Soo ... I have an inDesign-document with one big text frame that contains multiple paragraphs with different paragraph styles. In that, I would like to have some paragraphs have a stroke and a background color. However, the strokes and fills are only applicable on the entire text frame, so I'm searching for a way to limit the strokes and fills to some paragraphs with certain paragraph styles.

Is there an arguably easy way to achieve this?

  • a variant of the existing style? Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 13:29
  • But there are no options for fills and strokes in the paragraph styles, that is the problem.
    – MoritzLost
    Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 13:38
  • Are you just wanting to adjust the color/stroke of the every glyph/character in a paragraph? Or do you want a box/background color around each whole paragraph?
    – apex
    Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 20:58
  • The latter! Sorry if that was unclear
    – MoritzLost
    Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 21:43

3 Answers 3


The closest I think you could get is with cell styling, but it does have its problems.

If you wanted to try it though, it is simple enough to put in place, simply Table > Insert Table a 1x1 table in your text frame. Put whatever paragraph you want to have a fill/stroke inside that cell, then open your Window > Styles > Cell Styles panel, and create a cell style. You can assign a fill and stroke, apply this style to multiple cells, and edit the style at any time to have changes applied to every instance in your document. Cell Style

The Problems

  1. The cell will auto-adjust its height to fit your content, but the width is static after its creation. If you change your column/page-width, you'll need to manually adjust cell width.
  2. In terms of document flow, the whole cell is a treated as a single character within the parent text frame. If your paragraph (without being inside a cell) would typically span between columns/pages, the whole cell will be forced past the break point, leaving you with some blank space at the bottom of your column/page.
  3. Selections inside your text frame will also treat that cell as a single character. This makes it a little more tedious to make edits since that paragraph content has to be interacted with separately than the content before or after it. This is less tedious with proper Paragraph/Character styling applied though since many edits can be made to the style instead of the content directly.


Object Styles (Window > Styles > Object Styles)

As suggested by @John-Manly, it is easy to just draw a background box. Additionally, you can set an Object Style so that you can apply/edit that same style for boxes behind multiple paragraphs. However, if your text flow or paragraph size changes, the background box will no longer be sized/positioned properly. Object Styles

Paragraph Rules

This is likely a poor solution based on your initial request, but if you can do without left and right stroke, and without a background color, you could define Before and After paragraph rules in the paragraph style box. This will put horizontal lines above and/or below your paragraph automatically. Paragraph Rules

  • Thank you for your elaborate answer! I will try these options, I think total automation of that process as I intended is just not possible, so I'll see to which of those options I can get used to most easily ... :)
    – MoritzLost
    Commented Sep 25, 2014 at 21:18

You have to highlight the text and adjust the stroke properties of the text itself and not of the text frame. Say I have a text frame with several paragraphs, as shown below:


You can highlight the paragraph that you want stroked (giggity) and then adjust its stroke the same way you would anything else:


You can do this for any selection of text; letters, words, sentences, paragraphs, etc.). You can mix and match colors, weights, whatever you want.


To adjust the stroke properties, go to WINDOW > STROKE or select the stroke window from the right-hand tool bar:


As for the background colors, I honestly think that the quickest and easiest way to go about that would be to just create a rectangle behind the paragraph and fill it with whichever color you want.

  • Hm well that will probably do, but is there any way to apply these settings to multiple paragraphs in quick succession?
    – MoritzLost
    Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 18:58
  • @Gin-San Well if you want to apply the same stroke to multiple paragraphs, just select as many as you'd like...or do you mean apply separate stroke styles to the paragraphs.
    – Manly
    Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 19:03
  • No, rather an automation method. So that if I add more content, I can apply the same stroke settings fast, as with paragraph styles.
    – MoritzLost
    Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 19:14
  • 1
    Oh, yea, haha I don't know...I know a decent bit about InDesign, but I'm no expert and I never use stroke.
    – Manly
    Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 19:18

enter image description here

To create something like this within a paragraph style see the following specs

enter image description here

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