Join Deke McClelland for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating paragraph styles, part of Introducing InDesign.
- In this movie, I'm going to show you how to work with paragraph styles which rank among the most essential ingredients to successfully laying out pages inside InDesign. A paragraph style allows you to assemble and apply entire collections of both character and paragraph level formatting attributes and I'd really like to see you get in the habit of using them to format every document you create. Now, our first step is to bring up the Paragraph Styles panel which you get to by switching to a different workspace.
So, go up to the word Essentials in the upper right corner of the screen here, click on it to bring up this pop up menu, and choose the very first option Advanced in order to bring up a few more panels over here on the right-hand side of the screen, then click on the words Paragraph Styles in order to bring up the paragraph styles panel. Now, I'm gonna need to make my panel a little longer so I'll drag down on this bottom edge to the panel here. Now, in the case of this document, I've created a few styles in advance.
For example, if I double click on this text right here, this headline that reads The 3D Power of Photoshop, that'll go ahead and switch me to the type tool, as usual, and position the blinking insertion marker, and then we can see here inside the Paragraph Styles panel that the text is tagged to a style called Headline, and in fact, every headline inside this document is tagged to that same style, so if I ever modify that style definition, then all of my headlines will change in kind.
We still need to create two more styles, however, that is the standard texts that folks will be reading in my notes. So, I'm gonna click inside this first paragraph right here, the one that begins: If you own Adobe Photoshop, and I'm gonna make a new style. Now, there's a couple of different ways to make a style. One is to click on this little page icon at the bottom the Paragraph Styles panel and that's gonna create a new style with a generic name as you're seeing right here. The problem with working this way is that it's easy to lose the new style in a long list, and also, notice that the style is not highlighted.
That indicates that InDesign isn't automatically styling the text as you create the style which rather defeats the purpose. So, let me show you a better way to work. I'll go ahead and press ctrl + z, or cmd + z on a Mac, to undo the creation of that new style, and instead of just clicking on this little page icon, you wanna press the alt key, or the opt key on the Mac, and click on it and because you have the alt or opt key down, InDesign will bring up the new Paragraph Style dialogue box.
Now, this is a pretty daunting dialogue box. It contains a ton of formatting options but we only need to worry about two settings: the Style Name and this checkbox down here. So, go ahead and name the style Body copy and then turn on this checkbox: Apply Style to Selection, and then click Ok, and notice that we now have a new style called Body copy and it's highlighted which means it's applied to that first paragraph. Now, we need to style these other paragraphs which I've colored in green so that they stand out.
Now, InDesign applies paragraph styles to entire paragraphs at a time which means that you only need to partially select those paragraphs. So, I'm gonna drag from these last couple of words in the second paragraph down to the first few words in the last paragraph. So, that those middle paragraphs are entirely selected but the top and bottom ones are just partially selected, and then to style them all you need to do is click on the words Body copy like so, and that automatically updates the text.
Now, if you see a little plus sign next to the style, that's not anything to worry about at this point. Notice if I click someplace inside of the second paragraph right here that plus sign goes away but in a moment, we're gonna see that it actually has some meaning. Now, notice that all of my paragraphs are indented, including that first paragraph, and I was telling you in the previous chapter, you don't really have to indent the first paragraph, because after all, it stands out fairly obviously from the headline above it and an indented first paragraph looks a little bit amateurish from a design perspective.
So, I'm gonna go ahead and click in that first paragraph in order to set my blinking insertion marker and then I'll click on the backward P up here in the control panel to switch over to my paragraph formatting controls and then I'll click on this first line left indent icon to select that value to the right of it and I'll change that value to zero, and I'll press the enter key or the return key on a Mac, in order to get rid of that indent. Now, I'll notice down here in the paragraph styles panel that we're seeing a plus sign next to the words Body copy like so, and that indicates that we have what's known as a Local Override, and what that means is that something about this paragraph is different from the original style definition, and of course, that override happens to be the lack of indent.
Now, you can let that stand if you want to but what I recommend you do is anytime a paragraph is somehow different than the other paragraphs around it, you go ahead and give it a style as well. By dropping down to the little page icon once more again and pressing the alt or opt key and clicking on it to bring up the New Paragraph Styles dialogue box. Notice based on it's set to Body copy which means that if we ever update that Body copy style, as we will in the very next movie, this style, the style we're about to create, will update along with it.
So, I'm gonna go ahead and call this new style Body copy and then in parentheses first, like so, which indicates that this is the first paragraph after the headline. Make sure that Apply Style to Selection is turned on and then click OK and you'll create a new style that's linked to this first paragraph like so. Now, you're next step would be to style all the remaining text inside the document which I've done in advance in a form of this Styled notes.indd file right here.
And that's how you automate the formatting of long passages of text using paragraph styles here inside InDesign.
- Creating a new InDesign document
- Navigating in InDesign
- Creating and formatting text
- Formatting text with paragraph styles
- Creating dynamic hyperlinks
- Adding, deleting, and moving pages
- Importing, cropping, and scaling photos
- Placing artwork
- Stacking and layering objects
- Wrapping text around a graphic