Join David Blatner for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating and applying paragraph styles, part of InDesign CC 2017 Essential Training.
- [Presenter] Styles are a way to specify a whole bunch of formatting with a single name. InDesign lets you create styles for character formatting, paragraph formatting, object formatting, even table formatting and there are three main reasons why you want to use Styles. The first reason is they let you apply a lot of formatting with a single click so they really boost productivity. Let me show you an example. On this first page of my magazine document you can see that none of this text has been formatted so I need to apply formatting quickly and to do that I want my Paragraph Styles panel.
Which normally doesn't show up here in the doc but you can get it by changing to your Advanced workspace. That's this popup menu up here. Currently it's set to Essentials but Essentials is like beginner mode, you're beyond that now so from here on out I strongly recommend you use Advanced. The Advanced workspace doesn't mean you're an advanced user it just means you want to see all these extra panels like Styles. So now over here in the doc I see a Paragraph Styles panel. I'll click on that to open it and I can see that this document has a lot of styles in it.
It also has these style folders and I can open those folders by clicking on this little triangle to the left. There you can see even more paragraph styles. Now let's go ahead and apply those styles to this text. I'm going to start by double-clicking on this text over here. As you know, that switches to the Type tool and places the cursor inside that paragraph. Now if I look over in the Paragraph Styles panel I can see that Basic Paragraph is highlighted. That means that's the paragraph style that's applied to that paragraph. We want to avoid the basic paragraph style as much as we can.
It's much better to apply our own paragraph styles and in this case I have one. It's down here in the Headers folder and it's called Main Headline Blue. All I need to do is click on it and it applies all that formatting to that paragraph, the font, the size, even the span columns. Now you'll notice that I did not have to select the entire paragraph to apply it. I could have if I wanted to but in this case I simply had the text flashing inside the paragraph and that was all I needed. Alright, let's do a few more. I'll click inside the next paragraph, I'll just select some of the text there, and now I'm going to go back to my Paragraph Styles panel, I'll scroll down, I'm going to open the Body Copy folder here, and the one that I want now is called Body Intro Large Black.
Okay, let's do some more. I'll click in the next paragraph and I'm going to come over here to the Paragraph Styles panel and here inside the Headers folder I have a paragraph style called Subhead Blue, that's the one I wanted. Of course you can apply a paragraph style to more than one paragraph at a time. For example, I'll click down here in this next paragraph and just drag all the way to the end of the story. Then I'll come back to the Paragraph Styles panel, scroll down, and I'm going to apply the Body Copy 3 Columns Black style. Now as you can see that applied that paragraph style to all of those paragraphs.
Now I can come in here and fix a few of these if I needed to. That one says Subhead Blue and so is this one and so is this one, and so on, you get the idea. Terrific, you can see that I was able to format this whole bunch of text really quickly. If I had to do that manually, applying the font and then the size and the leading, all of that, it would have taken much longer. Now I'm going to show you how to edit these styles because the second reason to use Styles is that you can change a definition at any time and every place you use that style in the document is updated immediately.
For example, my cursor is currently flashing inside this Subhead style so to edit that all I need to do is come over to the Paragraph Styles panel and double-click on it. Up comes the Paragraph Style Options dialogue box. Now all we need to do is edit the style. So I'm going to come over here to the Basic Character Format and I'm going to say let's make this a little bit bigger, perhaps 13 points instead. Let's also change the color from blue to something else. I'll click on Character Color in this list on the left and I can see that currently it's filled with blue.
I'm going to change it to say pink. Now because the preview checkbox is turned on in the lower left corner you can see that it updates immediately on my document page. When I click Okay you'll see that it's updated everywhere in my document. Now let's edit this body text down here. I just mentioned that to edit a style you double-click on it in the Paragraph Styles panel but I want to warn you about that. You should only double-click on a style if it's already highlighted. For example, I could double-click on this Body Copy 3 Columns Black because it's already highlighted but if my cursor were up here inside this subhead then I would not want to double-click on this paragraph style to edit it.
It's not highlighted. Instead what I'd want to do is right-click on it or Control + click with a one-button mouse. That opens up the Context menu and from here I can choose Edit. Now the reason I like using this Context menu is that I can edit the style without accidentally applying the style to anything that was selected on my page or changing anything in my document. You'll find this Context menu is really helpful. In this case I'm simply going to click on Edit and now I'll change this a little bit. Let's go ahead and make this maybe a little bit smaller, 11 points and maybe I'll make the leading higher, like 15 points.
Click Okay and you can see that it updated everywhere but it did not change my subheads. So now that we've looked at how to apply Styles and then edit them let's talk a little bit about how to create your own new style. I'm going to create a new style for the heading up here. To do that I'm going to create an example and then I'm going to base my new paragraph style off of it. So I need to put my cursor up here. I'll click in the far right corner of this text frame and that places the cursor there and now I can zoom in to 400% by pressing Command + 4 or Control + 4 on Windows.
To make my example, I'm going to click four times on this paragraph to select the entire thing. Now let's go ahead and format it. First, I'll change the font up here in the Control Panel. I'm going to make this Filson I think. So I'll type F-I-L for the Filson font. I'm going to choose Filson Soft Regular Italic. Now I'll come over here and change the size, let's make this a little bit bigger, and I'll set this to an absolute leading, not this auto leading, but an absolute leading of 18 points. Also, why don't we make this all caps by clicking on this little TT button and I can't see that black color against the blue well so I'm going to change the fill color to Paper.
When I click off of it I can see that looks pretty good except I don't want this to hyphenate so I'll go to the Paragraph Format in controls and I'm going to turn off the Hyphenate checkbox. Now let's make our new paragraph style based on that. To make a paragraph style based on an example on your page, like we're going to do here, you can either select the whole paragraph or select part of it or even just have your cursor flashing inside the paragraph like this. It doesn't really matter. Next, I'm going to go to the Paragraph Styles panel menu and I'll choose New Paragraph Style up here at the top.
Now here's the important thing. Because the cursor was inside that paragraph it grabbed all of that formatting and it dropped it into this dialogue box. So now all I need to do is give it a name up here. I'll call this Sidebar Heading. Now of course if I wanted to I could go through each of these panes one at a time to set more formatting but you can see that that would take a long time. Now the last thing I want to do is go back to the General pane and I want to make sure the Apply Style to Selection checkbox is on.
That way it'll make the style and apply it to wherever the cursor is. I also am going to make sure that the Add to CC Library checkbox is turned off. I love CC libraries, I just don't need to add this style to my CC library right now I just need it in this one document. Now, when I click Okay you'll see that it added my new style up here at the top of the Paragraph Styles panel. Let's try it out on another piece of text. I'll zoom back to fit the spread in window with Command + Option + 0 or Control + Alt + 0 and now I'm going to open the Pages panel and scroll down to the bottom and double-click on the numbers underneath the last spread.
I happen to know that I have another sidebar here. So I'll close my Pages panel, click inside this sidebar, and zoom in to 200% by pressing Command +2 or Control + 2 on Windows. Now let's get back to our Paragraph Styles panel and click once on the sidebar heading that we just created. There we go, and this demonstrates the third reason I want to use Styles and that is consistency. I want to ensure consistency throughout my document so I don't have to think about, "Oh geez, was that last one 13 points or 12 points?" It doesn't matter.
You simply apply this style to your headings and you know it's right. One more thing I want to point out about Styles right now. Sometimes you'll notice a little plus symbol in the Paragraph Styles panel. For example, I'm going to come in here and quadruple-click on this paragraph and I'm going to go up to the Control Panel and change something. For example, I'll change this size to 18 points instead. Now notice over here in the Paragraph Styles panel I get a little plus symbol. That means there's formatting on top of the paragraph style, something's different.
We call this local formatting or a local override. In fact, if I put this cursor on top of the style you'll get a little tool tip that shows you what the local formatting is. It shows me that the size has changed. You can also make local formatting or local overrides more obvious by clicking this little plus button in the upper right corner of the Paragraph Styles panel. That turns on the local override alert, which is this highlighting over here. Let me click off here and you can see. See that bright blue highlight? That means watch out, there's formatting on top of the paragraph style or something that's different than the paragraph style.
Now, if you ever have a document or a paragraph where you see that plus sign or this blue highlighting you can do one of two things. You can redefine the style to match the new formatting, and I'll show you how to do that quickly later on this chapter, or you can get rid of all the local formatting. And the way you do that is simply click inside the paragraph, come back to the Paragraph Styles panel, and then click this little button at the bottom. This is the Clear Overrides button and as soon as I click it anything that was done to that paragraph outside of or on top of the paragraph style definition is removed.
Now it's back to the way it was supposed to look and the plus sign and that highlighting disappears. Now, once again paragraph styles are one of the most important productivity features in InDesign. The more you use them the more efficient you'll get.
- Learning InDesign in just 30 minutes
- Creating new documents
- Adding, editing, and formatting text
- Managing pages
- Applying master pages
- Threading text frames
- Importing and editing graphics
- Working with color, transparency, and gradients
- Drawing and editing paths and frame shapes
- Scaling and transforming objects
- Applying paragraph and character styles
- Creating tables
- Building interactive documents such as interactive PDFs and EPUBS
- Packaging InDesign documents for output
- Printing and exporting