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Resplendence, a blog from Radiant Resolution about graphic design

Must Have GREP Styles for Designers

If you've never utilized GREPs within InDesign, now is the time to learn! GREP styles can aid you tremendously by making your work more efficient and saving you a LOT of time. You can use keywords to determine certain styles, spelling, superscript and more. You can highlight problem areas to address. You can determine where lines break (or don't break), keep acronyms from hyphenating and so much more.

Check out just a few of these time-saving, efficient GREP styles. Be sure to have your character styles set before using GREPs, and your paragraph styles that you use will contain the GREP codes within their preferences.

Many of the documents we work with are technical, so there are mathematical equations and chemical compounds where super and subscript are needed. For this style, create a superscript character style, and select that style to be used with the following codes.

Superscript (?<=cm)[[:punct:]]\d+ (This will convert any number directly following "cm" as a superscript. Replace cm with any word you want.)


(This will convert any number directly following km, cm, or mm as a superscript)

Alternatively, create a subscript character style to convert to when these codes are used.


(?<=CO)\d (?<=N)2

(These will convert numbers following elements CO, N, and H to subscript, or whatever text you place in these boxes. You can also add a number itself, like I did here for "N2" just in case you don't want every number that follows this character to be subscript.)

Sometimes, we use highlighting styles to draw attention to unfinished areas, or areas that need attention.

Highlight \[.+?\]

(This will highlight any text within brackets if you have a "Highlight" character style set up. You can swap out brackets for parenthesis or any character you like.)

If you'd like to bring attention to your hyperlinks in text as well as convert them into working links once saved as a PDF, you can set up a style for hyperlinks (you may want to underline or bold them, or change their color as well in the character style). Hyperlink (https|http|ftp)://[a-zA-Z][a-zA-Z0-9]+.([a-zA-Z_0-9]+.)+[a-zA-Z_]+(/[a-zA-Z_0-9.]+)*/? www\S+\>

(This will convert text beginning with https, http, or ftp to hyperlinks in the character style you have set up.)

I am ALWAYS using acronyms. Whether it's for a proposal, club, or organization, it's important to make sure your acronym stays together and doesn't break over to another line or even page. All caps (?i)(ACRONYM)

(This will recognize acronyms and make them capitalized, if you replace ACRONYM with your acronym, and you can use multiple separated by lines | ) No Break ACRONYM

(This will keep any word you place here to stay on one line if you create a character style with no breaks.)

We don't often use italics, but in certain cases for technical papers it's necessary. Phrases like i.e., or in situ are always in italics on our documents. Italic

in situ i[[:punct:]]e[[:punct:]][[:punct:]] e[[:punct:]]g[[:punct:]] et al[[:punct:]]

(This will keep text in italics, like in situ, i.e., e.g., and et al.)

What other GREP styles have you discovered that you can't live without? Let me know in the comments!

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About Brittany Klein

Brittany Klein is a freelance graphic designer from Maryland. She established her company, Radiant Resolution, in 2008 after receiving her Master of Arts degree in graphic design from Savannah College of Art & Design. She has since written blogs, e-books, and articles centered around graphic design and fine art for many organizations across the country.

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