The latest version of Auto Char Styles – version 2.2 – has just been released.

Auto Char Styles is a great InDesign add-on that solves a basic InDesign need: Applying a character style to all text overrides in an InDesign document.

Marking all overrides is something that has become even more important with the ascendance of ePubs, and Auto Char Styles makes it easy to convert all – and I mean all – local formatting to character styles.

What’s new in Version 2.2

Version 2.2 allows the user to tell Auto Char Styles what is to be considered the basic, underlying, non-overridden formatting for any given text. There are now 3 options.

Option 1: This is the original option that was present in previous versions of the add-on. If selected, Auto Char Styles will examine each paragraph individually, and determine what is longest run of similarly-styled text in it. It then considers that formatting to be the basic formatting of the paragraph style, and any variations on that style, or, in InDesign-speak, “local overrides”, will have a specially-created character style applied to them.

So, for instance, if we have a paragraph that looks as follows:

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog

Auto Char Styles will consider the basic formatting of the paragraph to be underlined, regular (not italics) text, and will therefore apply the character style “italics” to the word “quick” and nothing else.

Option 2: This option forces Auto Char Styles to consider the underlying paragraph style of each paragraph as the basic, non-overridden, formatting for that paragraph.

So, for each paragraph, the add-on will compare the formatting of the text to the formatting defined by the underlying paragraph style applied to that text (and every paragraph in InDesign has a paragraph style applied to it, even if it’s just the “[Basic Paragraph]” style. If the formatting of the text differs from this underlying style, Auto Character Styles will create the necessary character style and apply it to the overrides.

Option 3: This option is similar to Option 2, above. The difference is that rather than comparing the formatting of text to the applied paragraph style of each paragraph, this option forces the add-on to compare the formatting to a particular, user-selected paragraph style.

This is useful, because it allows the user to create a paragraph style and set it up to define what is to be considered the basic, non-overridden, formatting. Auto Character Styles can then go through an entire document and mark any text which is formatted differently to this paragraph style.

Create a Menu Item

Auto Character Styles is the first script we are releasing with the new About dialog box. Amongst other features, the new About dialog provides a link to an online User Guide for each add-on or script (we are hoping to get these written in the near future!).

Also new is a checkbox in the About window that now makes it possible to create a menu item to easily access the script. Checking the box will add an “Id-Extras” menu in InDesign, beside the existing Help menu.

As the new About window is rolled out to all our scripts and add-ons, it will be possible to include them all under the Id-Extras menu, making it more convenient to access them than having to hunt through the scripts panel!

You can check out the latest version of Auto Character Styles with the free 30-day demo available for download on the products page here.