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Learn how to create a shaded list in Adobe InDesign

Updated: Aug 16, 2023

Learn how to use Paragraph Shading in Adobe InDesign

Bulleted or dashed lists are traditional ways of bringing attention to a list or important information in a creative document.

However, there's another great tool built into InDesign that allows you to make your lists pop even more. The feature is called Paragraph Shading and in this tutorial, I'll go over a method of highlighting Tour Dates in a list for a fictional concert series called the Glow Tour.

To download the files and follow along with this tutorial, click the link below to access the InDesign document and supporting documents. (Note: Files shared in this tutorial are meant for personal use and not meant for commercial work).

Paragraph Shading Files
Download ZIP • 4.19MB

The first step is placing the text document into the InDesign layout. You can access this text file in the lesson files and it's called Concert List.txt.

Placing Text Document

  • Go to File > Place and locate the file mentioned above.

  • Click open.

  • With the text file loaded in the cursor, click and drag the size that you want.

  • Format the size, line spacing and font using the settings highlighted in the video tutorial.

Once the text has been placed and formatted, the next step is opening the Paragraph window. This can also be accessed in various areas of the workspace – Control Panel, Properties Panel as examples.

Applying Shading to List

  • Select all the text in the list by placing the cursor in the frame and pressing Command (Mac) / Ctrl (Windows) + A.

  • Click the Paragraph options in the right-hand corner of the panel and from the fly-out menu, choose Paragraph Borders and Shading.

Accessing the Paragraph Shading options.
Accessing the Paragraph Shading options.
  • Click the Shading tab at he top of the window and then check the Shading box to activate the shading option to all the selected text.

  • Set the Color to Teal (already in the Swatches panel).

  • Set the Tint to 80%

  • In the Corner Size and Shape section, change any of the shape dropdown options from None to Rounded.

  • Change the corner radius from 12 px to 14 px for all corners.

  • In the Offsets, apply 6 px values to Top and Bottom and 8 px values to the Right and Left fields.

  • Click OK.

The settings for the Paragraph Shading example.
The settings for the Paragraph Shading example.

Once the shading options have been applied, select all the text again and centre align the text in the list.

Alternating Colors

  • To alternate the colour of each shaded text element, select the second line of text in the list and in the Paragraph window, change the color from Teal to Mint, which is also in the Swatches panel.

  • Select every other line in the list and repeat the step of changing from Teal to Mint.

In the final part of the tutorial, I also go over how to use Opacity and Blending Modes to blend the list into the image subtly so it becomes transparent. Keep in mind that this tip won't work for every list instance and will depend on the image used as well.

Here's the final outcome with the settings applied in this tutorial.

Shaded list for the Glow Tour.

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