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By Anne-Marie Concepción |

InDesign Secrets: Three great Object Styles for any designer

There are three object styles that rule them all—three styles that should be in every designer’s toolbox because you’ll find yourself calling on them again and again no matter how simple or complex the project.

In this week’s InDesign Secrets video, Anne-Marie Concepción shows you how to build these styles from scratch in Adobe InDesign and use them to format images, callout lines, and photo credits.

1. The first object style can be used to apply similar attributes to all photos in a document, which you can then do in just a few clicks with the Find/Change dialog box.  This style is particularly useful in long and image-heavy designs like a catalog. Here’s how to create it.

a. First select an image that you’ve styled to your liking. Then open the Object Styles panel, hold the Alt or Option key, and click Create New Style.

b. At this point, you should make sure to turn off every attribute you don’t want changed when you apply the style, including things like text wrap and drop shadow. Then click OK to create the style.

Figure 1

c. Choose Edit > Find/Change and select the Object tab. Leave Find Object Format blank but click the search icon next to Change Object Format. Choose Style Options from the Basic Attributes menu and select your new style from the Object Style dropdown. Lastly, images, in this case, are counted as Graphic Frames, so choose that option from the Type box. Click OK and you can start finding images and applying the new formatting, or simply click Change All to apply the style to all the images at once.


2. The next useful style can be used to create callout lines, the kind designers use to annotate images like the one below. Like the previous step, you start by formatting one callout to your liking, then opening the Object Styles panel and Alt- or Option-clicking the Create New Style icon.


a. Name your style and then turn on Stroke& Corner Options to save your stroke attributes (weight, cap, join, etc.) and the arrows your callout may begin or end with. Click OK to create your new object style.

b. To create a new callout, draw a new line between the callout text and the image and apply your object style. If the arrow is facing the wrong way, simply select the callout line and choose Object > Paths > Reverse Path to flip it.

3. The last style is for photo credits, which can vary greatly in length, depending on the name of the photographer or service. Here’s how to resize and style them with one click.

a. Drag out a new text frame next to the photo, apply the appropriate paragraph style to format the type, and rotate the frame if the credit needs to run vertically. Anne-Marie suggests applying inset spacing, as well. Select the text frame and transform it into an object style by Alt- or Option-clicking Create New Style in the Object Styles panel.

b. Notice that the inset spacing is included in the style’s Basic Attributes (under Text Frame General Options), along with the usual stroke, fill, text wrap, and other properties. The only extra step is to go to Text Frame Auto Size and turn on Auto-Sizing. This option, just released in InDesign CS6, will resize your credits’ text frames to their contents automatically.


c. The next time you need to create a photo credit, simply create a text frame and click the name of your object style.

The hallmark of any professional InDesign user is the liberal use of object styles. Start integrating them in your workflow to become a more efficient and skillful designer.

More InDesign Secrets can be found in a member-exclusive movie, Choosing alpha channel image transparency, found in the lynda.com library, and also next week, when David Blatner shows how to read and add metadata in InDesign files.

Interested in more?

• Start a free trial membership at lynda.com • The entire InDesign Secrets biweekly series • Courses by David Blatner and Anne-Marie Concepción on lynda.com • All lynda.com InDesign courses

Adobe and InDesign are registered trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated.

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