InDesign indents

aku_ankkuli's picture

There must be a simple way to tell InDesign that although I generally want to indent my paragraphs, I really do not want to indent the first line of a paragraph (because the previous line is empty). Could someone help?

Chris Rugen's picture

You can do it either here, the paragraph palette (I just realized I messed up, it's the space just below the highlighted area):

InD Pgh Palette

Or here, in the paragraph styles:

Pgh Style Indents

If I understand, you want 'hanging indents' on your paragraphs. Just set the 'First Line Indent' to the negative of what the paragraph indent is.

For example:
Left Indent = 2p0
First Line Indent = -2p0

Your screens may look different. I'm using InDesign CS in OS X.

aku_ankkuli's picture

Thanks but this does not work - I tried. If I set left indent above zero, the entire paragraph moves to the right, which I don't want. If I select the entire text (a long text imported from Word), leave the left indent to zero and just increase the first line left indent, my paragraphs get indents all right, except such paragraphs should not be indented that are immediately after an empty line.
I'm using InDesign 2.0.
Any more suggestions? I am really desperate and willing to try anything except folk dances.

marcox's picture

You're going to need 2 different setting to accomplish this, Aku. Select the paragraph that follows the empty line and set all of the indents to 0. Then select the rest of the text, and give it the first line indent you prefer. There's no simple way to automatically tell InD to not to apply the indents after an empty paragraph.

I incorporate these settings into style sheets, e.g., Body Text No Indent, and Body Text. The first is based on the second, so that any changes made to the Body Text style make their way to the No Indent style as well.

Once you get the styles set up, you could use Find/Change to find the paragraphs that follow a blank line and apply the appropriate style sheet.

kris's picture

This is quite peculiar, as having the first para of a body of text flush is rather standard. Why can't Indy make it easier? Plugins anyone?

as8's picture

You guys are so InAhurry.
But dat is called 'market' I know.

Mina rakastan saata,
kukaan ei voi lahjoa sita,
tai muuttaa sita,
se ei valita politiikasta
tai rahasta.
Voit vain hyvaksya sen ja nauttia siita.


marcox's picture

As I mentioned in my post, Kris, this effect is already easily achieved with the intelligent use of style sheets.

But you're right, a little more power wouldn't hurt. I'd like to be able to set up a parent-child relationship between style sheets, so that all text that follows a paragraph styled "subhead" has no indent, for example.

John Hudson's picture

At the ATypI conference in Prague, the lead developer for InDesign demo'd nested styles from the upcoming version of InDesign. This seems similar to what you are suggesting, Marc.

kaisa's picture

I use nested styles in InDesign all the time and they work wonderfully. I'm using InDesign CS.

For the book I'm designing at present, for example, I have:
One parent paragraph style, with no indent, which consists of nested styles of: Drop cap, then 1st 3 words in small caps, followed by regular body text in rest of paragraph.

You can then define the "Next Style" to follow when you press the carriage return; which in my case is the regular body text face with a 1st-line paragraph indent . If you define this paragraph style to be "based on" the parent style, then any changes to the parent will flow on to the child styles (eg: shared attributes such as the body text face, the color, etc).

The book "Real World InDesign CS" has great explanations of styles and nested styles. Failing that, I think there may be something here:
From memory, he also has material on previous versions of InDesign - there might be some material relating to the original question there.

jay's picture

InDesign can also do amazing things via scripting. AppleScript is fairly easy to pick up if you are using a Mac; if you are using a PC, you have to use VisialBasic or JavaScript, and I haven't gone there yet.

Some very good help is available at:

marcox's picture

Excellent point, Kaisa. Unfortunately, the "next style" attribute only works if you're writing your manuscript in InDesign -- it doesn't apply to imported text, so it wouldn't help Aku.

charles ellertson's picture

I may be missing something here, but I think what you

tina's picture

I found out that mostly you can save lots of time by getting rid of any pre-formatting before pasting your text into your InDesign document. Easiest way to do this is by pasting the text into an editor like simple text or word pad and save it again as txt or text only. That means a fresh start in InDesign without any strange preformatted bits and pieces and strange styles emerging in the paragraph styles list which may interfere with fresh formatting. If you need to draw a comparison with the originating word-document, a pdf works more convenient than the word-document itself.

kaisa's picture

InDesign CS now ignores all formatting of pasted text by default.

In the Scripting folder of InDesign CS, there's a sample script that's called "TextCleanup". It runs find/change sequences on your text, like fixing double spaces and double returns, etc. that you can modify yourself to suit. There's instructions in there too. I'm about to start experimenting with it.

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