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Creating a running footer

A running header or footer is text that repeats on chapter pages—such as the chapter number in the header and the chapter title in the footer. InDesign can automatically fill in the text for a running footer according to a chapter’s title. To do this, you create a text variable for the source text, in this case the chapter title. You then place the text variable on the master page in the footer (or wherever you want it to appear in the document).

The advantage to using a text variable rather than simply typing the chapter title on the master page is that if the chapter title changes (or you’re starting a new chapter from a template), the footer is automatically updated. Because you can place the text variables wherever you want, the steps for creating running headers and running footers are the same.

In this part of the lesson, you will create a text variable for the chapter title in the second chapter, place it on the master page, and see how it updates on all the pages of the chapter.

Defining a text variable

First, you’ll create a text variable for the chapter title.

  1. In the Book panel, double-click the second chapter: 12_01_ID_HowTos_GettingStarted. If necessary, double-click the page 1 icon in the Pages panel to center it in the document window.
  2. Choose Type > Paragraph Styles to open the Paragraph Styles panel.
  3. Using the Type tool (typetool.jpg), click in the chapter title “Getting Started with InDesign” to see the paragraph style applied to it: Chapter Title.

    You will use this information to create the text variable, which will specify that whatever text is using the Chapter Title paragraph style will be placed in the footer.

  4. Close the Paragraph Styles panel.
  5. Choose Type > Text Variables > Define.
  6. In the Text Variables dialog box, click New.
  7. Type Chapter Title for Footer in the Name box.
  8. Now you will specify that you want text formatted with a specific paragraph style to be used for a running header (or in this case, a running footer).

  9. Choose Running Header (Paragraph Style) from the Type menu. The Style menu lists all the paragraph styles in the document.
  10. You will choose the paragraph style that is applied to the chapter title.

  11. Choose Chapter Title from the Style menu.
  12. Leave all the other settings at the defaults, and click OK. The new text variable appears in the list of variables. Click Done to close the Text Variables dialog box.

Inserting a text variable

Now that you’ve created the text variable, you can insert it on the master page (or anywhere in the document).

  1. Click the page number menu in the lower-left of the document window. Scroll down to the master pages, and choose T-Text.
  2. Choose Type > Show Hidden Characters, if necessary, so that you can see where to place the text variable.
  3. Zoom in on the lower-left corner of the left-facing master page.
  4. Using the Type tool, click to place the text insertion point after the tab character (>>). This is where you will place the variable.
  5. Choose Type > Text Variables > Insert Variable > Chapter Title for Footer.
  6. From the page number menu in the lower-left document window, choose 2.

    On page 2, notice how the chapter title is now placed in the running footer.

  7. Choose View > Fit Spread In Window and scroll through the pages to see how the running footer is updated everywhere.
  8. Choose File > Save. Leave the document open for the next part of the lesson.

Each chapter in the book can use the same text variable but have a different running footer according to its chapter title.

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