Thursday, June 21, 2012

Saving Time with Lectora Text Styles

By Joseph Suarez

One helpful feature of Lectora that is often neglected is “Text Styles.” They provide an easy way to set the font, color, and size settings for selections of text or entire text blocks. Best of all, when a Text Style is updated, any affected text in a course is also updated. For example, if you are asked to change the page titles of an entire course from blue to green, you could do so with one quick change rather than manually fix every page.

If you constantly find yourself tweaking text settings, try taking advantage of Text Styles. You may notice some similarities to CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) or the Text Styles used in Microsoft Word. However, it’s not necessary to know either. Just keep in mind that once a selection of text is associated with a Text Style, it will automatically update if the style changes. 

Changing Existing Text
To set or change a style for existing text, first make sure the entire text block or a portion of the text inside is selected. Then from the text tool bar, click the Text Style drop-down list (down arrow to the right of the “T” inside a blue square – see image below). This pulls up a list of existing styles. From here you can select one of those, or create/change a style by clicking the “Edit Styles…” option.

Setting a Default Text Style
Text blocks always start with a Text Style. It just might not be the one you want. To change the default Text Style so that each new text block follows different font, size, and color settings, go to the course’s Title Properties under the Background tab.

In the example above, the style “Body Text” is used as the Default Text Style throughout the entire title. Any new text block will automatically use that style’s font, size, and color settings. Clicking the “Styles…” button pulls up the same Text Styles window as the “Edit Styles…” option where styles can be created or changed. If the Body Text style changes, so will all the default text in the entire course.

Import and Export Text Styles
Styles you create and change are not tied to a specific course. Instead, styles are tied to a PC’s user preferences. Other Lectora developers will only see their own styles. Although, whatever is set as the “Default Text Style” in a course’s Title Properties will be preserved regardless of whether a developer has that specific style or not.

To share Text Styles between developers, Lectora provides the option to import and export Text Styles. This is much easier than trying to make sure everyone is set up with the same exact styles. If you begin to rely heavily on Text Styles and will be working on a course with other developers, saving exported styles to where everyone has access is ideal.

So if you haven’t already, give Lectora Text Styles a try in your next course.

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