How to Make a Drop Cap in InDesign

In this practical guide, we've shared how to make a drop cap in InDesign, so you can start a paragraph with a nice typographical flourish. There are a few stylistic ways to apply drop caps: character style, nested style at the start of a paragraph, and a nested style to one or more lines. 

Adding Character Style to a Drop Cap
Depending on your personal preference, you can apply a character style to the drop cap or the body text. For example, the drop cap can be a different font or color, just to create some stylistic contrast. First, highlight the desired character or text, and apply the special formatting for that section. 

Next, go to the Paragraph panel menu and select "Drop Caps and Nested Styles". Here, you can choose a character style for your drop cap. 

If your drop cap looks out of alignment with the rest of the paragraph, you can select "Align Left Edge". This will override the larger drop cap with the original character's dimensions, so that the formatting stays clean. Meanwhile, if your drop cap is covering text in the paragraph, choose "Scale For Descenders" to fix it. 

Adding Nested Styles to a Drop Cap
Once you've learned how to make a drop cap in InDesign, you can apply the same formatting to a larger text section. This is handy when creating a list format, where you have multiple numbers or letters in succession. 

You can also use nested styles to apply formatting to the first character (i.e. the drop cap), and then have a similar character style for the corresponding heading (ex. "1. The Future of Technology:").

1. To create a nested style, first adjust the character styles for each individual section. If you only want to add nested styles to a single paragraph, go to the Paragraph panel and choose "Drop Caps and Nested Styles". 

2. However, if you want the nested style to be part of a paragraph style, double-click the paragraph style before selecting "Drop Caps and Nested Styles". We recommend this option for more consistent and clean formatting.

3. Next, choose "New Nested Style" as many times as necessary. From here, you can select any character style and specify where it ends in the paragraph. Character styles can be a letter, number, or symbol, but not a word.

4. Finally, you can decide how many characters, words, or phrases need to be repeated in your nest. If you ever need to rearrange character styles in the list, just choose the style and click on the up and down arrows. 

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