Paragraph, character and table style best practices

New Here ,
Jun 01, 2020

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I've used InDesign for years, but haven't needed character styles or paragraph styles for several versions and when I did they were workarounds for pretty specific systems. I would always build character styles first, base paragraph styles on that, then nested styles, table styles and so on that all drew from character as the base, but it looks like that's not a best practice anymore. Question - (1) what's best practice for building styles for a heavily used template, from the ground up so I can build everything in the right order? Looking for a sequential order, and (2) are character styles completely irrelevant now? It sounds like they don't relate to paragraphs at all and if they're not the root I won't waste time building them. Help? 

 

Any advice appreciated.

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Correct answer by Barb Binder | Adobe Community Professional

I recommend starting by defining the paragraph styles—which always impact an entire paragraph—and then build the character styles that are used to emphasize specific words within a paragraph. Those character styles can be nested or not, but they are as relevant today as they always have been. I would be building my GREP styles at the same time as my character styles, and nesting them in the paragraph styles.

 

From there I would build the cell styles—which can nest the paragraph styles—and finally the table styles, which can nest the cell styles. A basic table can be fully formatted by assigning just the table style, when nesting is defined.

 

You did not mention object styles but if you have objects that repeat I would definitely encourage you to builld those as well. As a side note, an unthreaded frame using an object style can nest a paragraph style (or styles).

 

In my personal opinion, the more nesting the better because it puts the burden on InDesign to assign the formatting and it's not on us. Humans can forget but computers cannot.

 

~Barb

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Paragraph, character and table style best practices

New Here ,
Jun 01, 2020

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I've used InDesign for years, but haven't needed character styles or paragraph styles for several versions and when I did they were workarounds for pretty specific systems. I would always build character styles first, base paragraph styles on that, then nested styles, table styles and so on that all drew from character as the base, but it looks like that's not a best practice anymore. Question - (1) what's best practice for building styles for a heavily used template, from the ground up so I can build everything in the right order? Looking for a sequential order, and (2) are character styles completely irrelevant now? It sounds like they don't relate to paragraphs at all and if they're not the root I won't waste time building them. Help? 

 

Any advice appreciated.

Adobe Community Professional
Correct answer by Barb Binder | Adobe Community Professional

I recommend starting by defining the paragraph styles—which always impact an entire paragraph—and then build the character styles that are used to emphasize specific words within a paragraph. Those character styles can be nested or not, but they are as relevant today as they always have been. I would be building my GREP styles at the same time as my character styles, and nesting them in the paragraph styles.

 

From there I would build the cell styles—which can nest the paragraph styles—and finally the table styles, which can nest the cell styles. A basic table can be fully formatted by assigning just the table style, when nesting is defined.

 

You did not mention object styles but if you have objects that repeat I would definitely encourage you to builld those as well. As a side note, an unthreaded frame using an object style can nest a paragraph style (or styles).

 

In my personal opinion, the more nesting the better because it puts the burden on InDesign to assign the formatting and it's not on us. Humans can forget but computers cannot.

 

~Barb

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 01, 2020

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A Paragraph Style could not be based on a Character Style because it has a number of properties that are specific to paragraphs—First Line Indent, Indent, Space Before, Space After, Justification, Hyphenation, and many more. Character Styles are still very useful for setting character properties to words or lines inside of a paragraph, an obvious case would be italicized words.

 

Here my body is set with the Paragraph Style named Text, the first paragraph’s style is Text No Indent, which is Based On Text, and includes a Nested Style for the first sentence where the Character Style Inline Smallcaps is applied:

 

Screen Shot 17.png

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Jun 01, 2020 1
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 01, 2020

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I recommend starting by defining the paragraph styles—which always impact an entire paragraph—and then build the character styles that are used to emphasize specific words within a paragraph. Those character styles can be nested or not, but they are as relevant today as they always have been. I would be building my GREP styles at the same time as my character styles, and nesting them in the paragraph styles.

 

From there I would build the cell styles—which can nest the paragraph styles—and finally the table styles, which can nest the cell styles. A basic table can be fully formatted by assigning just the table style, when nesting is defined.

 

You did not mention object styles but if you have objects that repeat I would definitely encourage you to builld those as well. As a side note, an unthreaded frame using an object style can nest a paragraph style (or styles).

 

In my personal opinion, the more nesting the better because it puts the burden on InDesign to assign the formatting and it's not on us. Humans can forget but computers cannot.

 

~Barb

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Jun 01, 2020 1
Adobe Employee ,
Jun 12, 2020

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Hi there, 

 

I hope your issue has been resolved. But if the issue still persists, please let us know so that we can assist you.

 

If any of the above-mentioned solutions have worked for you, kindly mark the answer correct. 

 

Regards,

Sheena

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