Creating default paragraph styles

Creating default paragraph styles is a great way of quickly being able to format and create styled text. They are especially useful if you constantly have to use the same text styles, perhaps you have to follow a predefined company style. Default paragraph styles are paragraph styles that are created by default every time a new document is created. Now that you know what they are, lets create some.

First ensure no InDesign documents are open, because we don’t want to create any styles for any open documents. Ensure the Paragraph Styles panel is open, you can always find it by going to Type Paragraph Styles. Holding down the alt key (windows) option key (mac), click on the Create new style button, see below.

Holding down the alt or option key will open the New paragraph style dialog panel and allow you to name the paragraph style and choose settings like the font etc.

The first style I created was called body text with its main settings being: font: Arial, Size: 12, as shown below.

Using the steps mentioned above, a style called heading was created with its main settings being: font: Arial, Size: 16, as shown below.

As many paragraph styles as you like can be created, with much more detailed settings than I have chosen.

Choosing a default paragraph style

Next we need to decide which paragraph style we will use most of the time, so we can make it the default style that InDesign will use to format/style our text. The body text paragraph style created will be used to format the majority of the text, so lets make that the default style – this should save us lots of time. To make it the default style all we need to do is click once on the body text paragraph style in the Paragraph Style panel  – it’s now highlighted blue and will be the default style InDesign will use to format your text.

Lets give it a try

Go to File > New and create a new document ( I will leave the settings up to you).  Take a look in the Paragraph Style panel and hey presto the paragraph styles: body text and heading are there. You will also notice that the body text style is highlighted blue in the Paragraph Style panel as we set it as our default style – so any text you create will use this style  – go on, give it a try.

More styles

Default styles aren’t unique to paragraph styles. Also consider creating default character styles and object styles, even swatches and many more other options before you actually create a document. So explore InDesign and see what you can do to save yourself some time.