Working with Character and Paragraph Styles

Mordy Golding

This video shows you how to control the appearance and placement of type using character and paragraph styles in Illustrator. You also learn how to define new styles and import styles from another document.

Requirements

To follow along with this article, you will need the following software and files:

Watch this tutorial in the Adobe Creative Suite 3 Video Workshop.

Working with Character and Paragraph styles

  1. In Illustrator, choose File > Open and open the mobile_wear.ai file.
  2. Choose Window > Workspace > Type to open the Type workspace. This also opens the Character, Paragraph, and Character Styles and Paragraph Styles panels.

    This document contains a lot of text: A title and introduction, along with scattered paragraphs with headings describing the product names and prices.

  3. Choose the Type tool in the Tools panel and select the title, High-Tech Fashion.
  4. Notice that paragraphs are threaded together via text frames. Different paragraphs have different styles applied to them, which can be seen Paragraph Styles panel (see Figure 1). Choose the Paragraph Styles panel.

    The title High-Tech Fashion, for example, has the style Super Header. Click on Maxwell J. (the author's name) and the Writer style will be highlighted in the Paragraph Styles panel. In fact, most of the text is already styled.

    Select different layers to view the applied Paragraph style in the Paragraph Styles panel.

    Figure 1: Select different layers to view the applied Paragraph style in the Paragraph Styles panel.

    The benefit of styles is that you can easily update a style and have changes apply to all text with that style.

  5. To change the black-on-gray product description text to make it more visible, choose the Selection tool. Choose the Paragraph Styles panel and double-click the style Product Description. This opens the Paragraph Style Options dialog box. Look at the various options (see Figure 2).

    The Paragraph Style Options pop-up menu.

    Figure 2: The Paragraph Style Options pop-up menu.

  6. On the left of the Paragraph Style Options dialog box, select Character Color and set the color to White. Click OK. This updates the text color for all the products for the entire document with the click of a button.
  7. To create your own Paragraph styles, in the top right corner of the Paragraph Styles panel, click the icon to display the panel menu. Choose New Paragraph Style. Click OK in the New Paragraph Style dialog box. Paragraph Style 1 is automatically added to the Paragraph Styles panel. You can double-click a style to edit its style settings; for now you'll leave the style as is.

    Paragraph styles are used to style a line or multiple lines of text. Character styles, on the other hand, are used to style individual characters. For example, say you wanted the dollar sign on each of the product prices to be styled differently than the numbers. You can use Character styles to style that single character.

  8. Choose the Zoom tool in the Tools panel, and zoom in on one of the products.
  9. Choose the Type tool in the Tools panel, and select the product price. Highlight the dollar sign ($). Notice that the Product Price style is highlighted in the Paragraph Styles panel.
  10. Choose the Character Styles panel. Select the Price Adjustment style to apply it to the character. This turns the dollar sign into a superscript (see Figure 3).

    Change the dollar sign to a superscript with Character styles

    Figure 3: Change the dollar sign to a superscript with Character styles.

    As with Paragraph styles, to edit Character style settings, you simply switch to the Selection tool and double-click the Character style to open the corresponding options dialog box.

  11. Choose the Selection tool in the Tools panel. In the Character Styles panel, double-click Price Adjustment. On the left side of the Character Styles Options dialog box, click Character Color. Choose CMYK Red, and click OK. This changes just the dollar sign character to which you applied the style.

    Last but not least, you can also import styles from one document into another.

  12. Choose the Paragraph Styles panel and click the icon in the upper right corner to display the Options menu. You can choose one of two options to import styles: Load Paragraph Styles to import select styles from another document, or Load All Styles to load all styles from another document.