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Quick Tip: Create a Highlighted Text Effect With Adobe InDesign


Sometimes using a highlighted effect text gives a stronger emphasis and style to your design. In this quick tip we are going to achieve that effect by utilizing Paragraph Rules in Adobe InDesign. 

If you want to learn InDesign in more depth, try our new, free InDesign tutorial with Daniel Walter Scott. It'll teach you everything you need to know.

Otherwise, let's get started with creating highlighted text in InDesign.

Step 1: Insert text

Create a new document at any size you want. Then insert the text that you are going to highlight. The font I use is Calibri. Change the font size to 48 pt.

Step 2: Disable Hyphenation

It is not good to have a short text with hyphenation. To fix this, click the text frame and then open Paragraph panel (Command + Shift + T). Remove the tick mark before Hyphenate on the panel to disable the hyphenation.

Step 3: Create New Paragraphs

In order to highlight the text later on, make each line in the text frame into a new paragraph. The process is pretty simple; by the beginning of each line, except the first line, press Backspace to remove the space that links the previous line.

Press Enter to put the sentence after the cursor into a new paragraph. Repeat the same process for the next line.

The text structure looks the same with the previous step, but this time the text has three paragraphs. You can check it by using Type > Show Hidden Character (Command + Option + I). You will see a character like a reversed P which indicates the end of the paragraph. It means that the line below the character is a new paragraph. The # character means the end of the text/story.

Step 4: Change Text Color to White

Change the text color to white to make you easier to adjust the Paragraph Rules later. Double click the text frame and then select all paragraph (Command + A). Open Color panel (F6), click the "T" icon on the panel, click the Fill icon which is represented by the square. Set all color values to zero to turn the text color to white. Press Esc when you're finished changing the color.

Step 5: Open Paragraph Rules

Make sure the text frame is selected, open the Paragraph panel (Command + Option + T). Click on the small icon on the top right corner of the panel and then choose Paragraph Rules (Command + Option + J)

Step 6: Paragraph Rules Set Up

Activate "Preview" to see the live result of the adjustments and then set up the paragraph as follows. Choose Rule Below, and activate Rule On box, Weight: 50 pt, Color: Black, Width: Text, Offset: -13 mm, Left Indent: -3 mm, Right Indent -4 mm.

Press OK when you are finished with the set up. That's it! You have created the highlight for the text!


You can use this technique for short text like title, quotation, and captions in your layout design to give them more style and emphasis. Experiment with the text size and Paragraph Rules options for different variation.

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