InDesign How-to: Take Object Styles Where They've Never Gone Before


This article is excerpted from the June/July 2008 issue of InDesign Magazine (#24). Buy the issue or subscribe to the magazine at

InDesign’s object styles are key to saving time and making your documents more consistent. A single click in the Object Styles panel can apply a host of formatting to one or more selected objects. For example, you can assign a fill color, a stroke style, text frame insets, graphic frame fitting options, and about a hundred other settings to frames and paths.

But there’s one thing object styles can’t do, and it drives me crazy: You can’t use object styles to apply page geometry—the position of an object on the page.

Applying page geometry could be helpful in a wide range of documents. For instance, you could tell InDesign that every time you assign a “footer” object style to a text frame, it would jump to the bottom of the page in exactly the correct position. Or you could assign a sidebar style and have the object move to the side margin. But alas, you can’t do it. So why am I even bringing it up here? Because there is a way around the limitation.

The workaround is based on a simple fact: Although you can’t assign page geometry for a free-floating object, you can assign it for an anchored object!

In this how-to, I'll show you how to use this trick to create a slider along a numeric indicator. To help you catch on even more quickly, I’ve created a sample InDesign file that contains all the elements you need to follow along. That file is called "SliderSampleFile.indd" and it’s attached to the PDF that contains the rest of this how-to.

Click on the image below to download the how-to and sample file.

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