how to differ intend with one paragraph style (INDD)

zydrius's picture


I am desperately searching to make this possible with one indesign paragraph style? is it possible, if so , then how? I mean first paragraph with 0 indent, and following ones with 5 or any points.
see here>

thanks everybody

Florian Hardwig's picture

Hi Žydrius,
as far as I know, the answer is no. Maybe there’s something new in CS4?

I use a little workaround that is almost as fast as having only one style:

  • set up two paragraph styles: one without indent (#1), one with indent (#2)
  • within the style options for #1, set the ‘next’ parameter to ‘#2’
  • select all your text and ‘apply paragraph style #1 and then next’*, via a right-click (control-click) in the paragraph style palette

*) I don’t know how the exact wording is in the English version

aluminum's picture

I've never touched InDesign, but do find it hard to believe that this isn't a viable thing to do with paragraph styles. IIRC, didn't QuarkXPress allow for this way back in version 3?

kentlew's picture

The simplest way to achieve this, in my opinion, is the good old-fashioned way. One paragraph style for your basic text style. Include a tab position at the first indent. Use a tab at the beginning of every paragraph except the first one. Seems unsophisticated, I know. But after years of trying to be fancy about it, I realized that simplest is best.

-- K.

charles ellertson's picture

I'd second what Kent says. Been doing it that way for 25 years, seems to work fine.

You can set the tab position in your paragraph style(s), so each time you hit the tab, you will get the indent. And of course, with different paragraph styles, you can have a different indent value. I frequently use 1 pica for a text paragraph indent, but 1 em (further) for an extract paragraph indent.

kentlew's picture

You know, when I started out, I thought "tabs are for typewriters, we have computers now" and I used to try to work with paragraph indents in styles. But that just led to a population of multiple parent/child paragraph styles. Not to mention the fact that I was constantly having to remove the tabs that copywriters and editors were putting in their copy (silly editors ;-). And then applying all these multiple paragraph styles.

Needless to say, it didn't take long to see the error of my ways. Fancy-schmancy; simple is better.

Now, on the off-chance that I get a manuscript without tabs, all I have to do is search for paragraph breaks and replace with para break + tab. Then remove the few that come after a heading. Not too onerous.

-- K.

charles ellertson's picture

Ijust realized that what I wrote wasn't clear -- When I said different paragraph styles, I meant different elements, like (1) text, and (2) prose extract, each using a different tab setting for the paragraph indent.

We set up a manuscript for import just like Kent. The editors I love are the one that sometimes use a tab and sometimes five word spaces (they think it is the same).

Katharina's picture

"The editors I love are the one that sometimes use a tab and sometimes five word spaces (they think it is the same)."

The editor of one of my books actually refused to get acquainted with the Quark they were using at the publisher's. Being an "intellectual" he saw no point in learning the skills of the craftspeople. Eventually he got fired.

Arjun's picture

set the paragraph indent to 5 point or whatever and set the first line indent to just 0 point? Wouldn't that work?


zydrius's picture

Florian, Your way is almost perfect. Thanks.

Anyway it is so 90-ies:)

Adobe should make it possible with nested styles or something similar, i think.

There should be timesaver for good typography:)


>> * set up two paragraph styles: one without indent (#1), one with indent (#2)
* within the style options for #1, set the ‘next’ parameter to ‘#2’
* select all your text and ‘apply paragraph style #1 and then next’*, via a right-click (control-click) in the paragraph style palette

charles ellertson's picture

The above works fine as long as you have simple text: no subheads, no spacebreaks, no extracts where the following text does not begin a new paragraph, no lists with the same as above, etc. etc. Which is why Kent & I & others use the tab.

If you only had one paragraph per chapter to fix, I can't shed many tears.

There should be timesaver for good typography:)

It has been my experience that most "timesavers" actually hinder good typography. Those time savers make assumptions that might fit one person's needs, but get in the way of others. YMMV.

Bruno Bruno's picture


paragraph's picture

Here I go again, getting into trouble. In my view, it is essential for any professional layout to be open ended, transparent and reusable.

The reasons for this are: the possibility of a reprint with corrections, a typesetter dying before second edition, etc. All pretty common sense, and obvious. Nothing really that could be called "a time saver".

The rule is simple and universal, eliminating all misunderstandings: no extra characters in files. Not one.

What has just been recommended above can be extended to hitting a return to start a new line, or return and any numbers of spaces to align a hanging indent in a list. Just that authors type a tab or five spaces in a row for indented paragraphs does not mean that we should keep them and forget how to use paragraph indents.

As to the original question, use two styles. One with no first line indent, and the other one with some first line indent. Then figure out a way to apply them simply, as has been suggested.

litera's picture

I've been looking at the same capability in InDesign CS4... But to no avail. And it makes sense. Paragraph style is suppose to support one paragraph at a time. Not more of them. The best thing is probably with setting Next style property.
Robert Koritnik

nepenthe's picture

This was another aspect of TeX that could be handy for very standardized documents. When you say in TeX that the style for every paragraph after a subheading will not be indented, TeX would just make it happen. If you're formatting standardized articles where this is always the case, it is a nice feature to have. I'm not sure why there is no "Force next style" option for paragraph styles in InDesign, which is I think what Zydrunas was hoping for. It's certainly one feature I miss from TeX!

paragraph's picture

A feature like that would indeed be great, much better than using macros in Word or Nisus to apply the next style or whatever cludges we used to do.

BTW, can it be scripted for ID?

nepenthe's picture

I never thought about doing this as a script ... it could probably work. I don't think you could do it from the find/change dialogue, but it should be possible to write a script to replace the style of any paragraph following a particular style. Clumsy, compared to a check box, but what are you gonna do? Probably someone from would know how to write such a script. I've never tried writing one myself.

nepenthe's picture

In fact ... it looks like this could be the trick. Check it out:

edit: At least it's pretty close. Still a bit too constraining for what we were looking for.

paragraph's picture

WOW! That does it. I did not know about the looping possibility. Thanks, JP.
And many thanks to Michael Murphy, if he reads this.

nepenthe's picture

But it only works if every section has the same number of paragraphs. If you wanted to apply this to, say, a textbook, it wouldn't work because each section would have a different number of paragraphs :(

I'm reading up a bit on IDs GREP feature, even though I'm supposed to be writing a glossary of philosophical terms right now ...

nepenthe's picture

Sorry to be posting excessively here, but after some experimentation, I was able to formulate a compromised solution based on the video I linked to:

1. Create your paragraph styles. For example a nonindented style called "noindent" and an indented style called "indent".
2. In the options for "noindent" select the next style as "indent".
3. For the "indent" style select the next style as "same style".
4. Select all the paragraphs in a section for which you want this sequence to apply.
5. Right-click (or option click) on the style called "noindent" and select 'apply "noindent" then next style'
6. This will format all the selected paragraphs accordingly: the first selected paragraph will be "noindent" while the remainder of selected paragraphs will be "indent".

The reason why this doesn't quite solve the original problem is that it requires a person to manually identify sections before applying the style sequence. It answers the question in that it is still easier than formatting each paragraph individually. Ideally there would be a way to either identify sections to which style sequences (groups?) could apply, or a way to specify that for particular styles, the following style should automatically update itself to be the one listed as "next" style. (Persistent linked styles)

As for GREP, it seems that from within ID, it is only useful for character strings within paragraphs, and not relations of paragraphs. There might be a way to automate this feature with JavaScript, but on that I'm ignorant.

Florian Hardwig's picture

Hi JP/nepenthe,

that’s pretty much the same what I had suggested, isn’t it?

nepenthe's picture

Florian: Hehe, I guess so ... Sorry to have not read your post carefully! Looks like Jan missed the significance of your your post as well. I guess the only thing I added was to make it clear that if the final style of the sequence is set to "same style" as the next style, then it will apply that final style to all subsequent paragraphs in the selected text---the "looping" aspect, as Jan puts it. I hadn't gathered this significance from what you originally wrote.

By the way, I really admire the work on your portfolio site. Wonderfully designs that are well represented.

Florian Hardwig's picture

You’re right, I didn’t explicitly state the ‘next = same style’ detail – I thought that was obvious, but it actually isn’t. Thanks for the addition.
And also thanks for the kind words, much appreciated.

paragraph's picture

Same here, Florian. Lazy reading, after too much grog. Apologies.

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