How to Define Styles in iBooks Author - dummies

How to Define Styles in iBooks Author

By Galen Gruman

Using styles in iBook Author ensures consistent formatting across the entire book. Rather than apply each of the desired local formats to text, you apply a single style that contains all that formatting. And if you change the style, all the text it’s applied to is automatically updated to use the new formatting. You can define and apply three kinds of styles:

  • Paragraph styles: Apply to the entire paragraph and include both text-formatting attributes, such as font and size, and paragraph-formatting attributes, such as alignment and margins.

  • List styles: Apply the bulleted or numbered list formatting. List styles don’t retain other formatting information, so these styles affect only the list attributes. Typically, lists’ paragraphs should have both a paragraph style and a list style applied.

  • Character styles: Apply to just the text you select. A character style overrides the paragraph style wherever its attributes differ from that paragraph style. For example, in a bulleted list, you might want the first phrase after each bullet to be bold and blue and use the Arial font. You would apply the character style to the first phrase in each bullet, which would change the font to Arial, the weight to bold, and the color to blue but leave the size, alignment, and indent unchanged.

Using styles is a critical task in creating an e-book. If you’re new to publishing, however, it’s a task you may not think of doing: Many people simply highlight their text in programs such as Word and Pages, and then apply the desired local formatting (such as font, capitalization, and text size) to it. But that means everything has to be selected again if you change the design and need to apply a different font or size. It’s simply too much work for a book-length project.

When working with styles, you should open the style drawer, which lists all the available styles. You can open or close (hide) this drawer in several ways:

  • Click the blue Style Drawer icon button at the far-left of the Format bar.

  • Choose View→Style Drawer.

  • Press Shift+Command+T.


In the style drawer, paragraph styles are always visible. You can show and hide character styles and list styles by clicking the two icon buttons at the bottom-right of the style drawer.

To define a style, follow these steps:

  1. Format a paragraph or text selection with all the attributes you want to be included in the paragraph or character style.

    To define a list style, you want the paragraph to have your list settings applied.

  2. Select the text with the formatting that you want to convert into a style.

    For character styles, you need to select at least one character. For paragraph styles, you can either select the text or simply insert the pointer anywhere in the paragraph.

  3. Create a new style.

    You can use one of these two methods:

    • At the bottom of the style drawer, click and hold the + (plus sign) icon button to open an icon menu that displays a list of three style types that you can choose from (Paragraph, Character, and List). If you just click the icon button like any other button, iBooks Author assumes you want to create a paragraph style. A settings sheet appears, where you enter a name for the style. Optionally but highly recommended, select the Apply This New Style on Creation check box. Then click OK.

    • In the style drawer, click the down-pointing triangle icon in whichever style list you want to create the style for: Paragraph, Character, or List. If you’ve modified an existing style, the triangle appears to the right of the affected style’s name. If the text has no style applied, the triangle appears to the right of the None style. When you click the triangle, a pop-up menu appears. (You can also Control-click or right-click the style name to get the same options via the contextual menu.) Choose the Create New Style from Selection option. You now have a new style with the selected text’s attributes.

After you create a style, you can assign it a keyboard shortcut (what iBooks Author calls a hot key). In the pop-up menu or contextual menu for that style, choose Hot Key and then the desired function key (F1 through F8) from the submenu, or choose None to remove a previously assigned hot key.