Adam Baney

InDesign Tip #1: How to Set a Default Font

InDesign is one of the most powerful design tools any designer could have—and I use it a lot.

Every time I open InDesign, I typically start designing with the same font, style, size, leading, and kerning. I used to set these same specs every time I created a new document in InDesign, but not anymore.

In the back of my mind, I knew that there was a way to set the default font, but just never looked it up; not until a colleague of mine recently asked me if this was possible. I looked it up, and found the answer.

Here’s how to set the default font in InDesign:

  1. Open InDesign.
  2. Close any open documents. This is extremely important!
  3. Open the “Character” palette (Window > Type & Tables > Character).
  4. Select a new font family, font style, size, leading, and kerning.

That’s it. Literally!

To test this, create a new document in InDesign. Draw a text box, and type whatever text into it to see if the text that you type follows the font and other specs you specified in the steps above.

If you’re not convinced that this worked (even though the text that you typed is based on the correct font that you specified), close the test document (without saving), and quit InDesign (close InDesign if your on a Windows machine). Reopen InDesign, and create a new document. Draw a text box, and type whatever text to see if the font and specs match your specified criteria in the steps above. If so, then success! If not, then start over with step #1 above, following each step closely.

I always enjoy finding ways to save time, even if this means saving 10 seconds each time I create a new document, I figure that if I create 30 new documents a week, that’s a savings of 300 seconds (5 minutes) each week. That’s 20 minutes a month, and 4 hours (half a day) a year!


8 years ago | Jun 21, 2015 | 14 Responses

About the Author

Adam is a visual communicator (currently Sr. Graphic Designer) at Calvary Church in Albuquerque, NM. He has been designing for print, web, and digital advertising for over 15 years, and is passionate about helping small and large businesses succeed through advertising and brand identity.


  1. Andrew L. Mayer says:

    Hello Adam,

    Thanks for the tip about setting the default font and size.

    A question: Is it possible to enter a different size in the dropdown text size-say a 16 between 14 and 18? That way eliminates the chore of entering 16 every time as needed.

    I look forward to your response.


    • Hey Andrew! Yes, you can absolutely enter a different size. If you follow the steps I outlined, in the Character palette (step 3), click into the character size field and type whatever size you want. Even if you want to specify decimal sizes (e.g. 11.5), that will also work.

      • Andrew L. Mayer says:

        Hi Adam,

        Yes, the 16pt was entered into the Character palette. It is available for the next font change.


        What about extra leading between paragraphs?


        • Extra space after a paragraph will need to be set in the Paragraph Styles palette with a paragraph style. Unfortunately, this will need to be done each time a new document is created as paragraph styles are based on each document. Good question!

  2. I am bookmarking your blog for later on when I reach my senior years and my eyesight starts failing – your font size is huge! Not only easy to read but also quite refreshing. I just adjusted my text defaults differently and with more leading, thanks to your inspiration – and this is one decades-old experienced typographer here.

    I created a poster awhile back (my monthly series, always featuring the ampersand) that relates to your “plain & simple” style of teaching, which is really nice. The poster is at

    Thanks for the tutorial.

    • Besides my site’s larger font size being easier to read as we all age, font size (in general) on screen depends on the proximity / closeness that one sits to the screen. What’s a comfortable reading distance? And, what font size best matches that distance? Thank you for your comment, Chaz!


    there is way to change also the default font for second language ?

    • Thanks for your comment, Arnon. There probably is a way to do this. I’d use Google to see if there’s a way. Sorry I can’t be of more help.

  4. Keely says:

    Adam, thank you for making this so simple. Everyone else over complicates quick tips in InDesign.

  5. Rachel says:

    So it looks like you cannot reset the default for a document already in progress… I followed the directions but when I opened the doc I want to continue working in without having to change the font/size for each table cell, it reverted to the previous default font; any way to fix THAT issue?

    • Maybe your document has “Paragraph Styles” or “Character Styles” or even “Table Styles” or “Cell Styles” applied to the table cells? Also, check to see if that font that the document keeps reverting back to is missing. To do this (on a Mac), in the menu go to “Type > Find Font…”, and replace any missing fonts with the correct one. If you have font management software installed, make sure that the font you want to use is activated. Hope this helps!

  6. Brandon says:

    So easy!!! Thanks for the tip.

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