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Non-contiguous text formatting in InCopy?

A large portion of InCopy users that I teach and consult with, come from a Microsoft Word background. So it stands to reason that these users tend to compare features of Word with features of InCopy. One of the most common questions that I get from these users is “Does InCopy have the ability to format non-contiguous sections of text like Word does?”

Although InCopy doesn’t have the exact same feature, you can achieve the same result in InCopy using the powerful Eyedropper tool. Although the eyedropper can be used for sampling color from objects and images, it’s ability to repurpose text formatting is quite powerful as well.

To begin, format a section of text the way that you want it to appear. In the figure below, we’ve changed a few word to italic.

Text selected with formatting applied.


Next, select the Eyedropper tool and click on the formatted text to pick up the attributes. You’ll notice that your cursor is now an eyedropper that is half full (with the style properties that you just sampled) and displays a small “T” next to it when you hover over any text. With the loaded Eyedropper cursor, drag over other text that you want to apply the same formatting to. Repeat as necessary.

Applying formatting using the eyedropper tool.

There’s more than meets the eye with the Eyedropper tool. If you double-click on the Eyedropper tool in the Tools panel, you’ll be presented with the Eyedropper Options dialog box. This dialog box allows you to control what properties the Eyedropper tool samples when you click on text or an object. For example, maybe you only want to sample the  character style but none of the paragraph formatting. Uncheck the Paragraph Settings checkbox, and your done!

Eyedropper Options dialog box.

Keep in mind that the Eyedropper tool can only be used in Layout view, It’s unavailable in Galley and Story view. But the next time you need to format non-contiguous text in InCopy, be sure to give the Eyedropper tool a try.

Chad Chelius

Chad Chelius

Chad Chelius is an Adobe Certified Instructor, Author, and Consultant in the Philadelphia area and works with clients to improve their creative workflows using Adobe products. He's also the author of several courses on He specializes in PDF accessibility using Adobe InDesign and is a regular speaker at The InDesign Conference and PePcon.
Chad Chelius

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