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Desktop Publishing Terminology

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In desktop publishing software, the typographic options that allow for specifying a variety of formatting characteristics for one or more characters of text is character style. The software may come with some preset character styles and will usually allow the designer to save a certain character style as a reusable style sheet.

Character Style Options

  • Typeface is the selection of a specific type family such as Times New Roman, Comic Sans, or Garamond.

  • Font Style can be plain text or a specific variation of a typeface such as Bold, Condensed, Italic, or Small Caps.

  • Font Size is typically measuring in points.

  • Leading can be set for an entire paragraph or overridden for certain characters.

  • Tracking can apply to an entire paragraph or be specified separately for some characters.

  • Position or Baseline Shift typically refers to the placement of characters above or below the Baseline such as for subscript or superscript text.

Other character attributes that might be applied as a character style include adding a shadow, shading, or outline, creating strike-through text, underlining, automatically making the text all caps, or horizontally scaling the text to be thinner or wider.

Applying Character Styles

The option to save character styles is available in most desktop publishing software. This allows the designer to quickly format similar sections of text without choosing font attributes individually each time. For example, a character style can be saved for the name of a company that quickly changes the name to bold with extra letter spacing no matter what the text characteristics are for the rest of the text where the name appears. Making a change to that character style, such as switching from bold to italics can be done throughout a document just once by changing the saved character style.
Also Known As: character options | character style sheet | character format
Terms Related to Character Style

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