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I don't think that could be done with InDesign's built-in features. It might be scriptable. If you don't get an answer here, ask in the InDesign Scripting forum:
Are your styles mainly based on each other? In that case, you don't need to change each one by one.
Most of my own styles are baed on one or two common "base" styles, and that makes life easier when changing a certain document-wide settings such as the applied language.
If not, then they'd still be based on "Base Paragraph". It's kind of a long shot but you could try to change the digit style in there and see if it works.
I strongly endorse the application of discipline in creating and editing documents in terms of defining and using paragraph and character styles. It is just this type of situation where having a well-defined hierarchy of styles (“based on”) can save you hours of time and effort and yield more consistent results.
These are large learning books of 35 chapters and though many of the variant styles are based on the original (meaning I only have to change "Body Text" once for all other Body variants, there are so many different headers and boxes and front matter and master pages and chapter openers that all have different style sheets that might have numbers in them, I would be changing over a dozen style sheets manually in each of the 35 chapters and this would be for 8 different books of the same approximate length.
You'd think in the type preferences they would have added an Opentype feature to specify what figure style you want to use as a general default.
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Have you tried editing all the styles in one of the chapters, and the using Load Paragraph Styles from that one in the otherr? That would be quicker. Or using a book's sync options, and just syncing the paragraph styles?
Synchronize book documents
When you synchronize documents in a book, the items you specify—styles, variables, master pages, trap presets, cross-reference formats, conditional text settings, numbered lists, and swatches—are copied from the style source to the specified documents in the book, replacing any items that have identical names.
If items in the style source are not found in the documents being synchronized, they are added. Items that are not included in the style source are left as is in the documents being synchronized.
Unfortunately, I did not create these files. I would never have set them up this way. Instead of using a template each time they have updated these books, they have just copied the old one and modified it, so there are so many unrelated style sheets.
This is something I can try!
The problem with having a type preference [that] would have added an OpenType feature to specify what type of figure style you want to use as a general default is that such a preference would be confusing unless the paragraph styles attribute for OpenType numeric form had a don't care option. Otherwise, it would be very confusing as to what overrides what.
I don't understand your answer. I want all instances in all style sheets to have an opentype figure style of "Proportional Lining" how would that be confusing?
I want all instances in all style sheets to have an opentype figure style of "Proportional Lining" how would that be confusing?
If that's all you need it could also be done via a simple script.
This AppleScript changes all of the paragraph styles in the active document, it wouldn't take much to add character styles and a loop to batch multiple documents:
tell application "Adobe InDesign CC 2017"
set s to every paragraph style of active document
repeat with x in s
set OTF figure style of x to proportional lining