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One of the most common reasons for things not working in InDesign is having selected the "wrong" tool. For example, if you have the Type tool selected and a text cursor flashing in a text frame, the Object Style and Effects panels gray out.
Alternatively, if you select a text frame with the Selection tool, the Character and Paragraph panels gray out, even though InDesign does allow you to apply text formatting to all the text inside a frame when you select it (or more than one text frame) with the Selection tool. The trick is to select the frame(s) with the Selection tool, then press T to switch to the Type tool. That enables the text-based panels and activates the text formatting options in the Control panel.
Let me know if that works for you?