to edit the larger Step style sheet and I have to essentially nest yet another Character Style into it. This time one that I am applying not using the nested function but using the automatic numbering function instead.
So let's press Ctrl+Shift+A, Command+Shift+A on the Mac in order to deselect our text and other objects. I am going to switch over to the Paragraph Styles palette, double click on the Step style, move the dialog box over a little bit so we can see the number changing on screen, if indeed I have the Preview check box turned on which I do. I'll switch down here to Bullets and Numbering. There's my guy right there; Character Style. This is yet another form of nested Character Styles inside of InDesign. Let's go ahead and switch our Character Style to Step Number right there.
Immediately you will see the number change. It's still not aligned properly and you do align numbers using this strange set of alignment functions down here, they look like they are easy enough to use, but they are not. You will see. Go ahead and click OK for now in order to accept your modification. At this point you may wonder, alright that worked beautifully. My number is now styled exactly as I want it to be styled, but if I move down here, yes that number's styled correctly too; all the numbers are styled properly. Why did the bullets remain the way they want to remain? I don't want to style them with that Step Number style, but why didn't they get styled with that Step Number style given that Step Bullet is subservient to Step.
It's the child and Step is the parent. Of course, I have children, they are not always subservient, but you get the idea, I am going to go ahead and double click on Step Bullet so we can get to the root of this issue. Notice that it says this style, Step Bullet is based on Step (Step styles), what the heck is that Step styles item? Well that's telling us that Step, this guy right there, appears inside of the Step styles group. Sure enough it does. They both do, they're both inside that group. Okay, so fine, so it is the style that we were thinking of. So let's go down here to Bullets and Numbering.
Notice we did not assign the Character Style to the bullets, that would have been a bad thing, but why didn't it happen? Well because I had changed List Type from Numbers to Bullets. That one change basically ruled out this entire panel of options from consideration. So this entire panel is now operating independently inside Step Bullet from the modifications that I have applied to the Step style. As I say, that's a good thing but just something I wanted you to be aware of. In this next exercise, we are going to begin to take care of the alignment problems associated with these numbers by setting up an elaborate system of guides.
You will see how useful this can be and I think honestly, you'll learn a trick or two along the way.
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