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StevePerry's picture
33 pencils

Taking advantage of InDesign’s ‘Next Style’

Next Style

If you found out that you could format 100s of pages of repeated copy with one click of a button, would you take advantage of it? I should hope so! Most of us are taking advantage of the Style Sheets and the even more powerful Nested Style Sheets (if not then I recommend that you do) in Adobe’s InDesign. This can be taken further with ‘Next Style’. This is the Wolverine* of the style options.

This tip assumes that you already know how to set up style sheets. For this example, imagine that we are setting 10 pages of 3 column company details, all using the same formatting pattern. Simply set up your style sheets the same as you would before, including your nested styles if you so wish. For example lets say that we have basic styles set up like this;

Company Name (paragraph style)
Business Sector (paragraph style)
Description (paragraph style)
Telephone Contact (paragraph style)

This is the basic format for each company. In between each company, you would like to include one blank line to separate them. So, simply duplicate the ‘Description’ style and call it ‘Blank Line’ – this is important! Your page formatting pattern will be like this;

Company Name
Business Sector
Description
Telephone Contact
Blank Line
Company Name
Business Sector
Description
Telephone Contact
Blank Line
Company Name
Business Sector
Description
Telephone Contact
Blank Line

Etc., etc. Now, work through each paragraph style sheet changing the ‘Next Style’ to the required paragraph style. For example, edit ‘Company Name’ and under ‘General’ where it says ‘Next Style’, in that pull down menu select your ‘Business Sector’ style sheet. Then in ‘Business Sector’ select ‘Description’ etc., working all the way through, selecting your next styles. When you get to ‘Telephone Contact’ make sure you select ‘Blank Line’ as your next style. Then, edit ‘Blank Line’ and select ‘Company Name’ as your next style. Those two last steps are absolutely vital! It will not work without those two steps so beware.

Basically what this does is set up a formatting loop. Now, double click your text box and select all, open your paragraph styles palette and control click (or right click) on ‘Company Name’. In that fly-out menu, near the bottom, you will see ‘Apply Company Name and then Next Style’. Choose that option and voila! All of your text will be formatted.

I hope that is clear! If not then please let me know and I will try and clear it up, it’s my first blog post!

*insert your hero of choice.

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Evolution in Progress

Commenting on this Blog entry is closed.

Ivan's picture

Thanks for posting your very first article! I'm only learning stylesheets, so this tip is a bit too advanced for me, but I'll try to catch up on the weekend. Got to love tips that save time!

bteverybody's picture
101 pencils

Combine this with nested styles, and you've got one wicked timesaver. You can format an entire document in moments that you say will take hours, and then go read Creativebits for the rest of the afternoon. *innocent whistle*

geoff's picture
118 pencils

Instead of a blank line, could we not use a "space after" or "space before" setting - thus getting rid of un-needed styles and... separating style and content? ;)

StevePerry's picture
33 pencils

Thanks for the welcome, much appreciated!

Thanks for pointing that out Geoff, yes you could indeed use the 'space before/after' attribute. In fact that would be a much cleaner way.

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Evolution in Progress

Tigerstorm's picture
1009 pencils

And a really good first article.. Keep em coming!

joelnewcomer's picture
34 pencils

....well, most of it anyways.....Next Style and Nested Styles are incredible tools for formatting huge amounts of text....I deal with alot of real estate ads and listings in a weekly newspaper and I could not live without InDesign and the awesome features it has...

okay, here is the rest of my thunder....play with Data Merge in combination with Next Style and Nested Styles...now we're talkin'

...just today a web solutions company completed a web submission form for us that delivers information in CSV (comma separated) format...using Data Merge I automatically pull that text into my layout and basically do nothing manually....it even pulls photos in and scales and centers them....just do a little reading up on InDesign...it isn't that hard to figure out.

oh, but even though I love Creative Bits, I don't spend ALL that extra time here...I am always improving the design of the paper and helping out in other areas....

taking the time to learn InDesign thoroughly can make you an invaluable asset to your company....

ciao

dburney's picture
22 pencils

I strongly suggest that anyone who receives data from clients as Excel documents take a look at Data Merging. I haven't had the opportunity to use it with images yet - but when dealing with large amounts of data (CSV, Tab Delimited, whatever) it really can't be beat. Thanks Joel for reminding me how awesome Data Merge is. And I've only just started messing with nested styles - next style will be "next" on my list to play with.

jonathanmortimer's picture
45 pencils

This sounds like a really good use of existing technology, I'm only just getting into style sheets for use in my webpages but I can see the potential they have. I wonder if anyone has thought of selling or licensing InDesign style sheets as people do stock art or other computer-based products, is it possible? I don't know if style sheets are considered Public Domain or what.

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