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InStep: Making Figure Legends

Take the pain out of creating labels for complex figures and diagrams with the help of some style tricks and the table of contents feature.

In my work, I produce publications such as technical manuals and parts pricing lists. These documents contain complex images with elaborate legends labeling all the important details. The process of creating and updating these legends was always tedious and error-prone, so I wondered if there was a better, more automated way to do it in InDesign. I found that I could use the Table of Contents feature along with a nested paragraph style to deal with these legends easily. This method might be a little bit laborious to set up, but the payoff is great, especially when working with long legends. Here’s how it works.

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Stefano Bernardi

Stefano Bernardi

As Redokun's Co-Founder, Stefano Bernardi spends most of his time helping customers to optimize their InDesign workflow on multilingual projects. He also holds in-house InDesign courses for companies in the Venice, Italy area.
Stefano Bernardi

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3 Comments on “InStep: Making Figure Legends

  1. This is pretty good tip. I used a similar process to this when I have made some catalogues with just an image and a reference code underneath.

    If you have several to do at once, could you copy and paste the set up across each diagram, and then just adjust the position and info accordingly?

    • Lyndon, yes that should work… except you would need to create and apply a different paragraph style for each figure… and create a different Table of Contents for each one (based on that paragraph style). See the paragraph above that starts “To build multiple legends in one document…”

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