This browser does not support basic Web standards, preventing the display of our site's intended design. May we suggest that you upgrade your browser?

Adobe InDesign CS3

Paragraph Formatting Options

This document will help you to use paragraph formatting options to achieve the look that you want for your document. Options include adjusting paragraph alignment, spacing, and indents.

Return to topAdjusting Paragraph Alignment

InDesign offers many options for paragraph formatting. To adjust paragraph alignment, use the Paragraph palette or keyboard shortcuts .

Adjusting Paragraph Alignment: Paragraph Palette Option

  1. If the Paragraph palette is not already displayed, from the Type menu, select Paragraph
    NOTE: A checkmark appears next to the selection if it is already displayed.
    OR
    On the Dock, click PARAGRAPHParagraph icon
    The Paragraph palette appears.
    Paragraph palette

  2. Select the paragraph(s) you want to adjust

  3. In the Paragraph palette, click the appropriate alignment button
    Paragraph palette: Alignment options

Adjusting Paragraph Alignment: Keyboard Option

  1. Select the paragraph(s) you want to adjust

  2. Press the appropriate keyboard shortcut:

Alignment Shortcut
Left [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [L]
Center [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [C]
Right [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [R]
Justified [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [J]
Justify All Lines [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [F]

Return to topAdjusting Paragraph Spacing

You can add additional space before and after paragraphs by adjusting the paragraph spacing rather than pressing extra returns. This can be especially useful when you do not want a blank line the same height as the text and can be accomplished by adjusting the Space Before and Space After text boxes in the Paragraph palette.
Paragraph palette: Paragraph spacing

  1. Place the insertion point in the paragraph that you wish to alter
    HINT: If you want to alter more than one paragraph, select all of the paragraphs you want to change.

  2. If the Paragraph palette is not already displayed, from the Type menu, select Paragraph
    NOTE: A checkmark appears next to the selection if it is already displayed.
    OR
    On the Dock, click PARAGRAPHParagraph icon
    The Paragraph palette appears.

  3. In the Space Before text box, type the amount of space that is to appear before the paragraph
    HINT: 1p0 is about the height of a line of 12pt text.

  4. In the Space After text box, type the amount of space that is to appear after the paragraph
    The paragraph spacing is adjusted.

Return to topSetting Indents

Rather than tabbing in the first line for every line of a paragraph, you can create an indent (the amount of space between the text and the page margin). You can adjust the indent for individual or multiple paragraphs.

InDesign offers three types of indents: left indents, right indents, and first line left indents.

To set an indent:

  1. Place your insertion point in the paragraph you want to adjust
    HINT: If you are adjusting more than one paragraph, select all of the paragraphs you want to adjust.

  2. If the Paragraph palette is not already displayed, from the Type menu, select Paragraph
    NOTE: A checkmark appears next to the selection if it is already displayed.
    OR
    On the Dock, click PARAGRAPHParagraph icon

  3. In the Left Indent, Right Indent, and First Line Left Indent text boxes, type the desired measurements
    HINT: A hanging indent (the first line is not indented) requires a negative number in the First Line Indent text box.
    Paragraph palette: Indents

Excellence. Our Measure. Our Motto. Our Goal.