I am working on a book of poems. Each poem has a title and some poems also have a dedication below the title (basically a sub header). I would like my Poem Title paragraph style to include a double space below it. I can set this up using:

Paragraph Style > Indents And Spacing > Space After

This will push down the following paragraph.

However, when the title is followed by the dedication (which has its own Poem Title Sub paragraph style), the dedication is pushed down.

I can see two ways of solving this problem:

  • Include a different paragraph style for Titles that are followed by a Subtitle and add Space After to the Poem Title Sub.
  • Add the space to the Poem Body paragraph style, but make it Space Above instead.

I don't like the first as it is inflexible in terms of text changes and I don't like the second as it doesn't feel like the space is the responsibility of the paragraph.

Is there a better solution to this problem? Ideally I would like just three styles - Poem Title, Poem Title Sub and Poem Body. Is there a way to have the Poem Title only apply space if it is directly followed by a Poem Body?

I'm using InDesign 2017.

  • If it's just a single extra line of space (and your body text aligned to the document grid), there is a third option, which is easier, but more hacky: just add an extra paragraph break and get rid of your spaces above and below in all three paragraph styles. It feels dirty and wrong, but it reduces the need for additional styles. Aug 12, 2017 at 11:21

1 Answer 1


It's a bit of a dirty workaround but you could add a baseline shift to the subheader to compensate for the space...

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This works perfectly; regardless of how many lines the the header or subheader are etc... you just need to remember to adjust the baseline shift too if you adjust the header's spacing.

One drawback is that the cursor for your subheaders will appear where they should be, which can get a bit confusing...

Other than that, having an extra paragraph style is going to be the best option; a style for the first body paragraph would be my choice as you'd use it in all cases rather than having to change the header style based on whether there was a subheader or not.

  • If the differences between the title and subtitle are all character style level changes, you could even automate this by making a subtitle character style and including it as a nested style in your Title paragraph style.
    – magerber
    Aug 13, 2017 at 16:26

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