Join David Blatner for an in-depth discussion in this video Apply formatting to a paragraph, part of InDesign CC 2018 Essential Training.
- [Instructor] We've already talked about formatting that you can apply to individual characters, such as kerning or underline. Now let's get into formatting that you apply to a whole paragraph. I have my Magazine document open from the Exercise Files folder, and I'm going to zoom in on this text in the upper-left corner by clicking the type tool, clicking inside one of these paragraphs, and then zooming in to 200% by pressing Command + 2 on the Mac or Control + 2 on Windows. I'd like to change some paragraph formatting on that headline, so I'm going to click inside of it, and now I'm going to go up to the Control panel and make sure we're in paragraph formatting mode.
Right now, the A is highlighted, so I can see that I'm in character formatting mode. So I'll click on this little button down here, the paragraph symbol, and now I'm in paragraph formatting mode. Now, technically, when you switch from one mode to the other, you're really just switching what's on the left side of the panel, because if your screen is wide enough, you can get both the paragraph and character formatting in the Control panel. The buttons just change which is on the left. Now, in this case, I'm on a pretty small screen, so I can only see the paragraph formatting, but your screen might be bigger, so I wanted to point that out.
Okay, paragraph formatting. Now, you may have noticed that I did not select the entire paragraph. I just have the cursor flashing in the paragraph, and that's all you need when you apply paragraph formatting. InDesign knows, wherever the cursor is, that's where it's going to apply the formatting. Now, that's obviously very different than character formatting where you do need to select all the characters that you want to apply it to. Okay, the most basic paragraph formatting is horizontal alignment. You can see that on the left side of the control panel.
Right now, this is set to left align. That is, the left edge of the text is at the left margin of this text frame, but I could change this to right align by clicking this button over here. Now that paragraph is aligned along the right margin. There are a number of these horizontal alignments, including Justify, which I'd use for a book or a magazine where I need the text to be even down the left and right margins. But in this case, I'm going to use center. There we go. That centers the text in the column. Now I'm going to set some indents.
I'm going to click down here inside this paragraph, and again, I could just click inside of it or select a little bit of text inside the paragraph. Either way. To set the left indent for this paragraph, I'm going to use this field up here. Right now it's set to zero, so I'm going to make it something larger. Let's say 16 points. When I hit Return or Enter, you'll see the whole paragraph moved over 16 points from the left edge. Now, in this case, I don't want to do that, so I'm going to set this back to zero. What I want to do is indent just the first line.
That's this second widget down here. This is called the first line indent, and I'm going to change that from zero to let's say 18 points, then I'll hit Return or Enter, and you can see that this added space just before the first line in the paragraph. When you're trying to indent your first line, you should definitely use this feature. Don't type a tab at the beginning, or a bunch or spaces, or something silly like that. Use the program the way it's meant to be used. Use this first line indent feature. Also, earlier in this chapter, I showed you one way to turn off hyphens, but that was just one word at a time.
Hyphenation is really a paragraph attribute, and you can turn that on or off for a whole paragraph at a time with this checkbox over here on the right side of the Control panel. For example, I'll click this checkbox, and boom, no more hyphens. Now, I would like to add a little bit of space between these paragraphs. And, yeah, I know it's tempting to just type a blank line between them, but there's a rule of desktop publishing that says, if you can help it, never type the same invisible character twice. That means you shouldn't type two spaces in a row, or two paragraph returns in a row, or even two tabs in a row.
So, what am I supposed to do if I want space between these paragraphs, and I'm not supposed to add an extra return, like this, yeah, don't do that. I just hit Return there. That's what you should not do. Let me delete that that. I'll hit the Delete key. So, instead, select the paragraph that you want to change, like I'll put my cursor down here in this paragraph, and then, up in the Control panel, change the Space Before field. That's this field up here. I'm going to change this to, say, three millimeters, and then hit Return or Enter.
There we go. I have space without having to type an extra return. Now, InDesign also has a Space After field over here. It doesn't really matter which one you use. They both add spaces between paragraphs, but Space Before obviously adds space before the paragraph, and Space After adds it after the paragraph. So, alignment, indents, spacing, these are all just drops in the bucket. In the next few movies, we're going to be looking at spanning text across columns, creating drop caps, tabs, and far more text formatting.
- 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