When creating an eBook or similar publication in Adobe InDesign, you may find yourself needing to make text pop just a little to stand out on the page. This is especially useful when you have white text against a medium-dark background. It’s not dark enough for the white text to be readable on its own but not light enough for a darker font. We could take the text into Photoshop and build ourselves a nice frame with a drop shadow. However, here’s a much simpler way to add a drop shadow in InDesign.
What is a Drop Shadow?
What is a drop shadow? A drop shadow is simply adding a shadow to an object (usually text) to give the object a nice 3D effect that casts a slight shadow.
Here’s an example of a chapter title with no drop shadow. The background is darker, but the text is still lacking something. It doesn’t pop.
Here’s the exact same image with a slight drop shadow added to the main text.
That’s much easier to read! You can edit it in Photoshop but with InDesign, it’s sometimes easier to make the changes directly in the document.
How to Add a Drop Shadow in InDesign
To add a drop shadow to any object in InDesign, use the following steps. Be careful not to abuse this tool as too much drop shadow can make your text hard to read and blurry.
Note: It’s a good practice not to use it on regular body text longer than a standard paragraph.
Step 1. Use the Selection Tool to select the text frame that contains your object/text. In this example, select the frame “Back to the Beginning.” Be careful that you select the frame itself and not the text.
Step 2. Ensure that the Effects panel is visible. You can find the Effects Panel under Window > Effects. Select the Text level in the Effects panel.
Step 3. You can do the next step in two ways. One is by selecting the fx button at the bottom of the Effects panel or by hitting the selection button on the left and then hitting Effects and then Drop Shadow. Here’s an example.
Step 4. In the Drop Shadow dialog box, use the following options:
- Leave Mode to Multiply and Opacity at 75%
- Change Size to 0.125 in
- Change Spread to 20%
Check the Preview box to see the results on your object/text box.
Step 5. Click OK to apply the drop shadow to the object.
Step 6. If everything looks good, save your document.
Congratulations! You’ve now learned how to add a drop shadow (or any other effect) to your object/text in Adobe InDesign!