Sometimes you only want to adjust the design of a specific paragraph, or a subset of paragraphs. For example, you may want to design Plain Text Paragraphs that appear inside of Note boxes differently than the Plain Text Paragraphs in your main text flow. Or, you may want to remove the text indent from every Plain Text Paragraph that follows a heading.
The great news is that you don’t need to create new styles for all of these types of variations; when you’re working with HTML, you can do this with the power of selectors! This article will walk you through your options and how to apply them. To learn more about exactly how these overrides work, and how to troubleshoot or remove them, see “‘Limit these changes’: Understanding Design Overrides and How to Remove or Change Them.”
When you click on a paragraph in your paged preview, you’ll see another dropdown menu in your design tools sidebar, below the paragraph style name—these are your selector options. There are 5 types of selectors you can choose from:
All: The design you choose will apply to all paragraphs that use this style name. This is the default, and is what will happen if you choose a style name from the previous dropdown menu, rather than clicking on a paragraph.
Only this: Your design settings will only apply to the currently selected paragraph (i.e., the paragraph that you clicked on).
Note: When you’re working with these kinds of selectors, the changes may not immediately appear in the preview window, but if you click Save Design and then Run Layout, you’ll see your new design applied.
Inside: This option lets you limit the scope of your design to only apply to paragraphs that use this style and are inside the same kind of parent element that your currently selected paragraph is inside of. For example, if you were to click on a paragraph inside an extract, then this option would read “Plain text paragraphs inside BOX Extract.” This allows us to reuse the same style name inside different types of parents, but create different designs depending on the container—you can use this selector to make all plain text paragraphs inside an extract look different than the rest of the plain text paragraphs in the chapter.
First: Similarly, you can also limit your design to only the first instance of this style inside of a specific parent. For example, you could remove the indent from the first plain text paragraph inside your extract.
Following: Finally, you can create designs based on the order of elements in your book. For example, if you want to remove the indent from every plain text paragraph that follows a chapter title, you’d use this option (note that you have to actually find an instance in your book of a plain text paragraph following a chapter title, and then click on it, in order for this option to appear in your Selector menu). This is great for adding spacing around elements, without needing to create all new styles.
Note: When you’re using these kinds of selectors, it’s very important that you re-download the Word file from Hederis any time you want to make extensive changes to the text. This allows us to store information about which paragraphs in the manuscript have custom designs applied. If you don’t use the updated Word file, then all your custom design work could get lost!
Here’s a video that walks you through the process of using the “Limit these changes” menu to apply a design to a single paragraph: