Ready to watch this entire course?
Become a member and get unlimited access to the entire skills library of over 4,900 courses, including more Design and personalized recommendations.Start Your Free Trial Now
- View Offline
- What are styles and why should I use them?
- Setting up and applying styles
- Dealing with style overrides
- Text styles
- Object styles
- Table styles
- Using style groups
- Sharing styles between documents
Skill Level Beginner
Character Styles differ from Paragraph Styles, and that they can be applied to only a selected range of text. Character Styles are useful when fine-tuning text within your layout. This is why we use Paragraph Styles for all of the global formatting of text, and the Character Styles for all of the local formatting. Let's take a look at our layout here, and I'm going to zoom in on this paragraph at the very bottom of my text. And so, let's say we wanted to apply bold formatting to KSC, but there's other areas within our text that we also want to apply bold. So, using my Type tool, I'm going to select this text. And one of the questions that I often get asked is, where's the B and the I button inside of InDesign? Well, the reality is, is that InDesign doesn't have a B or an I button to make things Bold and Italic. The only way I can make them Bold or Italic is by actually going to the Character Formatting and choosing the option from the list. I'm going to choose Bold from the Style drop-down menu. And the reasoning for this is really from a production stand point. It ensures that you have the correct font to output that bold font. So, as you can see, I formatted KSC using the Bold Font inside of my Character Formatting menu.
Now, I don't want to have to go up here and apply Bold every single time I want to apply Bold to text. This is where Character Styles come in. I'm going to go to my Character Styles panel. And very similar to when we create Paragraph Styles, I'm going to hold down hold down the Option key on Mac or the Alt key on Windows. And I'm going to click on the Create New Style button. And make sure that you still had that text selected. When I do this, you'll notice that the only attribute that gets pulled into this style is Bold. The reasoning for this is because we have a Paragraph Style already applied to that text.
And in this case, InDesign is simply pulling in the attributes of what's different between the Paragraph Style and the Character Style that I'm now creating. So, the only thing this Character Style is going to do is apply Bold to the text that I select and apply this Character Style to. I'm going to name this Character Style, Bold. And I'm going to go ahead and choose Apply Style to Selection. When I click OK, you can see that the bold character style has been applied.
So, now I can literally highlight any text in my document and apply the bold character style to that text. Now, here is the thing. One concept that is often confusing to people is when you have both a Character Style and a Paragraph Style applied to text. Who wins? Well, the answer is the Character Style. You'll notice that with this text selected, if I go to my Paragraph Styles panel, that Body is being applied. If I go to my Character Styles panel, Bold is being applied, and notice that Bold is winning over.
The Character Style is always stronger than the Paragraph Style. And more than that, a manually applied Character Style, such as what we've been doing, is always going to win over anything else. So, that's going to work for our Bold, and maybe we want to create an Italic as well. So, maybe I'll highlight the text, International Snowboard Instructor, and I'll come up to my Style menu and choose Italic. With that text selected, I'm going to Option-click on Mac or Alt-click on Windows, and I'm going to name this Character Style, Italic.
When I click OK, we can see that Italic is now being applied to that text. Now, it could happen that I want to format this KSC as maybe a different color. So, what I can do is I can highlight this text and in my Swatches panel, I'm going to choose like this medium blue color to apply to this text. That'll make this text stand out a little bit more. Now, what I'm going to do here is I'm going to highlight that text. Go to my Character Styles panel, and I'm going to Option-click to create a new character style. You'll notice that this style is being based on Bold because we had Bold applied earlier.
What this means is that if I ever adjust Bold in anyway, that this new style that I'm creating is going to update as well. I'm going to call this KSC because that's what I'm using this Character Style for. You can see that my style is based on Bold. Now, I actually don't want this to based on Bold. I want it to be independent. So, what I'm going to do, I'm going to click on the drop-down menu and choose None. And then, I'm going to go to my Basic Character Formats section, and make sure that the Font Style is still reading Bold.
Now, when I click OK, I have a new style called KSC, that is formatting that text. I'm going to close the Character Style panel and I'm going to press Cmd + 0 on Mac or Ctrl + 0 on Windows. Now, the reality is there's multiple instances of KSC within this text that needs to be formatted with that character style. We're going to save some time by automating this process. I'm going to make sure that I'm clicked anywhere within this text, and I'm going to go to my Edit menu, and I'm going to choose Find/Change.
In the Find What field, I'm going to type in KSC. I'm not going to change it to anything, but in the Change Format section, I'm going to click on this Specify Attributes to Change button. And from the Character Style drop-down menu, I'm going to choose KSC. I'm going to click OK. Make sure that I'm only searching the story. And I'm going to click Change All. And we can see that six replacements have been made. If I click OK, and then Done, we can see by zooming into this text that every instance of KSC has been changed.
If I decide later on that KSC is too light, I can go to my Character Styles panel, right-click on KSC and choose Edit, go to Character Color, and choose a slightly darker color. When I click OK, now my color has been updated. I'm going to press Cmd + 0 on my keyboard, and I'm going to zoom in to this panel on the left-hand side by holding down Cmd + Space Bar in Mac or Ctrl + Space Bar on Windows. And this is kind of hard to see.
So, I'm going to switch over to my Selection tool, I'm going to click on this text frame. And in the Swatches panel, I'm going to make sure that I choose this light blue color. Now, I'll switch to my Type tool. And I'm going to highlight all of these items that are part of a checklist that we're going to be creating. Now in order to do this, I'm actually going to format this text. And I'm going to show you how Character Styles play an important role when creating a bulleted list for one example. So, with this text selected, I'm going to go to my Paragraph Formatting. I'm going to click on the Bulleted List button to make each one of these items a bulleted item.
I'm going to go to the Character Formatting button and change my font to Miriad Pro. I'm going to change the font size to 14. And I'm going to change my Leading to 16 by highlighting that field and typing 16 and then Enter. With all of these highlighted, I'm going to go to my Swatches panel and choose this dark blue color. I'm going to go to my Paragraph Formatting button and I'm going to uncheck Hyphenate, which is going to guarantee that none of these items will hyphenate within this list. In my Space After field, I'm going to type .2222 and press Return to add some space between these items.
And in my Span Columns drop-down menu, I'm going to choose Split 2 to split this list into two columns. Now, I want to adjust the options in this Bulleted List. Now, I'm going to hold down the Option key on Mac, or the Alt key on Windows. And I'm going to click once on the Bulleted List button to display the bullets and numbering options. And I would like to make these bullets a check mark. So, up here, under the Bullet Character section, I'm going to click the Add button. And I'm going to choose Zapf Dingbats from the list.
If you're using a Windows machine, you can probably find a check mark under Web Dings or Wing Dings. And I'm going to choose this check mark font, and I'm going to click OK. And that adds that check mark to my list of bullets. If I click that icon and turn on the Preview, we can see that that check mark is now being formatted. Now, one question a lot of people have is, well, how do I format that check mark? Well, you actually can't do it directly inside of this dialog box.
But you look down here, you can see that we can choose a character style. And what's really nice is that we can create a new character style right inside of this menu by choosing New Character Style. I'm going to name this style check mark and I'm going to go into the Basic Character Formats, and I'm going to change the size to 18. Now, one thing I want to be careful of here is you'll notice that it's actually increasing the size of my selected text. I don't actually want to do this, so I'm going to click the General Section and un-check Apply Style to Selection.
That way, this check mark is only going to be applied. To the bullet itself. When I click OK, we can see that the check mark is now being applied and is larger than the rest of the text. This Character Style feature is available in a number of different places inside of InDesign. And can really be helpful when you know how to use character styles to format your text. I'm going to click OK, and now that my text is formatted. I'm going to create a Paragraph Style to format this text. I'm going to hold down the Option key on Mac or the Alt key on Windows. And I'm going to click on the Create New Style button at the bottom of the Paragraph Style panel.
I'm going to name this style Sidebar Bullets. And I'm going to make one minor adjustment to this before we create this, and that is in the Span Column section. I'm going to increase the outside gutter to an 8th of an inch. And that just pushes these bulleted items in from the edge a little bit. Back in the General section, I'm going to make sure that Apply Style to Selection is selected, and I'm going to go ahead and click OK.