InDesign Colour-Coded Highlighting

This is effectively passing on a very helpful tip from InDesign Magazine, thanks for this one. Check out their site for plenty more tips.

If you open an InDesign document or placed copy into an existing document and see the text highlighted in a colour, don’t panic! This is InDesign’s way of letting you know some important information. This is what the highlight colours mean:

Pink: Missing font or a font has been changed to one that does not have a respective member of the font family (Eg. You might not have a bold variant of a changed font on your system.)
Yellow: Hyphenation and Justification (H&J) settings have been tampered with.
Amber: Glyph substitution – one or more alternate glyphs have been substituted for one or more glyphs in a font’s standard set.
Green: Manual kerning or tracking has been applied.

Always make sure you fix the missing font problem. The other three colours don’t necessarily mean anything is wrong -it is just InDesign letting you know something has been changed.


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  1. Kirk Holz

    There’s also blue for Text Style overrides.

  2. Kris

    Thank you! I am keeping this for reference since I always forget LOL.

    Another instance of highlighted text:

    Blue means the user has (perhaps accidentally) clicked on the Toggle Overrides option in the Paragraph and/or Character styles panel. It is the little “+” sign in brackets, top right of the panel next to the lightning bolt icon. When selected it changes to “a+”

  3. Sarah Stengle

    The green highlighting is SO INCREDIBLY annoying!!!! Omg. I liked early versions of indesign so much better. Why would I want my elegant book design to look like a crayon quilt while I am working on it. All the color coding highlighting is far from helpful.

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