InDesign Secrets: Creating a custom cross-reference format

Published by | Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Adobe InDesign includes a Cross-References feature that allows you to link to other paragraphs and headings in your document and automatically update page numbering as your document grows.

In this week’s free InDesign Secrets video, Anne-Marie Concepción shares her tips for getting the most from cross-references. For example, you can perform text formatting at the same time you create a cross-reference, which makes cross-references doubly useful.

For more tips on getting the most out of cross-references, watch the video and follow along with the tips outlined below.

1. Make sure to jot down the crucial bit of info—the destination or paragraph style of the reference you’re adding—before you open the dialog box. That will prevent you from some unnecessary scrolling.

Cross-references in Adobe InDesign

2. Take advantage of the opportunity to apply character and paragraph styles at the same time you apply a cross-reference. But remember to create the style before you get into the dialog, because unlike other types of operations in InDesign, it won’t let you create a style on the fly in the Cross-Reference dialog box.

3. You can also use cross-references to create alternate layouts for print documents, web documents, and so on, using the Find/Change dialog box. For example, you could apply a different font color to cross-references you have tagged with an EPUB-type style (to highlight links) than you do with a print style.

4. To edit a cross-reference, click the pencil icon to the right of the Format menu. In the Definition field, you can edit any characters outside the brackets that indicate calculated fields or building blocks, as they’re called in InDesign. To add more building blocks, click the plus button next to the field and select them from the contextual menu.

Edit cross-references in InDesign

5. There is also a utility called Partial Paragraph that allows you to reference a few words from a paragraph or heading, instead of calling out the whole section. As Anne-Marie shows in this example, if you have a header that reads “Applications for Courses beginning September 2013 on page 7,” you can shorten the cross-reference to “Application on page 7.”

Format cross-references in InDesign

You can also insert text anchor names, dashes, nonbreaking spaces, and other symbols. The customization options with cross-references are just about endless.

Looking for more InDesign insights? Join David Blatner in a member-exclusive video called Putting different-sized pages on a single spread.

And as always, David and Anne-Marie will be back in two weeks with more InDesign Secrets.

Interested in more?
• The entire InDesign Secrets biweekly series
• Courses by David Blatner and Anne-Marie Concepción on lynda.com
• All lynda.com InDesign courses

Suggested courses to watch next:
InDesign FX biweekly series
InDesign CS6 Essential Training
• InDesign CS6 New Features

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