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Working with styles

InDesign provides paragraph styles, character styles, and object styles for quickly and consistently formatting text and objects. Another significant reason to use styles is that you can make global changes—such as changing the body text font or adjusting drop shadows—by simply editing the style. This can save you hours in making revisions to long documents such as books.

Styles work as follows:

  • A paragraph style includes all text formatting attributes—such as font, size, and alignment—and it applies to all the text in a paragraph. You can select a paragraph for formatting by clicking in it, highlighting any part it, or highlighting all of it.

  • A character style includes only character attributes—such as font style (bold or italic) and color—and it applies only to selected text within a paragraph. Character styles are generally applied to call attention to specific text within a paragraph.

  • An object style lets you apply formatting—such as fill and stroke color, stroke styles and corner effects, transparency, drop shadows, feathering, text frame options, and text wrap—to selected objects.

Applying paragraph styles

Because the postcard is part of a series, all the paragraph styles you need are already created. You will first apply the Body Copy style to all the text in the two threaded text frames, and then you will apply the Subhead style to the headings.

  1. Using the Type tool (typetool.jpg), click in one of the text frames containing the newly imported text.

  2. Choose Edit > Select All to select all the text in the story.

  3. Click the Paragraph Styles button at the top of the Properties panel. Click the Paragraph Styles menu and select the Body Copy style to format the entire story.

  4. Using the Type tool, click in the first line of text in the story: “Starters & Small Plates.”

    As you can see from the hidden character (the paragraph return) at the end of the line, this line is actually its own paragraph. Therefore, it can be formatted with a paragraph style.

  5. Select the Subhead style from the Paragraph Styles menu in the Properties panel.

  6. Apply the Subhead paragraph style to the “Entrées & Desserts” subhead as well.

  7. Choose Edit > Deselect All, and then choose File > Save.

Formatting text for the character style

Highlighting key words in a paragraph can draw readers into the text. For the postcard copy, you will format the abbreviations for vegetarian foods (V) and gluten-free foods (GF) to make them “pop” and then create a character style based on that formatting. You can then quickly apply the character style to other selected words.

  1. Using the Zoom tool (zoomtool.jpg), zoom in on the first text frame in the lower-left quadrant of the postcard. This frame contains the subhead “Starters & Small Plates.”

  2. Using the Type tool (typetool.jpg), select the “(V)” in the first paragraph of body copy; be sure to include the parentheses.

  3. In the Character controls of the Properties panel at the right, select Italic from the Type Style menu.

  4. Click the Fill box (textfill.jpg) to display the document’s color swatches. Click the red swatch named Red-Bright to apply the color to the text.

  5. Click the pasteboard to deselect the text and view your changes.

  6. Choose File > Save.

Creating and applying a character style

Now that you have formatted the text, you are ready to create a character style based on that formatting.

  1. Using the Type tool (typetool.jpg), select the newly formatted “(V).”

  2. Choose Type > Character Styles to display the Character Styles panel.

  3. Select New Character Style from the panel menu (panelflyoutmenu.jpg).

    The New Character Style dialog opens with a new style named Character Style 1. This new style includes the characteristics of the selected text, as indicated in the Style Settings area of the dialog.

  4. In the Style Name field, type Red Italic.

  5. At the bottom of the New Character Style dialog, select Apply Style To Selection.

  6. Click OK.

  7. Using the Type tool, select the “(V, GF)” later in the first paragraph.

  8. Click Red Italic in the Character Styles panel.

    Because you applied a character style instead of a paragraph style, the formatting affected only the selected text, not the entire paragraph.

  9. Using the Type tool, select the “(V)” next to “fresh basil pesto” in the text frame at right.

  10. Click Red Italic in the Character Styles panel.

  11. Repeat the process to apply the Red Italic character style to the “(V, GF)” and the trailing period at the end of the paragraph.

  12. Choose Type > Character Styles to close the panel, and then choose File > Save.

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