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Author David Blatner provides in-depth training on InDesign CS5, Adobe's print and interactive page layout application, in InDesign CS5 Essential Training. The course shows how to create new documents with strong and flexible master pages, precisely position text and graphics, prepare documents for print, and export designs as interactive PDF or Flash SWF files. Exercise files are included with the course.
Now that you're familiar with character styles and paragraph styles, it's time to talk about object styles. Yes, that's right. You can actually define an object style that with a single click will apply all sorts of object formatting, such as fill, stroke, transparency effects, and more. Let's see how to do it. I'll select this object on my page and zoom in to 200% with Command+2 or Ctrl+2 on Windows, and I'm going to give it some formatting. For example, I'll set the Background color, the fill, to paper and I'll set the stroke to black. Why don't we set the width of that stroke to be something smaller? Maybe just a half point. Nice little thin black stroke around it.
To make it a little bit more obvious, I'll come to the Effects panel and choose an effect such as a Drop Shadow. It's always good to have a little Drop Shadow in there. I'm just filling this out really quickly with some values. For a Drop Shadow, click OK, there we go. I now have an object that has a Paper fill, a black half point stroke, and a Drop Shadow. Now I'd like to apply that same formatting to the other objects on my page. To do that, I need the Objects Styles panel. I can get to that quickly in my dock because I'm in my Advanced workspace.
If I didn't see it there, I can always get Object Styles by going to the Window menu, choosing Styles, and then choosing Object Styles. That's where that lives. But in this case, here it is, the Object Styles panel, and I'm going to make my new object style by first making sure the object is selected on my page and then Option+Clicking or Alt+ Clicking on the New Style button at the bottom of the panel. When I do that, the modifier key forces InDesign to open this dialog box. So I can give it a name. I'll call it My Picture Style. You can call it anything you want, and we can see that all the formatting of this object here has been sucked up into this dialog box.
If I click on fill, you'll see that it's filled with Paper. Click on stroke and you'll see the stroke that we applied, and so on. Notice that I don't see my Drop Shadow because I applied my Drop Shadow to the object, not just the stroke. If I change this Effects for popup menu to Object, now you can see the Drop Shadow that it was applied to it. I'll click OK,and it suddenly makes my object style for me. Now by default, it does not apply that object style to the object that's selected on my page. So, I'll go ahead and click that which applies it to that object. Great! Now I'm going to zoom back to Fit Page in Window with a Command+0 or Ctrl+0, and I'm going to apply that same style to all these other objects.
I'm Shift+Clicking on each one to select all of them one at a time, there we go. I'll click on picture style and you can see that it has applied that object style to each of these objects. Why don't I deselect everything by clicking in the margin here, and pressing W, and then you can really see in Preview Mode what has happened. As you know, one of the best reasons to use any kind of style is that you can edit it quickly later. So I'm going to right-click on picture style, or Ctrl+Click with a one-button mouse, and choose Edit. Now, I can change the style. For example, why don't we make the stroke a different color? How about this green color? I'll make it much thicker too, so we can really see it.
And I'll apply some kind of special formatting to that stroke. So, I'll choose stroke here and let's give it a Bevel and Emboss. Not too big, Maybe just a three point Bevel and Emboss. That will be nice. Click OK, and you can see that very quickly all of the objects have changed. I find object styles are the kind of thing you have to force yourself to use once or twice, but after you use them on a project, you're going to find yourself absolutely hooked on them. You'll want to use them all the time.
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