InDesign has a lot of paragraph settings that you can use, and here are some of the ones that I really like and store in my stylesheets…

1}}  If you are dealing with more than one language within your document, do not forget that InDesign can set a particular dictionary to specific paragraphs via your stylesheet (in advanced Character formats). Different paragraphs can have different dictionaries set.

language in paragraph styles

2}}  You can align your text to your baseline grid in the Indent and Spacing area by changing the Align to Grid option

align text in indesign paragraph style

3}}  There is a new option now called Paragraph shading – very useful for highlighting areas of text with a colour. This shading can be offset, clipped, and stopped from printing.

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4}} I personally go to the Hyphenation area and switch off hyphenation

hyphenation in a paragraph style

5}} if you want to play around with the various spacing options for your paragraph go to the Justification area – this is where you can change the Single word Justification, choose a different composer etc. This will change the look of your paragraph if you get some spacing that you do not like.

6}}  Span Columns is a very simple option but very useful. If you have a box split into multiple columns, a paragraph can be told to span the columns (like for a heading or pull quote say) without you having to muck around with multiple boxes.

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7}} Drop Caps and Nested Styles. Now here live Nested styles and these are very handy.

drop caps and nested styles in indesign

Basically you can create a character stylesheet, set the colour etc and have InDesign apply it within a paragraph stylesheet according to the settings above, like through the first 3 words, or through 1 sentence. This is very nice for highlighting.

8}} In a similar vein we have GREP Style. Now GREP is an article all by itself (in fact several) however it basically allows you to pattern match some characters and apply a character style when that match occurs. For example, say I want all my numbers in red. The problem is numbers can appear anywhere. There is no absolute rule the allows me to find them. They are not all placed at the beginning of a paragraph for example. This is where GREP comes in. With a simple (or not so simple) pattern match we can tell the paragraph style to find all numbers wherever they are and apply a character style to them…

grep styles in indesign paragraph styles

Anyway there are many more paragraph settings that you can use but these are some of the more powerful ones, I hope you find them useful.

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