Whether you are creating a document for DPS or ePub, the importance of using text styles exclusively cannot be overemphasized.


But styles are not just for DPS and ePub, if you are concerned with style consistency, accuracy, and saving time in the long run, then styles should be number one on your list. Oh, but I can hear the cry from those of you who pick fonts, size, justification, etc. from the control panel. Yes, you know who you are, and I know your complaint: “It’s so much bother to set up styles.”


Setting up styles should not be a problem. Here’s a tip. The next time you put together one of those documents that requires a “kazillion” styles, think seriously about reusability. 


    • Name styles for what they do, not what they are. For instance, the style “Helvetica 12 pt” would not be very reusable. A name such as “Sans_Small” or “Sans_Body” could be applied to text in any project. ˜


    • Base styles on a standard style. For instance, set up a generic style for “Sans” and one for “Serif” if your document uses both. Then base each of your styles on the generic style. As an example, the generic style could be called “Sans” then used as the based-on style for “Sans_Headline”, “Sans_Subhead”, “Sans_Kicker”, and so on. Or create a style group for “Sans” and name the styles simply “Headline”, “Subhead”, “Kicker”, and so on.


    • If you have a set of styles that consistently follow one another, such as “Headline”, “Quickread”, “Body”, set these up as “chained styles.” (Chained styles is my coined phrase to designate styles that have their next style property set to the next style in the set.)


    • If you have text frames that consistently have text styled using a particular style, set up an object style with the paragraph style enabled.


And yes, you did notice that I put an underscore between the words used to name a style. You don’t want to put spaces in your style names. When you export to HTML or EPUB, all those spaces are represented as “%20” which hinders readability. Also, if you do any work with XML, you need to strip out spaces and any special characters.


This may seem like a lot of work. But, there is a reward. Save a copy of the document as a stylesheet. 


Remove content from the copy of your document that will beef up the file size. Keep only one page with some examples of text using the styles just for reference. Give the document a meaningful name and save it in a protected folder. One place often used for saving styles is inside the the application’s “Presets” folder. You might think in terms of having a folder for generic styles (named “Styles”), one for styles used for DPS documents (“DPSStyles”), and one for ePubStyles (“ePubStyles”). 


When you create a new document, load the styles from one of your stylesheets. Because you based all of your sans styles on a generic “Sans” style, all you need to do is change its font (and maybe style), and all other styles based on follow suit. 



To make the process of loading styles even easier, use a script to start your document. Your script might provide a custom dialog for selecting a document preset and a stylesheet. It could also provide a means for determining the styles to import (all text styles, all object styles, and so forth.) Because you are taking advantage of using InDesign’s secret power (scripting), you are in control.