I'm working on an illustrated book with artwork throughout. Every so often, I have a spread that has a dark background. I've created a Master page with headers and folios set in white but I can't see a way to automatically change my paragraph/character style for text on that page. The text of the book is one long run and I'm concerned that if I override it manually, any re-flow of text is going to cause serious problems.

Is there a way to get InDesign to apply this white text conditionally if the page Master is the dark one?

  • So far, the best temporary solution I've found is to create an object style for those text frames that applies a solid white inner glow to the text within that frame. It looks okay digitially, but I shudder to think what problems this will throw up in production... Oct 22, 2023 at 20:45

1 Answer 1


Nothing else than your "inner glow" has been appeared in the first ten days. It surely works assuming

  1. There's no light objects below the text object which got the white glow

  2. The PDF is flattened properly so that the printing machine does not attempt to print white (=nothing) as an overprint on the already printed dark background. Hopefully the printing house is up to the task. Try to persuade them to assure in an email "they can handle it" and to show a proof - demand also it in an undeniable form.

They may demand that you should flatten the PDF by yourself. In that case I would use my feet and find a less unfriendly printer. Of course you can also study the print PDF preparation finesses by yourself and demand only a proof to see how you did succeed.

One standard method to handle your problem and still keep the text editable and reflowable is to use knockout. It unfortunately doesn't work with items which are inherited from a master page - or from a parent page, as Adobe today calls it. You must "override" i.e. convert the items inherited from the master page to normal objects. A right click on a page icon in the pages list gives that option.

enter image description here

I have here a text object on 3 underlying rectangles. The text object has got transparency effect Opacity=0%. Its transparency is moved to the underlying objects by selecting all 4 objects and by defining they are a knockout group.

When several overlapping elements are defined to be a knockout group the topmost object alone defines the resulted color. The text is transparent, so all underlying rectangles have the text as holes. The white is the paper below.

The text is invisible on the white rectangle and the contrast is poor on the cyan rectangle. The text becomes well visible after one places a black rectangle behind the white and the cyan ones after making the knockout group:

enter image description here

The black rectangle behind the knockout group covers only the the white and cyan areas.

The white background rectangle is not a bad joke. This will not work if there's nothing behind the transparent text.

You can well define the master page items be a knockout group already in the master page. After overriding you adjust the text object to 0% opacity and move it to the top into the group generated by the overriding. You can move items into and out of a group in the Layers panel. There you can also select separately any item which is a member of a group.

Of course, also in this case the transparency should be flattened properly and a proof must be checked to be sure the printing is prepared right.

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