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Object Styles in Adobe InDesign CS4

Chapter Description

Text isn’t the only element that makes up an InDesign layout, nor is it the only asset in a project to which you can assign multiple attributes. Frames, shapes, and strokes—collectively known as objects—potentially have at least as many attributes as text.

Combining Paragraph Styles and Object Styles

Any individual style is useful, but when styles are combined, they become exponentially more powerful. The one option that’s off by default for every new object style is the same one that adds the greatest amount of increased functionality to a text frame’s object style: the ability to designate a paragraph style for the frame. It seems that the engineers were so determined to require you to deliberately activate the option that it even gets turned off again if you create a new object style based on an object style where it’s already been turned on.

Once you do commit a paragraph style to an object style, you potentially add much more than one attribute. The Paragraph Style category in the Object Style Options dialog contains not only a menu of existing styles to choose from (and the option to create a new style), but also an option to honor that style’s Next Style setting (see Chapter 2, “Nesting and Sequencing Styles”) when the object style is applied to the text frame (Figure 5.15).

Figure 5.15 Multiple paragraph style application is enabled with Apply Next Style selected.

But wait, it gets better! The Apply Next Style check box enables the Next Style setting for every paragraph in the text frame, so each subsequent paragraph’s Next Style instruction is also honored. Using this method, a complete sequence of text formatting can be built into the frame’s object style. If that sequence is meant to repeat, as described in the “Repeating a Sequence of Paragraph Styles” section in Chapter 2, any consistent series of paragraph styles can be applied with a single click along with all other attributes of the text frame (Figure 5.16).

Figure 5.16 Paragraph styles are applied in sequence when Apply Next Style is selected.

The one limitation of this otherwise fantastic feature is that it only works on single, unthreaded text frames. However, it will work perfectly on multicolumn frames.

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