Depending on the type of document you are working on, the process of design can be optimized by automating common tasks.
When the amount of text is great, and it has a consistent structure, as far as header, titles, blockquotes, captions, and so on, then styles are by far the best tool for easily applying these features. With a single click, you can apply the various font parameters you have been using throughout your document.
There are several advantages to using styles:
About the only disadvantage is the time it takes to plan and create these various styles, but even here there is an easy allowance to adjust your style later, so less pressure to get the style "exactly right" the first time.
Making a simple style is actually a very quick process. It takes no more time than setting various font and typography characteristics with the Properties palette, and you end up with something you can immediately reuse somewhere else.
Tip: It's good practice to begin making styles as you begin a document. Think about some basic elements such as the text body, headings, captions, and make some reasonable attempt at these. Remember, you can easily alter these later once your document begins to take shape.
The Style Manager consists of two main parts. When you initially open it with Edit > Styles from the menu, you see this smaller part shown above, where you may select a style and act upon it (Edit), or create a new one (New).
To create a style of whatever type requires a few steps:
Character Styles and Paragraph Styles are related, but not exactly the same. A Character Style has to do with the particular attributes we have set for the font, such as the typeface, its weight, size, kerning, whether it might be underlined, struck through, and the other features you see above.
One feature of a Paragraph Style is that it also implies an associated Character Style, but the reverse is not true. Thus we can use a Character Style to modify the appearance of a font in mid-sentence without affecting the structure of its paragraph or the font elsewhere in that sentence.
Consider, for example, a situation where you may have some text which contains numbers referring to some statistics. Since you want these to stand out from the surrounding text, you change the typeface, or weight. Using the Properties palette, you could highlight these one-by-one, then modify settings as needed. If you use styles, however, you make the settings once, then simply apply the Character Style, and if later you modify the style, it is immediately applied everywhere it was used.
So to be more specific:
As was stated above, the settings for a Paragraph Style include those for its associated Character Style.
As its name suggests, Paragraph Style is applied to an entire paragraph of text. What may be less obvious is that, in addition to the features of a character style, you also may set linespacing, indentation, presence of drop caps, optical margins, space above or below a paragraph, justification, and tabs.
Although less commonly used, Line Styles can also be useful for maintaining a consistent appearance to frame borders, or any lines which you may use in your document.
Once you have created your styles, they are available in selected locations for their application.
These are both available in the Properties palette, under Text > Style Settings. Use some caution, so that you understand how to apply each style from its drop down list. There is also some importance of the order in which to apply styles.
If you notice trouble reverting in case you have made a mistake, you should try the Remove Direct Paragraph/Character Formatting buttons (with the broom icon), to attempt to undo some application of a style. Going back to default styles may also help.
The other place to apply Paragraph Styles (but not Character Styles) is in the Story Editor, where you can, paragraph by paragraph, apply styles.
There is only one place to apply a Line Style, in the Line tab of Properties palette. Simply select your object, and choose the style from the list. If it's a frame, the style is applied to the border.
Chances are, you have already seen the Edit button in the Style Manager dialog.
In case you might import text from ODT or HTML formats, you will likely see that some new styles appear in your list. You may want to check these styles and adjust as needed, or you may find you can substitute some style you have created, then delete them.
In case you haven't already seen the benefits gained from using styles, you can also reuse styles you have created in some other document.
Note that if the imported style uses a color not in your palette, that color will be imported as well.
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