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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.
In this exercise, we are going to assign a keyboard shortcut to the new Step leader style. More importantly however, I am going to give you a sense of how I go about organizing my keyboard shortcuts, who gets the priority? Just FYI, this is just based on my own experience. Your experience of course may vary. Then we will go ahead and base the Step leader style on Step number so that they are in sync with each other, for future modifications that we will be making. Alright, so I am going to press Ctrl+Shift+A or Command+Shift+A on the Mac to deselect my text and by the way if you are just joining us, I am looking at a catch-up document called Step leader style.indd found inside the O4 Charstyles folder, short for Character Styles, of course.
Now, let's go ahead and take a look at the current occupants of the Paragraph Styles and Character Styles palette. First, I will switch over to Paragraph Styles and notice that I have assigned keyboard shortcuts to some, but not all of my Paragraph Styles. I am only assigning keyboard shortcuts to the ones that I use the most and the ones that have the biggest priority. Also, notice that I am giving all of my shortcuts Ctrl+Alt and a number, that would be Comman+Option and a number of the Mac. That's just how I have it organized for this particular document, fine and notice if I go over to Character Styles and bear in mind Character Styles are secondary to Paragraph Styles.
If I only had one kind of style sheet that I could use, it would definitely be Paragraph Style, they are that much more important than all of the other styles. Character Styles are useful of course, but they are secondary styles. So, why do I favor them with Ctrl or Command and a number and that's it. I am not pressing like Shift or Alt or Option or any of those, just Ctrl or Command, number sign that's all and in fact, I am going to favor them again. I am going to go over here to Step leader. I am going to double-click on Step leader and notice I can give it a shortcut.
So I will click inside the shortcut, what I am asking you to notice actually is be aware while you are assigning a shortcut of what your previous shortcuts were. So, you already have one, two, three and nine, if you are not careful and you just say, "Hey, I am going to give this Ctrl+1, you may notice that Ctrl+1 dims here for Emphasis bold and that is because you are about to override it. Whoever you assign the shortcut to last is the one who gets the shortcut. So, if you end up overriding, another shortcut is just going to appear dimmed inside the palette. In case you have tons and tons of styles going on inside of a document and you see some of them are dimmed, that means that at one point in time, they got overridden, just so you know.
So even, watch this, if I press Ctrl+5 in order to take care of that problem, because I notice I just replaced that or I just took the risk of replacing it anyway. So, let's change it to Ctrl+5 and of course 5 on the numerical keypad, that still goes. You always have to use the numerical keypad for styles and that doesn't override anything at this point. That is unique, I go ahead and click OK and yet Ctrl+1 is still dimmed and it may or may not work actually at this point. If you want to take care of that problem, just go ahead and double-click on the style and that will go ahead and reinstate the style, you don't even have to enter anything into shortcut there, just go ahead and cancel at that point, you will notice that you have reinstated the style.
Just in case you run into that problem or of course you know, if you really had over in this style, you would have to take care of that issue. Alright, so the larger question though that I asked the moment ago and I still haven't answered this, why am I favoring Character Styles over Paragraph Styles? And the reason is that often times with Paragraph Style for example, I have got a step following a step following a step. So, next style after step is another step, so I am really not applying Paragraph Styles all that often, even though they are more important, I just don't have to apply them that often, whereas Character Styles, all these little weird exceptions are appearing all over the place, so I really want to be able to very quickly apply these styles and I just have to remember what they are.
Really even though we are assigning a bunch of numbers, so it's not like -- there is some way to remember them in any particular way, they just become like phone numbers. After some time, you spend enough time in a document, you just start to memorize the ones that you have created, the ones that are the most important. So, I just try to put them, just assign a priority, like I know that the style I assign most often is going to be Emphasis bold, secondary to that, the second style I apply is going to be Emphasis italic and so on and so on throughout a document. Anyway, I give Character Styles priority over Paragraph Styles where shortcuts are concerned.
One more thing that I want to do here of course is base Step leader on Step number. So I am going to press Ctrl+Shift+A, once again Command+Shift+A on the Mac in order to deselect my text and then I will go to Step leader, double-click on it, remember it's the child that you want to set to Based On. So, I grab Step leader, it is going to be a child to Step number, so Step number is going to be the parent and then I click OK. Notice by the way that that doesn't do any harm to the text, it does change slightly what appears here in Style Settings. So, if I didn't have any Based On, it was set to none, then it is telling me it is none, of course there is no Character Style plus Bold Italic, size 11, color Autumn Brown.
Whereas if I change it to Step number, it is just Step number plus Bold Italic, that's only difference because Step number already includes Autumn Brown and a type size of 11 point. I will go ahead and click OK and we have done it, we have given the style both a parent, for orphan, it now has a parent and a keyboard shortcut. We are now ready to assign that style to the other Step leaders which is something that we will do in the very next exercise.
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