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InDesign has had a little-known Paragraph Style feature that can save you a lot of time and trouble.

When you’re formatting long documents, using Paragraph Styles is a must. There’s no better way to ensure standardization throughout a 500-page catalog than the consistent use of Paragraph Styles. Even if you’re disciplined about creating and using Paragraph Styles, you sometimes need to modify or “override” an existing style. Overriding an existing style doesn’t cause a global change to the Paragraph Style definition. It only modifies the one instance of text that you’ve selected.

Have you ever made a modification to a Paragraph Style and decided that you like your tweak better than the original style? You could go into your style definition and make all the same modifications, but there’s an easier way to apply your local override to the Paragraph Style definition, instantly making your style modification global.

Put your text cursor within the paragraph that has the override applied. Open your Paragraph Styles dialog box. You’ll see a plus sign next to the Paragraph Style name, indicating that it has an override applied to it. In the Paragraph Styles dialog box, click on the drop down arrow. There’s a command in there called Redefine Style. Clicking on this will cause that Paragraph Style to be redefined to include all of the overrides in the selected text. The modification will be instantly applied to every occurrence of that Style in your document.

If you’re a big fan of InDesign’s four-finger keyboard shortcuts (and who isn’t?), the shortcut for Redefine Style is Ctrl-Shift-Alt-R.

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