Step 4: Character Styles

Go back to Step 3: Paragraph Styles, Part 2

The first thing we’re going to for Character Styles is to make the default match our Paragraph Style default. So go to the Character Style tab and click on the default setting [Normal Character Style].

Change the settings to match the [Normal Paragraph Style] default settings we set back in Step 2: Arial, Regular, 9 point size, 10 point leading, -25 tracking, color black, Overprint turned on

The reason we do this is for consistency’s sake. When we employ the Character style, we want it to reflect our base mode. But as you will see later, you will probably only be using this to reset someone else’s graphic to your own style, clearing out any styles they may have used.

The purpose of creating Character Styles is to change just a few characters in a paragraph style without having to do it manually. For example, let’s say you want to bold and ALL CAP the first few words of a line. You could manually select the text and go up to the text attributes box and set it there, then change the text to ALL CAPS by going to Type>Change Case>UPPERCASE. This starts to get very tedious very quickly. Character Styles gives us the opportunity to do this in one click.

Create a new Character Style the same way you did a Paragraph Style, click on that dropdown box at the top right-hand corner and select Create New Character Style.

Call it “INTRO TEXT BOLD.” (I use the ALL CAPS in the title to remind me what it does.) Set the font to Arial, Bold and All Caps. However, DO NOT set the size, leading or tracking.

The reason why we’re not setting those is because we might want this to apply to a different style, say our Headline style. If we set those three attributes, then it will set the attributes when we use the style. Leaving those blank gives us more flexibility with the style.

Now, let’s try it out. Go to (or create some) the paragraphs we have on the page. Select the first three words.

Click on the “INTRO TEXT BOLD” style.

See that little plus (+) sign that appears on the right? It means that the program knows you want to apply the style, but it hasn’t fully committed it yet. Don’t ask me why it doesn’t; I’m sure that someone knows, but not me. Anyway, you will now see this:

It’s applied the ALL CAPS, but it’s not BOLD. No worries; just click on that link again until the plus (+) sign disappears. Now see what you get.

It’s BOLD ALL CAPS. Let me click off the highlight and show you.

Now, let’s talk about bullet points. You occasionally have to use bullet points to emphasize lists. Again, you could do that by manually changing fonts, but let’s set up a Character Style for it. First of all, let’s create some text for the points by adding a few hard returns to our existing text.

Let’s create a new Character Style and call it “Bullets.” This time, we’re going to use a Dingbat font. This will look different from our established font and call the attention that we want to it. In this case, I’m going to use Zapf Dingbats, but you can use Webdings, or any other Dingbat font you like.

Note once again that I have not filled in the size, leading or tracking attributes. This is for the same reasons stated above.

Going back to the text, let’s add some square bullets. In the Zapf Dingbats font (on the Mac), the lower-case “n” gives me a plain black square. So I add that to the beginning of each of my bullet point lines.

Now I select the first “n” (as shown above) and click on our new “Bullet” Character style until that pesky plus (+) sign goes away, then deselect the text. Houston, we have a bullet point.

Do the same for all of the others (or copy and paste over it, which ever is easier for you) and you have a proper bullet list.

I personally find that these two Character styles are all that I need for my workflow. However, if you find you need more (perhaps an Italic style), feel free to create more variants, changing attributes as you see fit.

Next step: color.

Go to Step 5: Creating a Color Palette

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