InDesign CS3 One-on-One: Style Sheets

with Deke McClelland
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InDesign CS3 One-on-One: Style Sheets
Video duration: 0s 5h 33m Intermediate


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.

Topics include:
  • Replicating formatting attributes with the Eyedropper tool
  • Creating and applying paragraph styles
  • Formatting stories with New Style and Quick Apply
  • Understanding and exploiting local overrides
  • Augmenting text with character styles
  • Employing nested and numbered styles
  • Using a "list" to number across stories
  • Working with table and cell styles
  • Creating and employing object styles
  • Automating whole page designs with anchored object styles

How style automation works and why every file needs it

Anyone familiar with InDesign knows it to be the best multi page creation program in the business. It offers a level of automation, control and versatility that no other design application can match. Style sheets are a prime example, the ultimate quintessence of automation, control and versatility; InDesign style sheets are several times better than anything found anywhere else. They are so core to the way InDesign works that I would argue come to terms with style sheets and you know InDesign.

Style sheets are your most surefire tools for making the program work at top form. Here's the idea. In InDesign, your job is to assemble thousands of words and hundreds of graphics across document after document of pages. But it's not enough to throw all those objects on the page, you have to define how each and every element looks down to individual page accents and punctuation marks. That's where style sheets come in. A single frame of text comprises a collection of formatting attributes, things like type face, bold, italic, type size, leading, alignment, drop caps, fills, stroke, text wrap, drop shadow.

The list isn't exactly endless, but it's close enough to be extremely boring. But save those attributes as a style sheet and you can apply them all at once to one or many objects at a time. Style sheets are also about conveying purpose, which goes to the heart of good design. Properly formatted style sheets distinguish headlines, from body copy, side bars from tables, plus you can change the style sheet definitions to repurpose a document or suit a different output medium. With the help of style sheets, you ensure that the form suits the function.

In the next several exercises, I am going to show you how to replicate collections of formatting attributes in a few different ways. I will show you the Eyedropper tool, it's really simple and really fast, and surprisingly powerful, and then I'll introduce the bigger theme of the series, style sheets, with specific examples of Paragraph Styles and Object Styles. In yesterday's page layout applications, your PageMaker, your Quark Xpress and the like, style sheets were valuable. In InDesign they are invaluable.

Impossible you say? No it's true, you should be applying all of your formatting attributes, bar none, using style sheets. In this chapter, you'll begin to see why.

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