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Easier Text Formatting with the Character and Paragraph Panels

Because InDesign’s Control panel (the bar across the top of the screen) displays most of the necessary type attributes when text is selected, most people don’t keep the Character panel (Window > Type and Tables > Character) or Paragraph panel (Window > Type and Tables > Paragraph) open on their screen. However, there are two situations where these panels are timesavers.

When text frames are selected

When you have one or more text frames are selected with either selection tool, type attributes don’t display in the Control panel. You have to switch to the Type tool in order to see and set type attributes. But you don’t have to switch tools when you use the Character and Paragraph panels. And when you have many separate text frames whose contents all need to use the same type specifications (as in the pie chart below), just select all the frames at once and set the formatting in the Character and Paragraph panels.

 formatting text in multiple frames

When multiple table cells are selected

When multiple table cells are selected, most of the type specifications don’t display in the Control panel, but they can still be changed in the Character and Paragraph panels.

format text in multiple table cells

Of course it would be even better to assign paragraph styles to the text to make these changes quick and easy. But if you don’t want to be bothered with styles, I think you’ll find this useful!

Keith Gilbert

Keith Gilbert

Keith Gilbert is a digital publishing consultant and educator, Adobe Certified Instructor, Adobe Community Professional, conference speaker, author, and contributing writer for various publications. His work has taken him throughout North America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. During his 30 years as a consultant, his clients have included Adobe, Apple, Target, the United Nations, Best Buy, General Mills, Lands' End, and Medtronic. Follow him on Twitter @gilbertconsult and at
Keith Gilbert

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