Indesign paragraph styles

by Design Workshop Sydney

A significant feature of any Indesign template document is the inclusion of Paragraph Styles for consistency within your documents. This is one of the many techniques we explain in more detail in our Adobe Indesign training courses.indesign-paragraph-styles
First go to the Window drop-down menu and choose Styles, Paragraph Styles. There are two main ways of then creating a paragraph style. One method is to go to the Paragraph styles panel options, choose New Paragraph Style from the list, and enter the various settings.
The alternative, and better, method is to first create some placeholder text on a page, modify the text to how you want it to look, then save these settings as a style. This is the preferred method, which we discuss here. Create a text box with the Type tool and right-click to select Fill with Placeholder Text. This fills the text box with dummy text, a few paragraphs of Latin known as Lorem Ipsum. This has been used by typesetters since the days of the Gutenberg Press in the fifteenth century. The purpose of this is to decide on a style without being distracted by the meaning of the text.
We now select a paragraph of text and make our changes via the Character and Paragraph settings in the top Control panel, or via the Character and Paragraph panels. For example we may wish our body text style to use the Arial font with a text height of 10.5 points, and a Leading value of 18 points. The latter is the space between lines of text. In Paragraph options we may want to untick the Hyphenation check-box, which will prevent the imported text from ever hyphenating. And we can choose a Space After value of 5mm, to separate the paragraphs for easier reading.
Now go to the Paragraph Styles options list and choose New Paragraph Style, name it Body Text, and hit OK. This style will now be saved with this document. If we then save the document as a template file (indt) the style will be available for use every time we use this template to create a new document.
We would also create paragraph styles for first paragraphs, drop caps, and even headers and subheads. When we have finished creating our styles we would then delete the placeholder text.
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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