My office uses InDesign for most of its publications, but we still use Pagemaker to create almanac and directory listings for our trade publication. The reason we use Pagemaker is so that we can take an Microsoft Access Database filled with information and export this information to text. We then use an ancient database program called Paradox to wrap the different fields in the database with Adobe Pagemaker text tags, so that when we place the text files into our Pagemaker documents, the styles are automatically applied to the text we bring in.
Here comes the question: is there an easy way to do this in InDesign? I have done some playing around with the tagged text features in InDesign and it seems a little too complex for our staff and our automated workflow. In PageMaker the styletags were very straigtforward and the files didn't need the leader information.
Basically we just need tags that will apply paragraph styles, we don't use object styles or character styles in our workflow.
I would really love to get us off of PageMaker completely (and Paradox, but that is an issue for another forum.)
I've also looked at keeping the same styletags that we used in Pagemaker and using some type of GREP expression to apply all of the text between the tags, but couldn't seem to get that to work reliably either.
If anyone has done anything similar or has any pointers just to get me going in the right direction, it'd be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
I've rebuilt one Paradox workflow - it was some years back, and I think I've forgotten all of the traumatic details. But if your content is in Access now, then what kind of text are you exporting? The XML export from Access can be pretty messy, but the one time I needed it to be easily importable into InDesign, it worked fairly well. There are all kinds of potential hitches in such a workflow, but if your data in Access is exceptionally clean, then your exported XML might be straightforward enough to flow into ID without significant effort. I once built a glossary this way; it took a bunch of heavy lifting at the beginning, but subsequent glossary updates were so easy that I almost felt guilty about billing for it.
If you have (or can acquire) a basic understanding of XML, then take a look at the options under the Tag menu (under "Utilities" in CS5 and 5.5). Automagical formatting of large documents is often doable, depending on how your database is structured. If your database XML export is not structured in a way that makes this kind of workflow easy, then you can use XSL to rejigger your XML into a format that is easily importable. Unfortunately, I only know that it's possible in some cases - my ability to use XSL transforms is at a "rank beginner" level of expertise.