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Adobe InDesign CC Intermediate: Beyond the Basics

Lesson 11 of 28

Paragraph and Character Styles


Adobe InDesign CC Intermediate: Beyond the Basics

Lesson 11 of 28

Paragraph and Character Styles


Lesson Info

Paragraph and Character Styles

Alright, let's start putting some stuff together here with style. So we've been kind of alluding to styles the whole time, and I just want to show you why we use styles 'cause if you have text like this, and even just that little bit that I just did with the eyedropper, just being able to pick up that little bit and place it in here, that's not going to work so well if I need to do that a lot. And then, if I decide to change the text again, I've got to use the eyedropper tool all over again. What I need to do instead is create a style. So I come in here and I can just tell it that this text is a certain style and I want to use that throughout my document. So if I select this text or just put my cursor in there and I look at paragraph styles and I have several paragraph styles. They're in these groups as well. I can come in here and I can see that that paragraph style is team names so I know that when I create something new or if I decide this title needs to look that same, I can just c...

lick on team names and it automatically changes to that text that's there. So how did I do that? So when you're creating text, we need to tell it what the text looks like overall. So in this case, I have this entire paragraph that's here and I know that overall, I want it to be Nimbus Sans light 11 point with auto letting on top of that, and I want to make sure that every time I create that same paragraph look that I have that same style applied to it. So I need to say okay, the whole paragraph needs to look like that. Now there might be cases where I want it to look a little different. Maybe I want this word to be italic or I want it to be this orange color that's here, and that's where I would use a character style. So a paragraph style basically sets up your entire paragraph overall how it should look, and then the exceptions to the rule are what your character styles are. And for me, the character styles are pretty simple. It's just just the exception. So for instance, if I wanted this to be italic, I could manually change it to italic but if I do that, or light italic in this case, if I do that, the paragraph style that I had applied to it, we'll just call body text, now has a plus on it saying that there's an override that's been done to that and I don't want that because those overrides will get left behind when I change paragraph styles. What I want is to find a character style that lets me apply that italic type to it and still stay within my paragraph style rules that are here. So to do that, I want to create a paragraph style that encompasses everything the paragraph should look like. And what makes it kind of confusing is that the paragraph styles also contain text and character information in it. For instance, what font it's supposed to be in. So quick overview of how I create styles when I create something new. I'm gonna go to a new document just so that we don't have any styles being force-fed in here 'cause I have a lot in that other document there. If I create new, a new text, a new paragraph style, I'm just gonna come in here and we'll make this the Nimbus Sans regular or just light, let's do that, fill up that placeholder text so I can see it. I generally just put some text in there and say okay, I like the way that looks and I want to make that a style. And I go to my paragraph style panel and I want to create a new style based on the text that's here. So in this case, I just need to have some text selected. So I'm gonna select a little bit. I'm gonna come down to the new style, I'm sorry, the new paragraph style button here and click that. I'm gonna option click that or alt click it on a PC. So I get the new paragraph style dialogue box. So I'm gonna come in here and I don't really need to do anything else because when I look in the general tab, I can see that it's already Nimbus Sans light 18 point, and everything else that I've done including the letting and all that, it's all already force-fed into this style because I had some text selected when I created the style. Alright, so I'm just gonna say okay. Actually I'm just gonna give this a name. I'll call this, woops, we don't want it to be capitalized. Let's do body text. And now, I can select all this text and choose body text so now I know that that paragraph style is already set to body text. So now if I create some new text somewhere else here and let's make it look really different so we know that it is actually doing something. We're going to do Palatino, not in my favorites, let's do Palatino and let's just do regular, but I want that to change, I just need to put my cursor somewhere in that paragraph because it's a paragraph by paragraph selection or I can do select all, whichever I want to do, and change it to body text. It automatically updates. So that's what we've done back here is anytime I make a change, it automatically updates. So if I decided this needed to be in that body text instead, I come down here and just say ope, that's body text, and now that's what it looks like. Now it is orange on top of it, and that's because I have a character style applied also to make that orange. So I'm gonna undo that so it goes back to the header that was there. And that's because my header style, my section subhead style also has a character style orange applied to it so that way I can come in here and say oh actually, I didn't want it to be orange, I want it to be cinnamon, or I wanted it to be teal. Now I have to make sure I select all the text that I want to change. Otherwise, I'm only selecting, I'm only changing the individual text that are there. So again, this is all one paragraph style. I don't need to have a different paragraph style for each of those because they're basically the same except the exception to the rule is the color, and I put the color on top of that. So let's go back to this italic guy. I would put a character style that has italic. And I don't have one that's just italic, so I need to make sure that I have one set up for that. Now in this case, it is light italic so I need to make sure that my keyword, or my character style, says light italic. So I'm going to set up one and when I do character styles like when I created the orange color or the teal color, anything like that, I make sure nothing is selected. I don't want to have anything selected because I don't want any of that information being force-fed into that character style. The character style is very trimmed back. It's just the one thing that's the exception to the rule. Now, you can only have one character style applied to any text at one time. So if I wanted one that was italic but also bold, I would need to create a character style that had bold and italic defined in it. So in this case, I'm going to go ahead and make sure nothing's selected, go to character styles, come down here to the option or alt, click the new style, I can see that nothing is selected so far and that's great and I'm just gonna call this italic, and I'm going to go to the basic character formatting. And I can see that nothing is defined in here and that's great, and if you see something that has just the little dashes in there, it means it's not defined. I haven't told it whether underlined is on or off, and so it doesn't matter. If you have underline, that's great. If you don't have underline, also great and still acceptable as part of the style because what we're trying to do is make sure that none of our styles have that little plus which is an override which means you used the style but then you made a change to the style. We don't want that. If we were going to manually change it, we wouldn't bother to set up styles in the first place. So in this font style, I'm going to type in it needs to be light italics simply because that's the type of font that I'm using. It says light italic so I'll say okay. So I'll say okay and now where I have this word where I manually italicized it, if I look at my paragraph style, I have that plus and it tells me that there's an override. And I don't want that. It does tell me I can option click on that and it will go away, and that's exactly what I want. I don't want that to be manually overridden. I'm gonna come into the character styles and just choose italic. Now I don't have that plus so I know that it's completely compliant with what I set up for that style and also the character styles, I know that I have that set up as well on top of that particular word. Now I can just go ahead and each thing that needs to be italicized, I can select it and click that on top while the whole entire paragraph is still a body text that's here. And we can start making relationships between our different styles as well. So one thing that I do when I'm working with paragraph styles is I base styles on other styles. So for instance, I'm going to grab just this text and if I copy out this text, actually I'm going to copy this text 'cause none of it's italicized. Just copy a little bit, go out to a new document, when I paste it in, it'll bring in whatever styles were in the text that I copied. That's why I only copied a little bit because the only thing I wanted was for this body text to show up. Alright so this body text is here and I can even select all that, I'll select all the text that's here, and make it bigger just so we can see it a little bit better and I get that little plus and I can either option or alt click on it and reset it back to what it's supposed to be or I can say well actually, this is what I want body text in this document to look like. So I can right click or control on that, or control click on it, and tell it to redefine the style. So now I'm telling it this is actually what body text looks like. So in my other document, if I had left it there and liked that I had something bigger, I could call it bigger body text or whatever. I could just create a new document or new style based on that. So let's say I made, I'm back in this document, let's say I did make this bigger and now I've done some override. Well what do I want to do? Maybe I want to create a whole new style that's based on this body text. I'm going to option or alt click on that little button, and I'm gonna say bigger body text. And I don't have to worry about doing any because it did it for me. It said oh it's body text plus, on top of it, it made it 17 point. So the nice thing is, this is based on this text already. Because I had body text selected and made a change and then say make a new style, it says oh, well you started with body text as your base so that's what you want, right? And I say sure. So body text is the base of that but then I also said but also make it 17 point and with that, everything that body text and this bigger one have in common, anytime body text gets changed, it will change here as well, but the only thing that won't change is the size because I have defined the size in this child style that's here, if that makes sense. So hopefully it does. So I based it on body text so body text and this bigger body text are linked in a way in that everything they have in common continually gets updated except for the fact that I told it, it stays 17 point regardless. So I'll say okay and now this is what this particular paragraph has. Let's make that bigger body text. Alright, so let's go back to this document we had here. And so I do that all the time when I create like a body text and then I decide I want, say, a header. I said come in here and I want to go ahead and tell it it's body text but then I also want to make it a lot bigger and I want to make it bolder just using my keyboard shortcuts for that. I don't have a keyboard shortcut for bold for this one for whatever reason. There we go, so bolder. So I like the way that looks, and I can do the same thing. I'm going to option alt click and it's based on body text but I'm gonna call this header. Now the nice thing is, when I change body text, let's go ahead and make sure this is actually applied, header applied, so I come in here and if I change this font to something else, let's change this to Palatino regular. Hmm, this should change with it. Let's see if this is based on that. Body text, I changed it to bold, do I not have a Palatino bold? Let me double check. Maybe I don't. I do. I'm not sure why that didn't work. Alright let's come back, I'm gonna delete this. I'm gonna start over again. I have this body text, let's actually make this body text. There we go. Alright so that's body text. And I'm gonna create a new style here called header. I'm going to apply body text to that but I'm also going to make it bigger and I think it's maybe the font that I'm using for this. Let me actually change body text here to one that I know works a little bit better. Sometimes because the font, the light might be built into the font itself instead of the style, we'll start with Trebauchet, that's great. I'm going to redefine that so body text is this Trebauchet. So this is Trebauchet as well but I'm gonna make it bigger and I'm also gonna make it bold. And then I'm gonna tell it this is my header style. I have to call it header two because I already one in there so I'll say okay. So now I've assigned that header two to it, so when I change body text, if I were to suddenly change this to Palatino regular and I redefine what body text looks like, my header should change as well. So my header, which is based on body text, when I change the style in the body text, the header style also changed with it to that Palatino because it had the font in common, so I changed it in the body text, everything that's based on that also updates as well. So that's how we work with the styles in here is that anything we do inside our text, we can create, put that into a style. So we looked at bullets and numbering earlier. We can put that into a style so that all we have to do is select it and create a style with that. We can also put in anything that we have like, I'm trying to think of some of the other things that we've done with like the text frames that we have, the text frame options, we can do that as well. We can put that in there. Anything that we can put in text, we can build in there. If we want those banners that we did with the dotted, the rounded banners, that can become a style as well so all we have to do is click it once and that style shows up in there. And while we're not going to cover everything in styles, hopefully this kind of gives you an idea of how I build styles and if you notice, I created all sorts of style groups that are here. So I'm gonna just close these up so that I have things like my body text styles, I have several. I started with body text and then I made body text centered and then sometimes I had just right justification. I also have body text if I needed it to be white. Sometimes I'll have body text with a narrower margin. So anytime I make any changes to this text, this is our bigger body text, I come in here and I decide it needs to be maybe a little bit shorter on the left and the right, take off some of these forced returns that are here, if I have that, now I decide okay this needs to be a new style and I base it on body again so when I change body, everything changes together. But then I create a new style group which I can do down here, I create a new style group and then just put that information, whatever it is, so for tables if I'm working just with tables, I have just the information that I need for that. And it's just a way for me to be able to see where those different paragraph styles are because you can see I have several of them and trying to keep track of them inside this document can be kind of difficult. So I'm gonna come in here and I say this is, let's see what this is, these are our section headers, so I can say oh actually it's a section subhead instead. It's as easy as changing that. If I realized oh that wasn't a main header, that was the subhead that I needed. Or maybe it's a header but it's right justified so it's justified inside that frame off to the right. So again, I do that so when I start stylizing everything, I don't need to put in all that information. Everything that we've put into character, the character panel, the paragraph panel, I can build that into a style.

Class Description

Adobe® InDesign CC® enables you to create rich documents and layouts that combine graphic elements, images, and text. Advance your design skills with Adobe InDesign Creative Cloud Intermediate: Beyond the Basics with Erica Gamet.

In this class, Erica will help you tackle complex design projects and share best practice techniques in Adobe InDesign Creative Cloud.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Manage multi-page documents and use master pages
  • Automate your workflow and save time
  • Select character and paragraph styles
  • You’ll learn about advanced exporting options and she’ll offer tips on taking advantage of the extensive selection of assets in the Creative Cloud® Libraries.

If you’ve mastered the basics are ready to advance your design skills, don’t miss Adobe InDesign Creative Cloud Intermediate: Beyond the Basics with Erica Gamet.

Level: Intermediate/Advanced. Recommended prerequisite: Adobe InDesign Creative Cloud for Beginners

Don't have Adobe Creative Cloud yet? Get it now and save 20% so you can follow along with the course!

Adobe InDesign CC 2018


Marianne Stewart

I've been using InDesign for a decade, and decided to take this class to see what else I could learn. Wow! Erica taught me ways to do repetitive tasks easier, faster, and cleaner. She showed me many, many ways that I wasn't using InDesign to it's fullest potential (and now I am!). Her teaching style is very thorough and in-depth, but also easy to follow and understand. I highly recommend this class!


Great class and very informative. Erica’s a good instructor. Given the volume of information presented I’d like to see class materials included. It makes the course much easier to follow.