Mapping InDesign Paragraph Styles to Heading Tags

To setup heading styles in InDesign you’ll need to define Paragraph Styles in your InDesign document. Penn State has a good article about this. You basically create styles for the heading levels you want to use in your document, such as H1, H2, and H3. You can also setup a regular paragraph style for the <P> tag.

To open the Paragraph Styles panel in InDesign:

  • Go to the Window menu.
  • Choose Styles > Paragraph Styles.

To create a new paragraph style from existing text:

  • Select the text.
  • Choose ‘New Paragraph style’ from the hamburger menu in the ‘Paragraph Styles’ panel.

The font & size attributes of the text you selected become the basis of the new paragraph style.

To check which tag a style is mapped to:

  • Select the style in the ‘Paragraph Styles’ panel.
  • Go to in the ‘Paragraph Styles’ panel hamburger menu and choose ‘Style Options’.
  • Click on the ‘Export tagging’ area. Under ‘PDF’ you will be able to see which style your paragraph style is mapped to. If you want to map it to a Heading Level 1, then choose H1 from the list of tags. If there are not a lot of tags in the list you may need to load your standard paragraph styles from another document and use the ‘Map styles to tags’ function under the Structure area.

To see the tags structure of an InDesign document:

  • Go to the View menu.
  • Go to Structure > Show Structure.

To map your newly created heading paragraph styles to tags in the structure:

  • Go to the hamburger menu in the Structure panel.
  • Choose the ‘Map styles to tags’ option.

If you have a premade set of paragraph styles you want to reuse in the document, you can load them via the ‘Load’ button in the ‘Map styles to tags’ option. This could save time in setting up tags & styles. Some designers keep a separate .indd InDesign file with all their commonly used styles in it to load.

The document structure appears as in a panel on the left side of your screen.