Hi everyone, I'm quite new to InDesign so I assume that this question is out there already but I don't have the keywords to effectively search for it.
Sometimes I select all the text in a text box and choose a paragraph style, but InDesign won't fully apply the paragraph style. It might change most of it, but not the size or something. It puts the + sign at the end of the style to indicate that it's not the true style, and I can't force it to overwrite everything and just make the text that style. I often go find a different example of the paragraph style without the plus, and manually check and enter all the parameters until the + goes away. I'm sure that's not the best practise.
Is there a reason this is happening which I can do something about? And if not, what am I doing wrong in my workflow? I'm sure most professionals working with InDesign aren't finding out during a product review that their headers were different sizes!
Honest answer: this would be a good place for a tutorial that covers all the basics.
The short answer is that InDesign will apply styles and try to preserve certain overrides that might be applied. For example, if you have a paragraph with one word italicized (using either a spot override, which is bad, or a character style, which is the right method) it will apply the style to everything but NOT remove that override.
If the overrides are applied using spot methods (select-and-apply something like italics, bold, another font, etc.) the para style will then show a + to show that the paragraph has been changed to that style, but overrides still exist. (If the override is a defined character style, it will not usually show a + flag.)
So the basic method is to just put the cursor in a paragraph and click the style, which will be applied to the whole paragraph. It's better not to select all the text, because that does not increase the way ID applies the style, but can cause other formatting faults.
If you click in a paragraph, apply the new style, and the style name grows a +, you can either clean up the formatting by (say) applying a Bold character style where a spot override was used, or completely clear all overrides with one of several right-click options. (Right-click on the applied style name in the list to see.) Experiment with those to see what they all do on various paragraphs.
If it's not clear from that, ALL text in ID should have nothing but specific styles (paragraph or character) applied. Never use spot formatting, as is so common in apps like Word. Get rid of such spot formatting whenever you encounter it.
A tutorial will make this all much clearer and fill in the gaps. 🙂
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Thank you for this helpful explanation. I have been slowly adapting to a workflow where there are no spot changes. In fact, that's what I'm trying to do - remove the spot changes and format everything so it's harmonious across the whole document.
After posting my question I did finally see the button under the paragraph styles tab that has the paragraph symbol with the diagonal line and x beside it. My new system is to select the text, press this button and then apply the paragraph style. That has solved the problem, but your response gave me other insights that will help me along the way. Thank you!