Making Your Headers Fancy

Would you like to know how to create responsive header designs and pull quote designs like these, that expand and contract according to the length of your text?

There are some neat styling options available in the Paragraph and Border Shading dialogue box, but these options are tucked away in InDesign. There are two ways to find it.

You can find it in the paragraph panel. If you don’t see the paragraph panel, you can open it by going to Window > Type & Tables > Paragraph (or press Opt + Cmd + t on a Mac or Alt + Ctrl + t on a PC). In the top right corner of the Paragraph panel, there is an icon you can click on that gives you a flyout menu. From there select “Paragraph Borders and Shading”.

Alternatively, if you are using the new InDesign CC 20.x release, you may be using the new layout with the styling panels on the right of the screen. With any text selected, you will see the paragraph panel appear. Click the three dots in the bottom right corner of this panel to expand the paragraph options.

Here you can alt/option + click either the shading colour or border colour icons to bring up the Paragraph Border and Shading dialogue box.

If you are using an older version of InDesign, or are using a workspace other than the new Essentials layout, you can find the menu by clicking the burger icon all the way on the far top right corner of your workspace.

Once this box is open, you can set about styling your headings and paragraphs. To style a heading that bleeds off the side of a page, dial in the following settings.

Remember to have your heading text already highlighted so the settings will be applied to the selected text.

  1. Select the “Shading” tab at the top and check “shading”.
  2. Select the background colour from the colour dropdown menu, and set the tint.
  3. Unlink the “Corner Size and Shape” icon in the centre of those settings.
  4. Select “Rounded” from the corner options dropdown menu. Dial up the value in each of those options until you get a nice rounded edge on your header. The value there will depend on the size of your text.
  5. In the “Offsets” section, change the “Width” option to “text”, and the shading will expand and contract according to the length of your text. Leave this option on “column” if you prefer the shading extend the width of the column.
  6. Still in “Offsets”, unlink the settings there so you can dial them in separately.
  7. Give some space to the top and bottom of your heading by increasing the values for those two options.
  8. In the “Left” value, increase the number until you see the shading hit the bleed of your page. If you set the “Width” to “text” previously, add in some space here so the characters don’t touch the edge of the shading.

If you’d like to create a pull-quote style, like the example below, select your text then in the Paragraph Borders and Shading dialogue box, enter these settings.

  1. Select the “Shading” option from the top and check the shading checkbox.
  2. Select your desired colour and tint.
  3. In the “Offsets” section, unlink the offset options.
  4. Dial in a value in the “Left” offset that is at the desired distance to the left of your text. In the “Right” offset, reduce the number to thin out the shading to form a thin line to the left of your text.

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