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Use Split Window when Applying Colors to Text

Applying colors to text can be really annoying in InDesign because when you select the text, it appears highlighted—and therefore all the colors are inverted. For example, here’s some text that is selected and colored magenta:


Um, that is definitely not magenta! It looks green, right? Again, that’s because the color is inverted. Of course, you can see the real color by just deselecting the text. But that is so annoying to have to deselect everytime you want to see what the color really looks like, especially when you’re testing out a bunch of different colors to see what looks good.

So I want to let you in on a little trick that takes the frustration out. Before you go applying colors, click the little “Split Window” button in the lower-right corner of the window.


Now you have two views on the same page! Each view can have its own zoom percentage… in fact, you can even show different parts of the page, or different parts of the document in each half of the window! But here’s the important part: you can see what the color really looks like!


So now, in the window on the left (where the text is selected), you can choose any color you want, with the Color panel or the Swatches panel or whatever… and you can immediately see what it looks like.


Then when you’re done, just click that button again and the split goes away.

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

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7 Comments on “Use Split Window when Applying Colors to Text

  1. That’s a great tip for when you’re scrolling through fonts and seeing a true preview of the new face. Thank you for the suggestion!

  2. I’m doing tis since I discovered it by accident in the early days of split window … but I took it some kind of “amateur-ish”. And now: David does it … ;-)

    • Sometimes when you’re fine-tuning an object or frame you have to zoom way in to make the adjustment so that you can only see a tiny bit of the page. Using split window lets you keep track of the “big picture” so you can see what the overall effect will be. This has been a standard practice forever in Photoshop, for fine retouching or adding small details to an image. Definitely not “amateurish”!

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