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Does the functionality exist to have a persistent set of character and paragraph styles that's available on an application level as opposed to document level?

I know that styles can be imported from other InDesign files. I make a lot of material based on the same design template, and I end up with slightly different versions of my styles in each file. I'm looking for a way to keep everything up-to-date in one place.

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2 Answers 2

Yes.

Simply set up and configure Paragraph or Character Styles (or table, cell, etc) with no document open.

The new styles will then be available in any new document. But they won't be added to any existing documents.

You could also configure a template file - .indt - which contains your styles, then start each new document by opening that template.

There is no way to "sync" styles across multiple existing documents which I'm aware of. Unless, of course, you use the Book command and treat each file as a chapter or something (never tried this).

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Just don't change the [Default] styles, which can wreak havoc if someone opens the document in a different copy of InDesign with the... erm... default defaults. –  Alan Gilbertson May 1 at 23:03

If you're working with a single size and layout, then an INDT template file (or an IDML, which is smaller, version-independent, and creates an Untitled document just like a template) containing your styles is a fairly easy fix, provided you can restrain yourself from "tweaking" the styles in individual documents.

If your styles are evolving over time, then after saving a document that contains the latest iteration, you can delete all the content and Save As an INDT, overwriting your old version. That won't change existing documents unless you open them and import the styles from your new template, but it will keep things straight going forward.

I'm not a fan of radically changing the application-level defaults unless your copy of InDesign really, truly will be used only to create this kind of document. Loading a set of text styles from a template or another INDD is something that would be simple to script, though. A script can be assigned a shortcut key, or could be made automatic whenever a new document is created.

From the way the question is worded, I think you'll find that keeping iron discipline in how you use styles, so that you don't "end up with slightly different versions" in different documents, will eliminate most of the problem.

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