Now that we've placed a couple of blocks of text into our newsletter, we can make the text look the way we want. We have already formatted the nameplate text using the Control panel. However, if we were to continue to use the control panel to re-format every paragraph, heading, subheading and so on, the process would be repetitive, time-consuming, and subject to errors.
Instead, we can create some predefined text specifications and save them using a method called styles. This requires an understanding of how InDesign uses formatting and styles.
Understanding and Working with Styles
A style is a predefined bundle of text and paragraph attributes, including formats such as font, type size, alignment, line spacing, and shading. Using styles establishes a consistent look for the whole document; in many programs, styles can also be used to create tables of contents or outlines.
There are two types of styles. Character styles apply to individual characters and do not involve text block specifications such as centering, indent, or line spacing. Paragraph styles can include all the text formatting that character styles have, plus some paragraph settings such as centering, indent, and line spacing. Paragraph styles make formatting large blocks of text a cinch.
The Control panel has a field that tells us what style is assigned to a paragraph or character where the cursor is currently located. We can also see the current style by looking at another panel, the Styles panel, whichlists all the styles available in the publication.
For the main article of "Classroom Technology Today," we'll format two types of paragraphs and then create Paragraph Styles based on them: Body Text and Subhead.
Formatting Body Text with the Control Panel
First, we'll format the body text. The newsletter text was imported in a default of Minion Pro, which belongs to a serif font family. This font will make the body text easily readable, so we will leave it at Minion Pro. However, the size is a little too big for this column width. In designing the body paragraph, we will adjust the type size and leading.
Working with Font Size and Leading
The choice of Font size or Type size depends upon the width of columns. A general approach would be to aim for approximately 55 to 65 characters per line. Choose body text that is readable but not too large.
Leading (pronounced like the metal, lead) is the vertical space between lines of text. InDesign adjusts leading automatically to 120% of the type size, but this value can also be changed manually. Sometimes a smaller leading value is appropriate for narrow columns. A desirable leading value is one that will allow some space between lines; not so narrow that is hard to for the eye to track the text to the next line, but not so much that the eye must jump too far between lines of type.
Let's select and format the second paragraph of body text.
Step1. To activate the Type Tool, in the Tools panel,
Step2. To select a paragraph of body text,
Quadruple-Click the paragraph that begins, "Above the doorway"
Step3. To reduce the font size,
Click, type: 10 Enter
Step4. To apply a new leading value,
Click, type: 11.5 Enter
Applying First Indents and Paragraph Spacing
A well-designed body of text includes some clear indicators of the beginning and ending of paragraphs, and often some visual white space between them. Good paragraph separation allows the reader to work through the material in conceptual chunks, and gives the eyes a "rest" between them. The rule of thumb is to apply at least one of the following to each paragraph: a first indent and a space between.
It is a common practice when using word processing applications to apply one blank line between paragraphs. Since a whole line is generally too much, this method of creating distance between paragraphs makes the publication appear unprofessional. It is much better to apply a distance between paragraphs that is about 150% of the line height.
Since our body text is fairly tight, we will apply both a first indent and additional spacing after to our body paragraph.
Step1. To view the Paragraph controls, on the Control panel,
Step2. To add a first indent, on the Control panel, in the First Line Left Indent
Click, type: .15 Enter
Step3. To add Space After, in the Space After field of the Paragraph Control panel,
Click, type: .0625 Enter
Creating a Paragraph Style Based on Existing Formatting
We will now take the text of the paragraph we just formatted and create our own style to apply to all body paragraphs and subheadings of our newsletter. The style we make will include all character and paragraph formats applied to the selected text, as well as any hyphenation and tab settings we may have made.
Once the Body Text style is created, we will create a Subheading Style based on it, and finally apply these styles to the rest of the text in the publication.
To create a Paragraph Style, first we must open the Paragraph Styles panel.
Step1. To open the Paragraph Styles panel, in the panel group,
NOTE: If the Paragraph Styles panel does not show up in your panel group, you can go to the Menu bar and Click Type and then select Paragraph Styles. Also, the keyboard shortcut to display this panel is F11 key.
Step2. To create a Paragraph style based on the selected text, in the Paragraph Style panel,
Click, Click New Paragraph Style...
NOTE: These options are also available from the Control panel, on the far right side.
Step3. To name the style Body Text, in the Style Name field, type:
Step4. To apply the style to the currently selected text,
Click "Apply Style to Selection" checkbox
Step5. To accept the changes made,
Step6. To collapse the CC Libraries panel,
Applying the Body Text Style to Other Text
Paragraph Styles may be applied in two ways. If we want to apply the Paragraph Style to a single paragraph, we do not need to highlight the entire paragraph; all we need to do is click once inside a paragraph and click the style name in the Paragraph Styles panel. However, since we want to apply the Body Text style to all the text in the main article, we will select all the text.
Let's apply the Body Text style to all of the paragraphs in the main article.
Step1. Verify that the Type Tool is selected.
Step2. To select all the text in the main text flow, on the Menu bar,
Click Edit, Click Select All
Step3. Open the Paragraph Styles panel.
Step4. To apply the Body Text Style, in the Paragraph Styles panel,
Click Body Text
Step5. To select the names of the authors, in the first column,
Press & Drag from the words, "By" through "Roods"
Step6. To remove the indent in front of the authors' names, in the Control Panel,
Click, type: 0 Enter
Formatting a Subheading Style
Now that we have reformatted the text in this article, we can see that there are some single lines there, to be designated as subheads. Subheads help to organize a story. When the formatting of subheads contrasts with the body text, they provide some visual relief and quick navigational cues.
We can use our body paragraph formatting and then add some more characteristics to it that would make it appropriate for subheadings. When we are satisfied with the new type settings, we can save the new specifications as the Subhead style.
For the subheading, we want the text to be a bit bigger and heavier, have more room between lines, more space around it, and align completely to the left of the column. Hence, we will adjust the font size and leading, along with the paragraph indent and spacing. We will make the font bold. First, since we'll be dealing with some features in the Character panel, we need to select all of the characters in the line.
Step1. To select the line of text that begins, "Lost in Cyberspace," in the second column,
Triple-Click the text
Step2. To display the Character Control panel, if necessary, in the Control panel,
Step3. To enlarge the text, in the Font Size field,
Click, Click 14
Step4. To adjust the leading, in the Leading field,
Click, Click Auto
Step5. To make the font bold, under the Font field in the Type Attributes field,
Click, Click Bold
Step6. To view the Paragraph controls, on the Control panel,
Step7. To remove the first indent, in the First Line Left Indent field,
Click, type: 0 Tab keyTab key
Step8. To add space before the paragraph, in the Space Before field, type:
.02 Tab key
Step9. To change the space after the paragraph, in the Space After field, type:
Creating a New Style Based on an Existing Style
With the Paragraph Styles panel open, we can see that something has happened to the Body Text style. The style name now has a plus beside it, indicating a style override, or a style exception. This means that something about the original style has been changed. When we select text with an override, a plus sign (+) appears next to the style name.
We can do several things with a Style override: ignore it, define it as a new style, or reject the exceptions.
NOTE: To remove formatting overrides, in the Paragraph Styles panel, hold down Alt key (Windows) or Option key (MacOS) as you click the name of the style.
Since we have added the formatting specially to this line of text in order to make a new style, we'll now save these specifications as a style. We will do it a little differently, though. We will use the Create New Style button.
Let's name a new style, Subheading, based on our modified formatting.
Step1. To create a Paragraph style based on the selected text, at the bottom of the Paragraph Styles panel,
Step2. To edit Paragraph Style 1, in the Paragraph Styles panel,
Double-Click Paragraph Style 1
Step3. To name the style Subhead, in the Style Name field, type:
Step4. To base the Next Style on Body Text, in the Next Style field,
Click, Click Body Text
Step5. To accept the settings,
Applying Subhead Styles
At this point, we need to apply the Subhead styles to the paragraphs that are intended to be subheads. We'll first apply the subhead style to the selected text, and then apply the style to the remaining subheads.
Step1. To apply the Subhead style to the next subheading,
Click the line, "Computer skills may not count"
Step2. In the Paragraph Styles panel,
Step3. Scroll to page 2.
Step4. To apply the Subhead style to the other subheads, click once and repeat step 2 for the following lines on page 2:
- What can we do?
- Make the experience relevant
- Relevancy Checklist
- Establish fundamentals
- Provide variation
Step5. Save the document.