About object styles

Just as you use paragraph and character styles to quickly format text, you can use object styles to quickly format graphics and frames. Object styles include settings for stroke, color, transparency, drop shadows, paragraph styles, text wrap, and more. You can assign different transparency effects for the object, fill, stroke, and text.

You can apply object styles to objects, groups, and frames (including text frames). A style can either clear and replace all object settings or it can replace only specific settings, leaving other settings unchanged. You control which settings the style affects by including or excluding a category of settings in the definition.

You can also apply object styles to frame grids. By default, any frame grid you create uses the [Basic Grid] object style. You can edit the [Basic Grid] style or you can apply other object styles to the grid. When you create or edit an object style for a frame grid, use the Story Options section to specify writing direction, frame type, and named grid.

When creating styles, you might find that several styles share some of the same characteristics. Rather than setting those characteristics each time you define the next style, you can base one object style on another. When you change the base style, any shared attributes that appear in the “parent” style change in the “child” style as well.

Object Styles panel overview

Use the Object Styles panel to create, edit, and apply object styles. For each new document, the panel initially lists a default set of object styles. Object styles are saved with a document and display in the panel each time you open that document. The Text Frame icon  marks the default style for text frames; the Graphics Frame icon  marks the default style for graphics frames and drawn shapes.

Use the Object Styles panel to create, name, and apply object styles. For each new document, the panel initially lists a default set of object styles. Object styles are saved with a document and display in the panel each time you open that document. The Text Frame icon  marks the default style for text frames; the Graphics Frame icon  marks the default style for graphic frames; the Grid icon  marks the default style for frame grids.

Open the Object Style panel

  • Choose Window > Styles > Object Styles.

Change how object styles are listed in the panel

  • Select Small Panel Rows from the panel menu to display a more condensed version of the object styles.
  • Drag the object style to a different position. When a black line appears in the desired position, release the mouse button.
  • Select Sort By Name from the panel menu to list the object styles in alphabetical order.

Define object styles

You can define a style based on the settings you’ve already applied to an object, or you can create a style from scratch or based on another style.

  1. Select the object or text frame that uses the settings you want the object style to include.
  2. Choose New Object Style from the Object Styles panel menu, or Alt-click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac OS) the Create New Style button.
  3. In the New Object Style dialog box, type a name for the style.
  4. To base the style on another style, choose a style for Based On.

    Note:

    The Based On option lets you link styles to each other, so that changes in one style ripple through the styles that are based on it. If you make changes to the formatting of a child style and decide you want to start over, click Reset To Base. That restores the child style’s formatting to be identical to the style on which it’s based.

  5. To add a keyboard shortcut, position the insertion point in the Shortcut box, and make sure Num Lock is turned on. Then hold down any combination of Shift, Alt, and Ctrl (Windows) or Shift, Option, and Command (Mac OS), and press a number on the numeric keypad. You cannot use letters or non-keypad numbers for defining style shortcuts.
  6. Under Basic Attributes, select any additional categories that contain options you want to define, and set the options as desired. Click the check box to the left of each category to indicate whether it should be included or ignored in the style.

    Use the Story Options category to specify the writing direction, frame type, and named grid of a grid object style. The named grid stores frame grid settings that can be applied to any frame grid.

  7. To apply effects, choose an option in Effects For (Object, Stroke, Fill, or Text), and then select categories of effects and specify their settings. You can specify different effects for each category. Indicate which Effects categories should be turned on, turned off, or ignored in the style.
  8. Under Export Options, select an option and specify export parameters for the option. You can define Alt text for placed images and graphics. For tagged PDFs, you can apply tags and actual text settings. For HTML and EPUB layouts, you can specify different conversion settings on each object so that they render well on different screen sizes and pixel densities.
    Export options
    Export options

    Note:

    Object export options are used to specify export parameters required when you export to different formats such as EPUB, HTML, or accessible PDFs. Object export options are applied to both text frames and graphic frames, as well as groups. See Object export options.

  9. Click OK.

Object style categories

If you want the style to apply only certain attributes, leaving any other settings untouched, make sure that the categories you want the style to control are in the appropriate state. You can use any of three states for each category: turned on, turned off, or ignored. For example, checking the Drop Shadow box will include drop shadow formatting in the object style. Deselecting the Drop Shadow box will indicate that drop shadow is turned off as part of the style — any drop shadow applied to an object appears as an override. Setting the Drop Shadow box to “ignore” (a small box in Windows or a hyphen in Mac OS) will leave drop shadow out of the style, so any drop shadow applied to the style does not appear as an override.

Object style categories
Object style categories

A. Turned on B. Ignored C. Turned off 

Note:

Categories in which the settings can be turned on or off individually, such as Fill, Stroke, and Transparency, have only two states. They can either be turned on or ignored.

The Paragraph Styles category is ignored by default, even if you’re creating a text frame. This category is applicable only if the object is an unthreaded text frame.

Apply object styles

If you apply an object style to a group of objects, the object style is applied to each object in the group. To apply an object style to a group of objects, nest the objects within a frame. (The Edit > Paste Into command is one way to paste an object into a frame.)

  1. Select an object, frame, or group.
  2. Click an object style in the Control panel or the Object Styles panel to apply a style.

If you choose Clear Overrides When Applying Style from the Object Styles panel, clicking an object style clears overrides by default. If this option is not selected, you can Alt-click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac OS) the object style to clear overrides while applying the style.

Note:

You can also drag an object style onto an object to apply the style without first selecting the object.

If a group is selected when you apply an object style, the style is applied to each object in the group.

Once you apply a style, you can apply other settings to the object as needed. Although you may override a setting defined in the style, you do not lose the connection to the style.

Use default object styles

For each new document, the Object Styles panel lists a default set of object styles. Whenever you create an object, an object style is applied to it. By default, if you create a text frame, the [Basic Text Frame] object style is applied. If you draw a path or shape, the [Basic Graphics Frame] object style is applied. If you place an image or draw a placeholder shape that has an X in it, the [None] object style is applied. You can select a different object style to use as the default for text frames and graphics frames.

For each new document, the Object Styles panel lists a default set of object styles. Whenever you create an object, an object style is applied to it. By default, if you create a text frame, the [Basic Text Frame] object style is applied. If you place an image or draw a path or shape, the [Basic Graphics Frame] object style is applied. If you create a frame grid, the [Basic Grid] object style is applied. If you draw a placeholder shape that has an X in it, the [None] object style is applied. You can select a different object style to use as the default for each of these object types.

  • To change the default style for a text frame, choose Default Text Frame Style from the Object Styles panel menu, and then select the object style.
  • To change the default style for a graphics frame, choose Default Graphics Frame Style from the Object Styles panel menu, and then select the object style.
  • Graphic placeholder frames (with an X in them), always use the [None] style as default. You cannot specify an object style as default.
  • To change the default style for a grid frame, choose Default Grid Style from the Object Styles panel menu, and then select the object style.
  • To change the default style for any object type, drag the icon that marks the default object type from one object style to another.

Note:

If you select an object style when no frame is selected, that object style becomes the new default object style for text or graphics, depending on which tool is selected in the toolbox.

Note:

If you select an object style when no frame is selected, that object style becomes the new default object style for text, graphics, or grid frames, depending on which tool is selected in the toolbox.

You can edit the [Basic] styles, but you cannot delete them.

Clear object style overrides

When formatting is applied to an object that differs from part of the style definition applied to that object, it is called an override. When you select an object with an override, a plus sign (+) appears next to the style name.

Use the Clear Overrides command to override any formatting that is either turned on or off in the object style; use the Clear Attributes Not Defined By Style to clear ignored attributes.

Clear object style overrides

  1. Select an object or group that you want to change.
  2. In the Object Styles panel, click the Clear Overrides button  at the bottom of the Object Styles panel.

An override is displayed only if the applied attribute is part of the style.

Clear attributes ignored in an object style

You may want to remove attributes from an object, even if those attributes are ignored in a style. For example, if the Fill category is ignored in an object style and you apply a red fill to a frame to which the object style is applied, choosing Clear Attributes Not Defined By Style removes the red fill.

Note:

If an object style category is turned off (unchecked) rather than ignored, use the Clear Overrides command to override the style.

  1. Select an object or group that you want to change.
  2. In the Object Styles panel, click the Clear Attributes Not Defined By Style button  at the bottom of the Object Styles panel.

You can break the link between an object and the style applied to it. The object will retain the same attributes, but will no longer change if the style is changed.

  1. Select the object that has the object style applied to it.
  2. Choose Break Link To Style from the Object Styles panel menu.

If you don’t want to retain the formatting of the object style, choose [None] in the Object Styles panel.

Rename an object style

  1. Make sure no objects are currently selected so that a style isn’t mistakenly applied.
  2. In the Object Styles panel, double-click the object style you want to rename.
  3. In the Object Style Options dialog box, type a new name for the style, and click OK.

Note:

You can also edit an object style directly in the panel. Click the style, pause, and then click again to edit the style name.

Edit object styles

  1. Do one of the following:
    • If you don’t want the style to be applied to the selected frame or set as the default, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) the style name in the Object Styles panel, and choose Edit [style name].

    • In the Object Styles panel, double-click the style name, or select the style and choose Style Options in the Styles panel menu. Note that this applies the style to any selected object or sets it as the default object type.

  2. In the Object Style Options dialog box, select the category that contains the options you want to change, and change the desired settings.
  3. Determine whether object style categories are turned on, turned off, or ignored.
  4. Click OK.

Delete an object style

  1. In the Object Styles panel, select an object style.
  2. Choose Delete Style from the panel menu or drag the style to the Delete icon at the bottom of the Object Styles panel.
  3. If you delete a style that is applied to objects or on which other styles are based, you will be prompted to specify a replacement style in the Delete Object Style dialog box. Do one of the following:
    • To restyle objects that currently use the deleted style, choose the style you want to apply to the objects and click OK.

    • To leave objects unchanged, choose [None], make sure Preserve Formatting is checked, and click OK. Any objects that use the deleted style retain the same attributes, but are no longer associated with a style.

    • To remove all attribute settings you’ve applied, choose [None], deselect Preserve Formatting, and click OK.

Note:

To delete all styles not applied to objects, chooseSelect All Unused from the Object Styles panel menu, and then click the Delete icon.

Redefine an object style

After you apply an object style, you can override any of its settings. If you decide you like the changes you made to a particular object, you can redefine the style so that it matches the formatting of the object you changed. Be aware that the Redefine Object Style command redefines only categories that are turned on or turned off, but not categories that are ignored. If the object includes additional settings, you’ll need to add those settings separately to the style, or simply create a new object style.

  1. Select an object that is using the style you want to change.
  2. Adjust the desired appearance attributes.
  3. In the Object Styles panel, choose Redefine Style from the Object Styles panel menu.

The object style definition changes to match the override settings you applied. All occurrences of the object style in the document are updated to use the new settings.

Note:

If the Redefine Object Style option is not available, the attributes you set are not part of the object style definition. To change the style definition directly, choose Object Style Options instead, or create a new style from the object.

Import object styles

You can import styles from other documents. In addition to object styles themselves, InDesign imports any swatches, custom strokes, character styles, or paragraph styles that are used in the styles. If a swatch, stroke, or paragraph style that you import has the same name but different values than an existing swatch or style, InDesign renames it.

If the object styles you import include named grids, these grids are also imported.

  1. Select Load Object Styles from the Object Styles panel menu.
  2. Select the file from which you want to import object styles, and click Open.
  3. In the Load Styles dialog box, make sure that a check mark appears next to the styles you want to import. If there is a style name conflict, choose one of the following options under Conflict With Existing Style, and then click OK:

    Use Incoming Style Definition

    Overwrites the existing style with the loaded style and applies its new attributes to all objects in the current document that used the old style. The definitions of the incoming and existing styles are displayed at the bottom of the Load Styles dialog box so that you can view a comparison.

    Auto-Rename

    Renames the loaded style.

    The object styles appear in the Object Styles panel.

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