Indesign character styles

by Design Workshop Sydney

Character styles in Indesign serve the purpose of consistency within your documents, and is a topic we look at in our Adobe Indesign training courses.Print
Along with Paragraph Styles and Object Styles, Character Styles help us to keep our formatting consistent across either one document or many documents, and as such feature as one of the main ingredients of a document template, for example a newsletter template or a brochure template. The function is similar to that in Microsoft and other word-processing applications.
Whereas Paragraph Styles are used to format paragraphs, Character Styles are used to format single words or phrases, an italic or bold style, for instance. Or to pick out the company’s title, etc.
There are two ways of creating Character Styles in Indesign. We first of all open the Character Styles panel via the Window > Styles menu. This opens both Paragraph and Character Styles panels, which we can then dock with our other panels on the right-hand side of the interface. We can then create a style via the styles options fly-out list on the top-right of the panel, and choosing New Character Style. A dialog box opens with various options listed on the left-hand panel. Once saved, this style will be saved within the document.
A better method, however, is to create some placeholder text first – we do so by creating a text box with the Type tool, then right-clicking and choosing Insert Placeholder Text, whereupon the box fills with Latin text. This type of document has been used since the days of the Gutenberg Press for formatting text. We use Latin in order not to be distracted by the meaning of the text.
We then select a few words and format these using the controls in the top Control panel or in the Character panel. When happy with the result we go to the panel options and choose Create New Character Style. This will be saved within the document, and is especially useful when creating template documents.
More tips and techniques can be found at Adobe user groups which meet regularly in most capital cities, and are free forums for designers to discuss topics and the latest Indesign features. See also many examples of our own clients’ work on our Facebook page.
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