I have two paragraph styles defined in my InDesign document: Heading1 has the space after set at .75 inches and Heading2 has space before set at .5 inches.

In only one spot in my document does the Heading2 come right after Heading1, and a 1.25 inch space is created between them. I only want a .75 inch space between these headings-- in other words I don't want the space after and space before added together--

I want them to collapse into the value of the larger "space" (.75 inches).

Is there a setting or trick to get those "spaces" to collapse, kind of like how margins collapse in CSS?

  • you can manually override the value, but I presume you want something automatic?
    – horatio
    Nov 19, 2013 at 22:48
  • Horatio, suddenly I am doing more Indesign work and I thought that it might be handy to know if it's possible to solve this little problem automatically.
    – JeremyH
    Nov 19, 2013 at 22:51
  • 2
    Although I've looked for a similar option myself, I don't believe there is one. I was taught to always set Space Before, and to use Space After sparingly - but this obviously doesn't accommodate every situation.
    – apex
    Nov 20, 2013 at 0:10
  • I briefly looked at the docs for GREP styles and I don't see any obvious way to GREP for para/char styles. One can do a search and replace looking for styles and, presumably, one can access s&r functionality via javascript...
    – horatio
    Nov 20, 2013 at 16:40
  • I have been searching around other forums-- including Adobe-- and no one can offer a built-in way to do what I want. I have found others who also would like that feature, but those threads end with the conclusion that creating a special-case style or modifying one's workflow is the way to go.
    – JeremyH
    Nov 20, 2013 at 17:36

2 Answers 2


I'm not aware of a way to get them to collapse automatically. I'd either set both of them as Space Before (I was taught the same as apex above), manually fix the few overlaps, or create a new Heading2Alt style with no space before to use in those few instances.


I agree... I don't think you can set anything like "use larger space setting only" for any paragraph/character style. THat would, for the most part, defeat the purpose of the space options.

Guess I'm different. I use Space After 90% of the time and only set a space before for things like chapter headers on the rare occasion they are needed. In many cases I overwrite the space before/after manually if it's only a few instances. Otherwise, I use a secondary paragraph style without the space after/before.

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