The Smart Styles plug-in delivers powerful formatting capabilities to InDesign users and adds table functionality (sorting and the use of formulas) to both InDesign and InCopy.
For a short overview, see this introduction video:
The formatting feature of Smart Styles works by converting any item on the layout to a Smart Styles Library element, thereby preserving not only object properties but text styles and table styles as well. All formatting options can then be applied in one sweep to a page item or table by dragging the Smart Styles element from the Smart Styles Library onto the item on the page.
Note: Because InCopy does not have support for libraries, the formatting features of Smart Styles are only available in InDesign.
Smart Styles elements are easily defined by creating an example with the desired formatting and subsequently dropping it into a Smart Styles Library.
Once a Smart Styles library element is created, it is not a static object but can be used flexibly by selectively choosing which of its properties should be applied.
Each Smart Styles element is divided into three property groups:
- Object Styles
- Text Styles
- Table Styles
Each of these groups or their components can be selected or deselected, giving you full control over which properties are applied at that moment.
With a single drag-and-drop, a Smart Styles element can apply table and object properties, multiple paragraph styles and attributes, per-paragraph multiple character styles and attributes to page items.
Smart Styles elements recognize a sequence of paragraph styles and attributes. This allows you to set the formatting for the first paragraph(s), the last paragraph(s) and repeated formatting for the paragraphs in between. Repetition is not limited to a single format, but can consist of several paragraph formats.
Per paragraph, Smart Styles allows the specification of a sequence of character styles and attributes from the start and end of the paragraph.
Example: You can make the first 3 words of a paragraph — or all characters up to the first comma — bold, without having to set a special invisible “end of style” marker first.
Note: Smart Styles elements can be applied to selected text as well as entire text frames.
Smart Styles also provides functionality for inserting formulas into table cells so that calculations can be made, much the same as the functionality found in a spreadsheet. The data in a table can also be sorted; either by column, selection of cells, or complete table.
The table features are also available in InCopy.
Figure: Options for sorting tables.
Flexibility and efficiency
The Smart Styles elements drastically reduce the time required for repetitively formatting page elements, tables and text selections. This frees up your time to concentrate on the design and content, thus improving the overall quality of your publication.
- Smart Styles saves time by taking out the delay caused by repeated formatting. Multiple layouts with comparable formatting, such as those in magazines, newspapers and advertisements, become nearly effortless.
- Global changes are quickly made. Replace an original Smart Styles Library element with a modified version. Reapply with a single command to automatically update all elements throughout a document that were formatted with the first version.
- Using Smart Styles, the number of actions needed to format page items decreases. Formatting a page item with InDesign requires an average of ten actions. With Smart Styles, it can be done with only one.
- Change a static table into a dynamic spreadsheet. Add formulas to cells for making calculations and sort your data in various ways.
- No additional “read” plug-in is needed. Applying a Smart Styles element will not result in a Smart Styles “footprint”; it’s all plain InDesign and you don’t need the Smart Styles plug-in to open the document, make changes, print or export.
- Smart Styles elements are stored in the standard InDesign Library. This makes it possible for multiple users to have access to the same Smart Styles Library, guaranteeing consistency.
The following terminology is used in Smart Styles:
- Smart Styles Library. Contains Smart Styles elements that allow you to apply formatting to targeted text, tables and other page items.
- Smart Styles element. A formatted page item that has been added to the Smart Styles Library.
- Page Item. Any object within an InDesign document.
- Property Items. The properties of a Smart Styles element, grouped by Object Style, Text Style, and Table Style
The Smart Styles interface
Smart Styles adds the following additional commands to the InDesign and InCopy interface:
- Library panel menu commands
- Table menu commands
Library panel menu commands
Smart Styles adds the following commands to the Library panel menu:
- Smart Styles Properties. Opens the Smart Styles Properties dialog box for turning on/off individual properties before applying a Smart Styles element as well as for assigning a keyboard shortcut to the Smart Styles element.
- Apply Smart Style. Use to apply the selected Smart Styles element to the selected page item.
- Re-Apply Smart Style. Use to update an entire document quickly after modifying a Smart Styles element.
- Smart Styles Library. Use to toggle between an InDesign Object Library and a Smart Styles Library.
For more information about using these commands, see Working with Smart Styles libraries.
Table menu commands
Smart Styles adds the following commands to the Table menu in both InDesign and InCopy:
Note: The same commands are available in the context menu of a table or cell (accessed by right-clicking the cell or table).
- Sort... Opens the Sort dialog box for sorting the data in the table.
- Formula. Contains a submenu with the following commands:
- Insert... Opens the Insert dialog box for inserting a formula. (See figure 2.2b.)
- Update. For updating formulas in selected cells.
- Update All. For updating all formulas in a table.
- Show/Hide Fields. For showing or hiding text highlighting for any values in a cell that are the result of an inserted formula.
Smart Styles property items
The following list is an overview of some of the properties that are retained when creating a Smart Styles Library item. (For a complete overview, see Smart Styles element properties.)
Object style properties
All standard page item properties are applied, including:
- Stroke properties (color, width, type, and so on.)
- Fill properties
- Colors (including tints and gradients)
- Drop shadows
- Corner effects
- Number of columns
- ...and many more
Text style properties
InDesign nested styles are applied like any other paragraph style.
Table style properties
Smart Styles elements can be applied to format individually selected cells, a single table or every table in a document identically, including running headers and footers. Complex tables can be formatted, using the ability of Smart Styles to recognize sequences of formatting properties.
Smart Styles sample files
Two sample files are provided with Smart Styles containing various examples for trying out the powerful functionality of Smart Styles:
- InDesign document: Smart Styles SampleDoc.indt
- InDesign Library file: SS Library.indl
Both files are automatically installed when opting to install the Smart Styles Example Files during the installation process. The files will be installed in a folder named WoodWing within the InDesign application folder. Instructions for using the files are contained within the InDesign document.
Smart Styles basics
Smart Styles works by making use of InDesign’s Object Library feature. The basic InDesign Object Library is used for storing objects such as formatted frames and tables so that they can be reused at a later stage simply by dragging them from the library onto the layout as new objects.
Smart Styles takes this process a step further by making it possible to drag an item from the library onto a page item and thereby applying the formatting properties of the library item to the target item on the page.
With Smart Styles installed, the object library that you have created can either behave as a regular InDesign Object library or as a Smart Styles library, depending on which command is selected in the library panel’s menu.
For more information about InDesign Object Libraries, see the InDesign documentation.
Creating a Smart Styles item
A Smart Styles element can be created once and applied repeatedly to page items, text, or tables. While complex formatting can be applied, the basic process for using Smart Styles is very simple:
Step 1. Create a new Smart Styles Library: File > New > Library. Save it somewhere on your system.
Step 2. In the panel menu, choose Smart Styles Library.
Step 3. Apply InDesign formatting properties to a page item, including text or table formatting.
Step 4. Drag the same item into the Smart Styles Library.
Step 5. Use one of the following methods:
- Apply the Smart Styles element to a page item by dragging it from the Library onto the target page item.
- With the page item selected, Right-click the library item and choose Apply Smart Style.
- With the page item selected, choose Apply Smart Style from the Library menu.
Sorting a table
Step 1. Place the cursor anywhere in the table and open the Sort dialog by doing one of the following:
- From the Table menu, choose Sort....
- Right-click the table and choose Sort....
Step 2. Choose from the available options and click OK to sort the table.
For more information, see Working with tables in Smart Styles.
Inserting a formula into a table
Step 1. Place the text cursor in the cell in which the formula needs to be inserted.
Step 2. Open the Sort dialog by doing one of the following:
- From the Table menu, choose Formula > Insert.
- Right-click on the cell or table and choose Formula > Insert.
The Formula dialog box appears.
Step 3. Set up your formula and click OK.
For more information, see Working with tables in Smart Styles.