Applying Styles

Table of contents:

To apply a paragraph style, place your Type Tool cursor anywhere inside the paragraph then click on the Style name in the Paragraph Styles palette. There is no need to select the whole paragraphunless of course you like doing things the hard way. If you want to apply a paragraph style to more than one contiguous paragraph, drag your cursor through those paragraphs. Again, you don't need the whole paragraph selected; you just need to make contact with at least a part of each of the paragraphs.

To apply a character style, you need to first select the text. Character styles are applied to specific ranges of text, so no sloppiness allowed here.

Applying a paragraph style doesn't remove any existing character formatting or character styles applied to that paragraphunless you clear overrides (see below). When you apply the style, if the text has additional formatting that is not part of the style definition, a plus sign (+) appears next to the current paragraph style in the Paragraph Styles palette.


When chapter headings, headlines, and subheads are set in upper and lowercase, there are a couple of different case conventions:

  • Up Style: The most common approach, where every major word is capitalized.
  • Down Style: Also known as Sentence Style, where only the initial cap and proper nouns are capitalized. This style is gaining in popularity and has the obvious editorial appeal that no one has to agonize over whether a word is a "major" word and thus needs to be capitalized.

Unfortunately, InDesign doesn't allow you to specify the case of the type as part of a style definition. However, you can change the case of a selected range of text by choosing Type > Change Case.

Figure 13.8. Up Style (example A) vs. Down Style Heads (example B).

Character styles, on the other hand, replace any local formatting, and because you can't apply two Character Styles to the same text as soon as you apply a new Character Style, the old one is removed.


Assign a keyboard shortcut to your styles and you'll be able to apply them even faster. However, only keys on the numeric keypad (in combination with modifier keys) can be used for style shortcuts. To really speed things up, try applying your styles in the Story Editor. (I wonder why can't you assign F-keys as shortcuts for Style names. What's up with that?)


Clearing Overrides

When you add formatting to text that already has a paragraph or character style applied, you are overriding the style definition. To put it another way: You've defined a paragraph style, applied it to a piece of text, and then contradicted your style definition by adding additional formatting. You can tell which text has overrides applied because when selected a plus sign (+) appears next to its style name. Maybe this local formatting is what you want, maybe not. Maybe you've inherited the document from someone elsesomeone who hasn't used styles as effectively as you would have liked and you want to clear the overrides.

There are several ways to approach this:

To clear all local formatting, but retain any Character Styles applied to the paragraph, Option/Alt+click the style name in the Paragraph Styles palette. Alternatively, click once on the Clear Overrides button in the Control palette.

Figure 13.9. The Overrides Button.

To remove just the local character formatting (retaining any local paragraph formatting), Command/Ctrl+click the Overrides button.

To remove just the local paragraph formatting (retaining the character formatting), Command+Shift+click/Ctrl+Shift+click the Clear Overrides button.

This works the same way with Character Styles.

To clear all local formatting and Character Styles: Option+Shift (Alt-Shift) +click the style name in the Paragraph Styles palette.

Tip: The Plus Sign

Curious about exactly what the + refers to? Hover the cursor over the style in the Paragraph Styles palette and a tool tip pops up with details of the local formatting.

Figure 13.10. Find/Change can be used to "map" local formatting (perhaps imported with a Word or RTF file) to paragraph styles.


Using Find/Change Find/Change is a great way to find all instances of a particular style and replace it with another. You can also use Find/Change to convert local formatting into styles. For example, if you inherit a document where the "subheads" have been locally styled in a particular font, you can look for that formatting and replace it with a specific style name.


Quick Apply

When you have a lot of stylesParagraph, Character, and Object (see next chapter)it can mean scrolling through long lists to get to the one you're after. To dramatically speed up your workflow use Quick Apply, a simple new feature in InDesign CS2 that allows you to find a style quickly by typing the first few characters of its name.

Select the text or frame to which you want to apply the style, choose Cmd+Return (Ctrl+Enter), start typing the name of the style, and you'll be taken to the closest match. You can use the Up and Down Arrow keys on the keyboard to move through the list. Simply press Return/Enter to apply the style.

Figure 13.11. Quick Apply.

Part I: Character Formats

Getting Started

Going with the Flow

Character Reference

Getting the Lead Out

Kern, Baby, Kern

Sweating the Small Stuff: Special Characters, White Space, and Glyphs

OpenType: The New Frontier in Font Technology

Part II: Paragraph Formats

Aligning Your Type

Paragraph Indents and Spacing

First Impressions: Creating Great Opening Paragraphs

Dont Fear the Hyphen

Mastering Tabs and Tables

Part III: Styles

Stylin with Paragraph and Character Styles

Mo Style

Part IV: Page Layout

Setting Up Your Document

Everything in Its Right Place: Using Grids

Text Wraps: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Type Effects

InDesign Type. Professional Typography with Adobe InDesign CS2
InDesign Type: Professional Typography with Adobe InDesign CS2
ISBN: 0321385446
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 186
Authors: Nigel French © 2008-2020.
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