Organizing paragraph styles ID

Organizing and managing paragraph styles in InDesign can be daunting. That’s especially true if you are using lots of different styles for the same type of content. For example, you might have a magazine that uses a different style for every deck. If you have many designers working on the same magazine, they will inevitably name these styles whatever they want, or nothing at all. So you’ll get styles named “deck1”, “•deck.departments”, or even “Basic Paragraph Style+” where the plus stands for local formatting. If you have any influence at all, you should try to get all these styles to into an organized, easily memorized list.

First, it is good practice to divide a long document into separate articles. That way, each document can have a small, manageable number of paragraph styles. Moreover, they can be named similarly, so there is no problem searching for the style.

Here’s the way I found is easiest. First group all your styles according to their function, and give each function a number. Next create folders for the styles based on the number.

In the following example, 01 organizes all main or body text styles, 02 organizes heads associated with 01; 03 organizes informational text styles (such as sidebars and calls to action), 04 organizes heads associated with 03; 05 organizes navigational elements that are text, such as a folio, 06 organizes navigational element that are titles and subheads; 07 organizes captions; and 08 organizes picture credits styles.

Paragraph Style Groups

Paragraph Style Groups

You’ll also see a Paragraph Style DNU. I put a style in there to use for writing notes to editorial or design, during proof rounds. I do a find and replace based on this style before final preflight.

Feel free to copy this organization, or make one of your own and share it in a comment.

Note to Applescripting noobies: If you place paragraph styles into a group, they no longer belong to the document directly. Instead they belong to the paragraph style group.

So, if your styles are in a group, this script will return only InDesign’s built in styles, “Basic Paragraph Style” and “No Paragraph Style”:

tell application “Adobe InDesign CS3”
get every paragraph style of active document
end tell

This script will return only the styles organized into style groups:

tell application “Adobe InDesign CS3”
get every paragraph style of (every paragraph style group) of active document
end tell

See ya soon.


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