Adobe InDesign Advice: How to Use Stylesheets

Hey, everyone! Today for today’s Adobe InDesign Advice, we’ll be going over the time-saving art of stylesheets. This is a crucial part of working with InDesign that I see many people disregard and then whine down the line about changes they have to spend time doing.

What are Style Sheets?

Are style sheets lists of what is currently in season? Is it something that gets updated and shared within the artistic community so that everyone knows what color schemes to use for their next pieces?


Style Sheets are preassigned ‘styles’ that you can apply to your text in a document. This includes font, case and color.

I cannot express how many times I have worked with people who do not use stylesheets. Stylesheets are huge time savers. The best way I could describe stylesheets is creating ‘templates’ of sorts for your text. For example, in this article, the mini titles have a bigger font and are bold compared to the text that you are reading right now.

Paragraph Style Sheets

Imagine that you are creating a book layout. You copy and paste the word document into a text box.

Okay, so now what you need to do is figure out how to change the giant wall of text into something easier for the eyes to look at. This is why you should break down the information into categories.

  • Title
  • Subtitle
  • Body

Depending on the project, you may organize your categories of Paragraph Style Sheets differently. However, the idea is giving a bit of diversity in your text so your readers aren’t looking at Times New Roman font size 12 the entire time. You can visually break up the text by making your chapters BOLD AND IN ALL CAPS while your subtitles can be Italic.

Character Style Sheets

Then there are character stylesheets and these apply to only bits of text that you highlight and assign the stylesheet to. In this paragraph, the word ‘character stylesheet‘ is bold compared to the rest of the text. In InDesign, I’d create a character stylesheet named ’emphasis’ so that certain words are bold and stand out.

This also works nicely if your story has a bilingual character who speaks another language. That way you could assign their bits of dialogue a character stylesheet that makes their foreign words be italic to differentiate the two languages in your writing.

Now here’s the perk to using stylesheets.If you suddenly want to change the font of all of your chapter titles, then all you have to do is change the stylesheet and ta-da all your chapter titles are in a fancy new font and you didn’t have to individually highlight and change each title.

By taking the extra time beforehand to create stylesheets and apply them to your work, you can save yourself lots of time in the long run. Naturally, there are projects that may not require so much prep-work such as a business card or one-page flyer, but the use of these style sheets are time-savers if added to your workflow.

Are there any other tips and tricks that you use for InDesign? If so share them below!

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