In my InDesign document, figure captions are bold when they appear in the body of the document, and non-bold when they appear in the list of figures. But when I need to italicize text in a figure caption, this results in bold text in the list of figures.

How can I have bold italic text in the figure caption and non-bold italic text in the list of figures?

Here's my setup:

  • InDesign CS5
  • The paragraph style for figure captions sets the font style to bold
  • The list of figures is an automatically-generated table of contents. The paragraph style for TOC entries has a font style of regular.

Styles I'm using

Paragraph styles

Figure Caption: Font family: Helvetica. Font style: Bold.

List of Figures: Font family: Helvetica. Font style: Regular.

Character styles

Oblique: Font style: Oblique.

Bold + Oblique: Font style: Bold Oblique.

Except where I state otherwise, text uses a character style of [None].

Desired result

This is what I want to have:

Caption: Figure 7. Excerpt from Routes I Know

List of figures: Figure 7. Excerpt from Routes I Know..................31

First Try

I used the Oblique character style to italicize the text in the caption. So the Figure Caption paragraph style makes the text bold, and the Oblique character style makes (part of) the text italic. The resulting text is italic, but not bold.

Caption: Figure 7. Excerpt from Routes I Know

List of figures: Figure 7. Excerpt from Routes I Know..................31

Second try

I used the Bold + Oblique character style on the text in the caption. Both the bold and italic apply to the list of figures.

Caption: Figure 7. Excerpt from Routes I Know

List of figures: Figure 7. Excerpt from Routes I Know..................31

EDIT: Added more info about the paragraph styles I'm using

  • I'm still a bit fuzzy on what you put into each set of styles, but it sounds like you're going to have to spend some time tweaking the para and character styles with oblique and bold oblique weights. You just have to try it repeatedly with different settings to see what works. Nov 4, 2012 at 1:14
  • Thanks for looking at this. I've updated the question with more details about the styles I'm using. And I've tried messing around with the settings, but it's not getting me what I want.
    – Evan
    Nov 5, 2012 at 19:42

4 Answers 4


I am still not sure I understand the question etirely but I think the ploblem is that Bold Italic is its own Style and not Italic + Bold (like it is e.g. in a Word Document or this Editor). So the Character style cannot be passed down from Italic to Bold Italic.

I still don't have a good solution but here is my workaround:

Create the Table of Contents, Copy it into a new document, delete the bold italic character style and when promted, replace it with the italic character style.

It's an ugly solution but a quick fix (as opposed to making changes in ever line in the TOC). I'll look into this though, interesting problem.


The most direct way to handle this is to Find/Replace any instance of the Bold+Italic Character Style in the List of Figures Paragraph Style with your Italic-only Character Style.

In generating any TOC, InDesign passes through unchanged anything that is not exactly as defined in the target Paragraph Style. Thus if you have a 24 pt chapter title that occupies two lines, and you tweak the leading of the second line for better appearance, that exact leading value will be applied to the corresponding 10 pt entry in the TOC (where it will make no sense at all). I've raised this point with the InDesign folks a couple of times in the past. Perhaps it's time to bring it up again.

(Note: You'll have to do this each time you regenerate that LOF.)


A workaround could be to use a Character Style that fakes the Italic in the text (using the Skew property) that way the Italic property would apply both to the bold and to the regular text.

  • 1
    Nice one! Still if you want to be super professional then using proper Italics are recommended! you know what I mean ;)
    – Mamoon
    Feb 8, 2018 at 11:45

have you tried zapping your font caches for Adobe InDesign? or checking the actual font files to make sure they are not corrupted in anyway? I also assume your OS and CS5 of InDesign are both on the latest free updates?

  • Not sure that has any influence on the issue as it is reproducable on my machine and is actually about paragraph styles...
    – KMSTR
    Nov 9, 2012 at 9:59
  • Ah, ok, did not catch that - still useful advice in general though - can never hurt, right! Nov 9, 2012 at 10:06

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