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Chapter 4. Type > Copying Styles from Other Publications

Copying Styles from Other Publications

One of the great things about character and paragraph styles is that you can use them to unify standard formatting across a range of publications—the chapters of this book, for example. While you can’t define a “master” style sheet and have all publications get their style definitions from it (as you can in FrameMaker), you can easily copy styles from one InDesign publication to another.

  • To copy character styles from another publication, choose Load Character Styles from the Character Styles palette menu. InDesign displays the Open a File dialog box. Locate and select the InDesign publication file containing the styles you want and click the Open button. InDesign copies the character styles from that publication into the current document.

  • To copy paragraph styles from one publication to another choose Load Paragraph Styles from the Paragraph Styles palette menu.

  • To import both character and paragraph styles from another publication, choose Load All Styles from the palette menu of the Character Styles palette, the Paragraph Styles palette, or the Control palette.

When you import styles that have the same name as styles that already exist in the publication, InDesign overrides the attributes of the existing styles with the attributes of the incoming styles.

You can also move styles by copying text tagged with the styles you want from one publication and pasting it into another document (or dragging a text frame from one document into another). If the styles do not exist in the document you’ve pasted the text into, InDesign adds them. If the styles already exist, InDesign overrides the style definitions in the incoming text with the style definitions of the existing styles.

You can also synchronize style sheets among all the documents in a book when you use the Book palette, which we talk about in Chapter 8, “Long Documents.”

Styles from imported text files. When you import a Microsoft Word or RTF file that includes paragraph or character styles that don’t exist in the InDesign publication, those styles get added to the Character Styles and Paragraph Styles palettes. You can always tell one of these styles from those created in InDesign because the palettes display a little gray floppy disk icon next to the style name.

Libraries of Styles. One of our favorite uses for libraries (see “Library palette” in Chapter 1, “Workspace”) is to save paragraph and character styles that we use in multiple documents. In a small text frame, we type a few words (usually the name of the style) and then apply one or more styles to them. Then we drag the text frame into a library (select Library from the New submenu, under the File menu, if you haven’t already made one) and double-click on the library thumbnail to give it a name and description. Later, when we need that style in some other document, we can open the library file, drag that text frame into our document, and then delete the text frame—the styles remain. Of course, this works with libraries of color swatches, too.

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