Thanks for coming to, the world's #1 resource for all things InDesign!

Making a Character Style Change Only the Tint of Your Text

I wrote an article a while back about how to change the color of a character style back to “ignore” so that the character style would no longer apply a color. It’s not obvious how to do that! Anyway, Susan wrote in a comment there:

What I need is a character style that tints all colors to 70%. Can I set a tint with ?? and ?? for both the fill and stroke?

This is an interesting question! Is it possible to set a character style to change the tint, but not apply a color? At first it doesn’t appear that it is, because the Tint field is grayed out and you cannot type a value in it:

changing tint

So here’s what you do: Choose a color (any color!) then set the Tint value. And then use the Command/Ctrl-click trick to deselect the swatch from the list of colors.

The Tint swatch goes blank and gray again. Drat you say… but then check out the General pane of the dialog box to see the definition:

style is tinted

Yes! This is a character style that will tint any color. So it’s an example of how sometimes InDesign’s UI lies to you (it’s blank in the Color pane, but it really applies the tint anyway).

David Blatner

David Blatner

David Blatner is the co-founder of the Creative Publishing Network, InDesign Magazine, and the author or co-author of 15 books, including Real World InDesign. His InDesign videos at are among the most watched InDesign training in the world. You can find more about David at
David Blatner

Latest posts by David Blatner (see all)

  • - November 30, -0001
Related Articles

4 Comments on “Making a Character Style Change Only the Tint of Your Text

  1. This is the kind of thing that drives prepress crazy. If you use one of these crazy methods and submit native files for print, post a note somewhere so we can alter it if need be, without doing a witch hunt to find out how it was done.

    • I love the idea of leaving notes for others who will need to look at (or edit) your file later — whether a printer or a colleague.

      But I want to be clear: When you say “drives prepress crazy” it does not mean that this causes problems when printing. This technique is very safe, and is exactly the same as applying a tint with the Swatches panel or something like that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *