Join David Blatner for an in-depth discussion in this video Apply basic text formatting, part of InDesign CC 2018 Essential Training.
- [Instructor] We saw in the last couple of movies how you can get text into InDesign and then edit it. Just use the Type tool. But how do you format the text? How do you make it pretty? Well, let's take a tour through your options for text formatting. I have my magazine document open from my Exercise Files folder, and I'm going to jump to the next spread by pressing Option or Alt + Page Down. Now, I'll double-click inside the story on the left-hand page to place my cursor into that paragraph, and now I'll zoom in to 200% by pressing Command or Control + Two.
Now I can see what I'm doing with this text. Now I'd like to format this entire paragraph, and I could drag my cursor over it if I wanted to, but I'm simply going to click four times. That selects the entire paragraph. Now if you're familiar with Illustrator or Photoshop, you might be tempted to go up to the Window menu and look for a Character panel. And in fact, you can find one. It's hiding down here inside the Type & Tables submenu. But I'm not going to choose this, because I don't need to.
I already have all the features I need right in front of my face. Just look up here at the top of my screen. That's the control panel, and whenever you use the Type tool to select text on your page, the control panel changes to give you text formatting features. Now, technically the control panel has two different modes. There's the character formatting mode, and the paragraph formatting mode, and you can switch between them by clicking on this little A on the left side of the panel, or the paragraph marker.
There's the paragraph formatting mode, and there's the character formatting mode. Now I'll be talking about paragraph formatting in a later chapter, but that's where you'd set indents and drop caps and stuff like that. For right now I'm going to stick with character formatting. Now in this mode, the first item I see in the control panel, right up here, is the Font menu. I can change the font really easily by simply clicking on this popup menu and choosing a font from this list. For example, I'll just click American Typewriter.
I'm just picking a font at random here. Now the first thing I notice here is that the font did change, but I'm also noticing that it's all highlighted. Here, let me click out here so you can see what's going on. All the text is highlighted in blue. Now that highlight is a warning. It won't print in that way. InDesign is just alerting me to the fact that I'm adding formatting over and above what's called the paragraph style. I'll be talking about paragraph styles in a later chapter. And you see, InDesign is trying to be helpful here, but in this case it's just confusing.
Like, why is it all blue? So I'm going to show you how to turn off that crazy highlighting if you see it. Here's what you do. Head up to the Window menu, come down to Styles, and choose Paragraph Styles. Inside the Paragraph Styles panel, there's a little button in the upper right corner. See that one? Has a little plus symbol in it. Just click that. That turns off the alert, and we can see your text normally. Okay, now I can close this panel and get on with formatting the text. Let's go ahead and select the paragraph again, and now I'm going to go back and change to a different font, but this time instead of clicking on the popup menu, I'm simply going to click inside the field.
Now I can start typing a name, like N-U-E. Now this tells me there are no fonts on my system that have these letters in it. So, that's okay. What I really meant was N-E-U. There you go. I'm going to come down here with my cursor and click on Helvetica Neue Light. Oh, by the way, I should mention one other trick up here in the Font menu, and that is, you can filter your fonts by classification. For example, I might want to see just my serif fonts, or just the slab serif fonts.
So that's really cool. Or, if I click this little button over here, the one with the wavy lines, that means find me fonts that are similar to the one that I chose. I don't need to do that right now. I want to point out this second field in the control panel, the one that's right underneath the font. This is the style. Now, I already chose Light when I was choosing the typeface, but if I wanted to choose a different font from the same family, I could choose it really easily here. Now I should point out that in InDesign there are often many ways to do the same thing, so you can also change the font formatting by going up to the Type menu up here.
There's a Font menu. But in this case, to change the style, I look inside submenus. By the way, look up here at the top of my Font menu. There's some other fonts. What are those doing here? Well this is the recently used font menu. This shows me all the fonts that I've used since the last time I launched InDesign. They're all up here at the top of the list so I can get to them quickly. In this case I'm happy with the font that I have. I don't want to change it so I'm simply going to press the Escape key to make the menu disappear.
Or, I could just click elsewhere on the page. Now, what I want to do is change the size of this font. That's the third item in the control panel. Right now it's set to 12 points, and I could choose a different value from this popup menu, or I could click inside here and change it manually. I'll set it to 15 points, and then press Return or Enter to make it take effect. Now you know how much I like keyboard shortcuts, so I can't help but give you a keyboard shortcut that you're going to use all the time. The keyboard shortcut for jumping to the first field of the control panel is Command + Six, or Control + Six on Windows.
That always jumps to the first field in the control panel. In this case, it's the font field. So, I could choose a different font if I want, but here, I'm simply going to press the Tab key to jump from one field to the next. I'll Tab over to the fourth field, which is the Leading field. Now some people call leading line spacing, because it controls the amount of space from one baseline, you know, the line that each character is sitting on right here, to the previous line. That's the definition of leading.
Here, let me show you. I'm going to select some text down here, and then I'll go up and change the leading. Let's say 24 points. Now you can see that the line spacing changed, but only for the lines that contain the text that I had selected, and that's because in InDesign, leading is a character attribute, not a paragraph attribute. And this can cause some real problems when you're laying out pages, because you have to remember to select the entire paragraph, or else you'll get uneven leading throughout that paragraph, and this is very different than how it works in many other programs.
Fortunately, you can change InDesign to work the way you'd expect, to apply leading to the entire paragraph evenly. Let me show you how. I'm going to go to the Preferences dialog box, and I'll get there by going to the InDesign menu on the Mac, or in Windows, you'd go to the bottom of the Edit menu. Then, inside the Preferences submenu, jump right to the Type preferences. Now there's a checkbox in here called Apply Leading to Entire Paragraphs, and I'm going to turn that on.
I like to think that this checkbox should be labeled, make it work the way you'd expect InDesign to work. So, I'm going to click that to turn it on, and then click OK. Now nothing changes yet, but as soon as I change the leading of any place in this paragraph, it will reset. For example, I'll set this to 30 points instead. There you go, you can see that it changes for the entire paragraph, no matter what's selected in the paragraph. That's the way I like to work. Of course, this leading is far too large, so let's go ahead and change this down to say 17 points.
Now you can tell there are a bunch of other text formatting features in here, but I'm just going to do one more thing to this text for now. Let's go ahead and select this guy's name, and now I'm going to change the style. Instead of Light, let's make it Bold. And now, I'm going to change the color. I can do that in the control panel too. There are two widgets right in the middle of the control panel over here. The ones that have little T's in them. The top one is the fill color, and the bottom one is the stroke color. In this case, I'm just going to fill this with a purple color.
Just drag down here and click this. And then click out here and you can see that it applied the color to that text. Now of course, font, size, color, these are all just the beginning when it comes to formatting text. In a later chapter, we're going to dive far deeper when we explore more advanced character and paragraph styling.
- Creating a new layout
- Inserting pages
- Adding text
- Inserting graphics
- Applying color and transparency
- Drawing and editing frames and paths
- Formatting objects
- Formatting text
- Creating styles for uniform formatting
- Building tables
- Adding links and interactivity
- Printing and exporting InDesign documents