Skip to main content

art & design

Create an Online Portfolio

Lesson 8 of 11

Creating Styles for Re-Use

Erica Gamet

Create an Online Portfolio

Erica Gamet

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

8. Creating Styles for Re-Use

Lesson Info

Creating Styles for Re-Use

We're gonna now start making some styles. We're gonna start with styles, and we just wanna be able to reuse the same items over and over again. So for instance, in our book that we have here, we have this text, right, so we've got a header, we've got some text here, we've got this pull quote, and I've styled it using the paragraph panel and the character panel, but I don't wanna have to do that every time, because I know that I'm gonna have these pull quotes throughout. I've got another one down here, and I want it to look exactly like the one in the front, right? And I don't wanna have to change that every time. So I don't wanna have to go into the character panel, change the font, change the size, change the leading, change the paragraph justification. So I wanna set that up as a style, so that all I have to do is select the text, and style it as needed. So to do that, you basically have to style something first, to start with. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna jump over to the docum...

ent we made in an earlier session, here, where we just brought in some text. Alright, so I've got this text, and whether it's something I typed in here in InDesign, or I brought it in from somewhere else, I wanna go ahead and style it in a certain way. So first thing I'm gonna do is I'm gonna select all this text actually, and I'm gonna choose Gotham, Book. And that's what most of my text is gonna be, so generally, when I'm setting up styles, if I know I've got something that's gonna have a lot of text, in this case, I'm actually creating a book, and I might be typing say ten paragraphs about it. It's not necessarily a book, but it's gonna be talking about maybe what I did when I took the photos, or whatever. Again think about what sort of items are going in your output. It may be if you're selling product, you might have your product name, and maybe there's a number and a price, and then the short description, and then maybe any other little information you need about each product. And each frame is gonna have that same sort of thing. Product name, product number, product description, and you want it to look exactly the same, from the front of your catalog, to the back of your catalog. So you wanna set it up as styles, so that you can just click on it, and have it happen magically for you. So I usually start with, what do I think most of my text is going to look like? And so in this case, I'm gonna use something that I'm gonna call body text. So I'm gonna select everything here, and I'm gonna tell it, it's Gotham Book, 18 point, and I just left it on auto. And I decide I like the way that looks. Now, I said earlier that when you're selecting or when you're working with a character panel, you need to have text selected. And if you're working with paragraph items, you only need to have your cursor in there. But what gets a little confusing is we have paragraph and character styles, but in the paragraph style, we have things that we are actually entering in the character panel to start with. I know that sounds confusing, but that's because the paragraph style, I always sort of liken it to building a house, not that I really know how to build a house, but I've seen them built. But I kinda think of it as a house, so if you think about a house or any structure, you've got a sort of frame. Whether it's a steel frame or a wood frame, but you've got this sort of skeleton, and you've got a foundation of some kind that it sits on. And that's kinda what your paragraph style is. It's sort of, what does the whole paragraph look like, generally speaking? And then, going back to the house analogy, each room might have a different wall texture or wall color, different things on the wall. Different decor, things that give each of those rooms its character, and that's what a character style is. So it's kind of the differences to that base. So you're saying your paragraph looks like this right now, we've got a Gotham Book, 18 point. But then maybe we've got some words, some characters we wanna have be in blue, or be a little bit bigger or be in a different font, or something like that. Just something a little bit different. Maybe they need to be italic, instead. So what we wanna do, what we're trying to accomplish here, is make a style, so that whenever I click on it, it automatically styles it as needed, and also I don't get something called overrides, and I'll show you what those are in a second. So basically, I'm gonna come in here, and I'm gonna put paragraph, and I said, okay, I like the way it looks, I'm just gonna start basic, because I can always change this afterwards. I'm gonna start with paragraph styles, because again, that's the base, that's the foundation. I'm gonna open up my character style panel, so I have that ready. But I wanna start with the paragraph, and I'm basically gonna select some text, it doesn't have to be all this text, I'm just gonna select maybe a word or two, but I need to have at least a character, because it needs to know what sort of things go in this paragraph style. So I'm gonna select that text, I'm gonna Option or Alt click right down here on this little new style icon, so I'm gonna say Option, click on that, and it's gonna go ahead and open up my paragraph style panel, and I'm gonna call this body text. Now, if you can see, there's just a ton of stuff in here. Why is there all that stuff? Well, this is stuff that I've done to the text. Some of it may have come in, there's a lot of stuff, there's not usually this much stuff in there. There's some tags, so that probably came in with the word text that I imported. But again, anything that was in that text that I have selected will automatically be put in here, that's why I selected it first. By doing selection, and then creating a new style, it automatically just force feeds all that stuff into the style. And then if I tell it apply style to selection, it now will make sure that everything in this paragraph, because again, it's a paragraph style, so it affects the entire paragraph. Everything in this paragraph will now have this set to it. So that's pretty easy, I just say OK. I don't need to go in and tell it anything, I don't need to tell it what font, any of that, because it's already there, because I set it up to start with. So I'm gonna say OK, and also, you might wanna deselect Add to CC Library. So this is automatically on by default, and it wants to add that information to whatever Creative Cloud library you have open. I find that kind of annoying, so I turn that off unless I absolutely need it. So I'm gonna say OK, and now I have this style called body text. So now even if I were to change this font, let's just change it to something completely different, and I wanna say, I bring it in, and let's say, I just brought it in, it looks like this, I can select this paragraph or all my paragraphs, and click body text, and it automatically styles it as I need. So that's why we wanna use styles, because once we set it up and tweak it, we want to actually be able to just come in and select the text, and apply a style to it. So I can make changes to this, if I decide I don't like how big that is, I'm gonna go ahead, and with all this text selected, I'm actually gonna just delete, or reduce the size a little bit, just down to 15, and keep it at auto. And what happened when I did that, I get this little plus that tells me there's an override. It means I had the body text style assigned, but then I did something to it, and I have two options here. I can either Option or Alt click on it, to get rid of that and bring it back to that 18 point, or I can tell it actually, I like the way this looks, let's make this the style. So I'm gonna do that, the second one. So I'm gonna right click on this, or Control click, and I'm gonna say, redefine style. So now, body text has been changed to this 15 point. Anywhere I had that style assigned throughout this entire document will also change. Or, if I undo that, I might say well, I like the other body text the way it is, but I also want this smaller one, so I've got two different sized body text. This could totally be something that you need. I might have subheads that are three different sizes for different purposes. So in that case, what I might do instead is do Option or Alt click on the new style icon, and tell it, smaller body. And again, because I have that text selected, it's already there. And the other thing is it says, it's based on body text. So it's body text, plus I decided to make it 15 point. So it is based on that. That means if I change my body text style to an entirely different font, anything that's based on that will also change. You may or may not want that to happen. So I'm gonna say OK with that. So now, I've got smaller bodies, so I can say, oh, do I want it to be body text? Or smaller body? So now I've got two that look kind of the same, and they're kind of linked, so if I change body text font again, it would change to something, it would change the smaller body as well. And that's actually how I build headers and subheads. Like I said, I start with body text, or whatever I think is the most prevalent amount of text, and then I think, okay, but what I have here, this is smaller body to start with, but I really want it to be pretty big, because that's my header, and I want it to be bold, and maybe I even want it to be a different color. So I'm going back to colors over here, choose my RGB ranges here, and choose a nice bright blue. So when I do that I think, yeah, that's what I want the header to look like, and when I select this and notice it says it's small body, that's not what I wanted. I wanted it to be body to start with, actually, it's gonna be based on smaller body, and that's okay. So when I do that Option or Alt click on that again, it's automatically based on that, and I'm gonna call this header, and again, now they're all linked together. Smaller body is based on body, and then the header is based on smaller body as well. But because I already made these changes, those changes are baked in. If I decide this needs to be a header, because it's a paragraph style, I only need to click in the paragraph, and then I can say, choose header. When I do that, it automatically changes. So anything that I've set in the paragraph or the character paneling is automatically built into this paragraph style. I'm gonna do one more here, and maybe I wanna make this medium, and make it slightly bigger than it was. And then I'm gonna go ahead and say new, and I'll call that subhead. And again, everything all that based on is there. So if I go back to the original one, which is body text, and you do kinda have to keep track of where they are. You could make a chart if you wanted to, I've been known to do that and draw that out. If I decide at this point that I wanna change that font to something entirely different, let's do Palatino, I'll say OK, everything changes. Now this one was a medium, there is no Palatino medium. I don't have that, or it doesn't exist. So that is one thing, is if I assign something called a medium, book or gothic or something like that, that doesn't exist in the new font, I am gonna get this little error where it's highlighted in pink, telling me I don't have that font, I'm gonna need to make some changes to that, and that's fine. I can just simply double click on subhead, and I can go ahead and decide it needs to be maybe Palatino italic. So again, I have those set up, so if I decide, oh actually that's a subhead, and this needs to also be a subhead, instead of the smaller body, smaller body here, and maybe this also needs to be a subhead. Alright, so I can go ahead and just make those changes as needed throughout. And those are just my paragraph ones. Now, if I do character styling, I might want to just tell it this word needs to be a little different, or these five words need to be a little different. So one of the easiest ones to show that with is italic. And when it comes to character styling, I don't like anything selected when I start, because I don't want anything being force fed into that, that's there. In fact, before I do an italic, I wanna make sure I do have an italic available, good. Because if I make a character style called italic, and I apply it, but the font that it's sitting on top of doesn't have an italic, nothing will happen. So I wanted to make sure there was one there, and I wanna make sure nothing is selected. When I create character styles, I want them to be pristine, and I want them to be very simple. So something like italic or bold or blue, and you can only have one character style on any text at any time. So if I had one that's blue, and one that's italic, but I also need blue italic, I need to create a whole new character style called blue italic, so keep that in mind. So nothing selected, I'm gonna hold down the Option key or Alt key, I click on new character style, and I'll call this one italic. And then I'm gonna go over here to the basic character formats, and the only thing that I'm going to choose is the font styling. So in this case, I'm gonna tell it it's italic, and I'm gonna say OK. So I've changed it italic, now when I select some text and I tell it, it's italic, I can just select the text that I need to be in italic, and apply that style on top of it, alright? So that's how we create these styles, so we don't have to do these over and over and over again. They're just kind of built into my entire document that's here. So let me look at some of the ones that we have built in this document that's here. I'm gonna reset my space really quick, then come down to paragraph styles. So in this one, I have this style called subheads, and this one here is called body text. And I have one called pull quotes as well. Alright, so I have that, pull quote, and basically, I can say, oh, this doesn't need to be a pull quote, this needs to be a subhead. As soon as I do that, that changes. You notice one of the things that's a part of that subhead is that blue line that's there. So I actually built that in. So in my paragraph panel, when I built that, under the panel menu, we have something called paragraph rules. You can put a line above or below the rule that's there. So in this case, I built it into my subhead, so that as I type this, clear blue water, let's do that. So as I type it, that line is actually moving with it, it's not a standalone item. So I can build that into the style, so as I type my subhead, that line always sticks out a little bit longer than we had before. So I'm gonna undo that, let's get back to where we were. Alright, so I have that. I'm gonna put this back into a pull quote. Come in here to my paragraph style, pull quotes, down. There we go, down here. And again, I only have my cursor sitting in the paragraph, I don't have the entire paragraph selected. So, what I've done with this pull quote is I've actually created an entire what's called object style. So when I want a new pull quote, I don't even need to create a frame and set up the frame, what I've done though is I've made it, you notice my pull quote is sitting centered between this blue line and the top of the image that it's sitting across from, and it's always in the center. Well, I can actually do that with what's called an object style. So I'm gonna actually delete that, and I'm gonna create whole new text, actually, before I do that, let me select the text that's in there, and I'm going to go up to basic paragraph, which basically strips out any styling that I've done. I just want the text. I just don't wanna have to type that pull quote again. So I'm gonna come in here, and I know that I want my pull quote here, and depending on the height of the story below it is how I know how wide I want my, or how tall I want my frame to be. So I'm just drawing out a frame, a blank frame. And you notice it automatically has two columns, and that's because I have a style set up, an object style, I'll go under styles, object styles. I have it set up so that every new frame I create is a two column text frame with that spanned header, which is basically what this frame is down below. And I have a little, I moved this little symbol next to it, which means every time I create a new one, it's gonna create that, but that's not what I want. I want this to be a pull quote frame. So I'll show you how I made that in a minute. But right now, I'm just gonna choose that, this is what would happen once I create it, choose the pull quote frame. I come in here to the type, and I'm just gonna go ahead and hit paste, and when I do that, you notice it doesn't look exactly right. Well, I pasted some text in there which had different styling in there. So I have that little plus that says, oh, there's an override. So I'm gonna Option or Alt click off to the side of it, and it strips out that override, and now it looks exactly like I expected it to be. So how I did that was I created this style that's here, and I, going to, I created a new style, and let's actually see what happens in that style, is I've told it that everything that is the way that item looked when I created that style needs to be put into the object style, and the only thing I need to do is make sure that I checked paragraph styles, and I've told it, whenever I create this object style, I automatically want the paragraph style to be the pull quote paragraph style that I created. Alright, so to do that, you just create a text frame, and let's come over here, and we have these, the paragraph styles that we created, right, got these paragraph styles. I thought we created those. We didn't, we do, we have those paragraph styles. And so let's say I wanted this to always be what my text frame looked like, only I wanted it to be two columns. Alright, so I'm gonna grab this, actually let's create a new text frame. Just fill it with some placeholder text, here. Come on. Object, we're gonna fill it with placeholder text, and I am going to just decide that this is going to be in the, let's do the smaller body text, and I also want it to be two columns. So I'm gonna go under your object menu, which is weird, because we're going to text frames, but we're talking about the object of the frame itself. Under text frame options, I'm gonna tell it I want it to be two columns, so I'm gonna come in here, I'm gonna say two columns. So I've got this two column text, and maybe I want every time I create a new text frame, I want it to look like this particular text, here. I need to turn this guy off, there we go. So I'm going to come in here, and I wanna open up a new object style, and I said, I really like the way this looks, and it's smaller body, I always wanna make sure, excuse me, that I have two columns, and it's smaller body text in there. So I'm gonna come in here, and choose option, and I'm gonna call it two column, and I'm gonna go ahead and assign that. And so, I can also come in here and say, every time I create a new one, I want the two column to be the one that I create. So now, by default, when I create a new text frame, it automatically is the two column in here, and then when I fill it with a placeholder text, oops, I need to tell it that, sorry. When I created this two column one, one of the things I need to tell it, the one that's off by default is paragraph styles. I need to select that, and then I need to tell it, use smaller body. So now, I've made a change to that item that's here, it's set up as the default when I create a new text frame, and it's already two columns, and then when I fill it with placeholder text, it automatically has that style in it already. So again, I've set up a style, a paragraph style, and I've told it that in this object style, every time I create a new text frame, I want it to look like that. You can also do that with, instead of text frames, you can do it with graphics frames. If you always want it to be three point stroke that's yellow with a blue fill in it or whatever, you want that to always be, instead of having to create one and style it each time, you can create that as an object style, and you can slide this little icon next to it, to tell it that's what the new ones automatically look like. So again, I have that for those pull quotes, I also have it for this item here. So I can tell it, this is a two column with spanned header. In fact, if I click that, nothing changed, because I just didn't have that assigned, but that's exactly what I built it on. So now, if I decide to take this item, and I'm just gonna bring the paragraph style back to the basic one that's here, which basically strips out any styling that I've done, I'll say OK, as soon as I do that, and I tell it I want it to look like this two column with spanned header, get rid of those overrides, so I'm gonna Option click on that, it automatically styles it for me, because, in that, I've told it not only start with subheads, but I've also told it, apply next style. So one of the things that I've built into the subheads paragraph style here, is I've told it next style is body text. That means, when I hit Return, after being in this style, as soon as I hit Return, it'll automatically switch it to that body text for me, so I don't have to manually even switch that. So you can build these cascading styles and have that work, and then you can also then nest those inside of object styles. So it sounds like a lot of work, but it's a lot less work than manually each time saying, this is a subhead, this is body text, especially when you're flowing in large amounts of text, or even if you're doing the same thing over and over again, back to the sample of like if you're selling jewelry, you've got maybe 50 different items, and they all have little individual text frames that all have the same thing, like we know it's gonna be the name comes first, followed by the product number, followed by the description, if you set up each of those, and tell it next style, so when I type in the name of what it is, and I hit Return, it automatically changes the styling to whatever the product number's supposed to look like. When I hit Return from that, it automatically flips it to whatever the product description is supposed to look like. So you can build that in, then I could build that as a text frame called product description, and have that set in, so that I tell it what the first thing is, and I tell it next style, which will trigger the entire chain of next styles in it, so I only have to do that once. So that's how we do styling. So that's paragraph styles, and also object styles. Also some of the other things that you can do in the paragraph styles are things like, like I said, like next style. You can also, and pretty much anything that you can put into a paragraph, you can put into a paragraph styling. So basically, you can come in here, like let's say you wanted drop caps, you can do that as well. You can also do nested styles, which means like maybe I want always the first, actually, let's do a new line style. In the one that I'm working on here, in, let's do in body text, I can change body text. And notice, when I'm selecting, if I have something selected on my page, and I click on a style to make a change to it, keep in mind, whatever I have selected, I will actually style. For instance, if I suddenly click page numbers, now everything is formatted like I have my page numbers set up. Which, in this case, is not going to work for me. So I'm going to undo that. So I wanna make sure that when I am working in the styles over here, that I either hold down all my modifier keys, which are Shift, Command, Option, or Shift, Control, Alt on a PC, or I can right click or Control click on the name here. But I wanna make sure I don't just double click on something, because even if I have something selected on an entirely different page, I will actually be formatting it to this here, and that is probably not something that I wanna do. So keep that in mind, but I can come in here and let's just do that first, I'm gonna take that line, nested line styles. If I come down here to new line style at the very bottom, I can tell it that I want it to be any of the character styles that I've set up. So maybe I want the first line to be red for some reason, we can do that. Sometimes, like you might want the first line to be in small caps, so the nice thing about line is that instead of selecting specific type to be in small caps, or red, or whatever we want it to look like, which is fine, until the line changes, the text changes or the width changes or something. By telling it line, it automatically knows that whole first line, and as that line changes, it changes with it. So I'm gonna tell it, I want red text, so these are all character styles that I have available to me. I can create a new one on the fly if I want to. So I'm gonna tell it, red text for the first line, and I can turn on the preview and see that. So I can see now that the first line of each paragraph is in that color. So again, I've nested that in there. If you instead wanted, say, a drop cap, I wanted a three line drop cap in here, I can do that. I can even say, okay, I'd like the text to be blue for that drop cap. So I can build that again into that body text. Some of these things come from the character panel. Some of them come from the paragraph panel, but the paragraph style kind of grabs all of that, because again, it's saying, overall, what does this paragraph look like? And then, we come back with our character styles, and we say, and, in addition to that, I want something different here for some specific characters. Gonna come in here, come into my character styling, and maybe in this case, I just want again to just have it be blue, or italic, or whatever we've set up. So again, it takes a while to set up, but once we get in here and we know that we always want it to look a certain way, as we can see with the styles, with next style we can automate a lot of that. Some of the individual clicking on items and making it blue or red or something like that, that is something that we have to do manually. But the reason we wanna do that, instead of italic, instead of having a whole other paragraph style that's italic, is that with the character styling, we can affect just individual characters, and also, if I keep it very simple, like italic, you notice I didn't call it in this one that we created here, I don't have a font assigned to it. It's not Palatino italic, it's just italic. Which means, if I change the font to Trebuchet, that italic will be put on top of that Trebuchet. So if I had defined Palatino in that character styling, so it was Palatino italic, all the italic words will still be in Palatino, even if I change my body text to a different font entirely. So just kinda keep that house analogy in order. Here's your frame, here's your foundation, that's what your paragraph looks like, and then all the little things that we do to individual text along the way, that needs to be put in a character style. And the other thing to remember is you can only have one character style applied to any character at any one time.

Class Description

The presentation is everything in an online portfolio, but creating one can be a daunting task. This beginner-friendly class will cover all the basics you need to create a portfolio. Erica Gamet is an Adobe Certified Expert.

In this class, Erica will walk you through the process for creating a layout from scratch. 

In this class you'll learn how to:

  • How to place, arrange, and manipulate photos in a layout
  • How to create a layout in InDesign and incorporate images and text
  • How to export that layout for digital consumption

This course is for you if you’re a DIYer, photographer, crafter, or a small business owner needing to put together a digital portfolio featuring images of your product. From real estate brochures to photo books to a small product catalog, you will have the knowledge to showcase your imagery in a logical and well-laid out manner.

Software Used: Adobe InDesign CC 2018

Class Materials

Bonus Materials

Create an Online Portfolio Bonus Files

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


Sonya Messier

This course give great advice on how to work in In-Design. Erica does a great job on how to use some tools to achieve a portfolio. Thank you.

Carolyn Hicks

This course was so jam-packed with valuable and clear information. I had avoided InDesign as I found it very overwhelming learning it all on my own. Here, Erica explains perfectly how to do so much with this software, and how to do it easily. I am now excited to get back on InDesign. This course is really for a lot more than just creating a portfolio. Thank you!

a Creativelive Student

A quick but comprehensive lesson on InDesign that is incidentally applied to creating a photo portfolio. This is general information for beginners, that can be applied to other online and print projects.