So i haven't used InDesign in years. I'm a little embarrassed to ask this but I'd rather just find out on this site instead of taking an hour to figure it out.

I would like to add layers to a shape and/or text for effects and colors. I use the appearance panel in Illustrator ALL the time. Is there something like that for InDesign?


As far as I'm aware, InDesign does not offer the ability to stack multiple fills, strokes, and effects onto the same object the way Illustrator allows.

In this respect, InDesign is far more like Photoshop than it is Illustrator.

You can add effects, and then group items and add effects to those groups, etc. but you can't stack on one object.

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  • Ohh I see. Yea InDesign drives me crazy. Thanks!! – user26187 Jun 19 '14 at 14:53
  • I can understand that. I have the opposite effect: whenever I have to set type in Illustrator (or, worse, Photoshop) I cringe at the crudeness of the tools compared with InDesign. It's all in what you're used to, but the whole point of the suite is to give you a set of programs that work together. Illustrator and Photoshop are fantastic plug-ins for InDesign... :-D – Alan Gilbertson Jun 20 '14 at 22:57
  • I wish they'd push that "everything is the same" state further. Why NOT use the same type engine for all three? Why can't I have character and paragraph panels that look and operate identically between all 3?? Unified UI my..... – Scott Jun 20 '14 at 23:03
  • instead of refactoring the whole application, they'd rather just tack-on a few features and collect your upgrade money. I like the CS Suite, but it's amazing how much of the functionality hasn't changed much in 20 years. There are quite a few things that really need to be rewritten at this point. – Rsiel Jun 21 '14 at 14:46
  • I totally agree. Nothing has really changed too much other than the small convenient add-on features. – user26187 Jul 21 '14 at 14:00

The functionality you're looking for is, as Scott notes, built into Illustrator (which is for building illustrations), not InDesign, which is a layout program first an foremost.

Use InDesign for its typographic engine, which is superb, and its layout capabilities for print and ePub. Use Illustrator and Photoshop where you need extensive special effects, then place those items in InDesign. Round-trip editing is quick and easy using "Edit Original" in the context menu.

You can also set type very precisely in InDesign, outline it, take it to Illustrator for dressing up, and bring the resulting Ai document back into your InDesign layout.

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