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Spenno
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Text entry into template

Feb 18, 2013 3:02 AM

Hi all,

I have a question regarding entering text in InDesign CS5.5.

My company creates poetry books where children fill in the blanks on templates, ie 'In my family there are ........... people and me/We are are ......... happy as can be,' etc.

The main poem doesn't change but the variables that are entered obviously do. Currently the document contains the pretyped poems and typists scroll through the document moving the cursor over the blank area and inputting the desired words. It's fine this way but as you can imagine very repetitive ie click enter click enter etc, hundreds of times for each book. I am simply trying to speed up this process whereby the mouse can be eliminated and a tab / return key can be used.

I have had a look at text variables and anchored text objects without much success, but wonder if there is a  process without needing to use the mouse to relocate the cursor - just using the tab key which would then move to the next 'field', like it would with a cell in a table? I think it might overcomplicate things if every poem (sometimes up to 300) were to become a table with cells, but it's along the right lines. The 'fields' need to be of variable width, and sometimes cause the sentence to break onto a new line. Would there be a simple say to tab between the blank spaces in a block of text to make inputting faster? I also thought of flattening the background beneath and simply having linked text frames with a break to next frame command within that, which would enable the user to move between the frames quickly, but can't help but think you guys could come up with a far simpler suggestion!

Thanks in advance for any help.

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 18, 2013 4:33 AM   in reply to Spenno

    I don't exactly understand what you are doing, but I suspect Data Merge might be the way to go. You'd put the text you want to input into a separate data file, and set up your templates with merge fields, then you can open a template, run the merge, and it's done.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 18, 2013 6:43 AM   in reply to Spenno

    Might be scriptable to tab from "field" to "field," but I think in the long run setting up a data merge is a lot easier.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 18, 2013 7:16 AM   in reply to Spenno

    Because writing good poetry is hard, you might assume that your workflow for this project should be hard, too. If your replaceable items are indeed similar to your example - one item placeholder for each item name - a simple find "variable text 1 and replace with Joey" would work. The only issue is that you'd need to do this once for each item.

     

    You might want to look into the findchangebylist script that ships with recent releases of ID. Briefly, it works like Find/Change, ie, it looks for something and replaces it with something you specify. However, it uses a list of sequential find/change statements like "find variable text 1 and replace with Joey," "find variable text 2 and replace with Rover," etc. You'd need to customize the script by entering the variable text placeholder names for the find, and your typists would need to learn how to type each customer's data into the replace position of each of the script's statements, and save the script without changing anything that could mess it up. Running the script does the really hard and repetitious work of replacing all instances of each item name with the appropriate item data.

     

    You'd only need to replace the script's find placeholder names with your placeholder item names once, then open copies of the saved script for the typists to replace the change placeholders. ID scripts need to be saved as text files with the extension jsx. You can edit them with a plain-text editor, ID's ExtendScript utility, or even edit them within ID itself and export them as plain text files.

     

    Search Google for terms like "indesign running scripts," "using indesign extendscript," "exporting text from indesign," and "indesign findchangebylist" without quotes for details.

     

    BTW, IIRC, Data Merge only works with a single page layout.

     

    HTH

     

    Peter Gold

    KnowHow ProServices

     

    Spenno wrote:

     

    Thanks Peter. I probably explained it in a very longwinded manner!

    Basically we have hundreds of handwritten poems where people have filled in half a dozen blank spaces with different words. These words are being typed into an InDesign template in the relevant gaps within the rest of the poem.

    Rather than scroll through a 300 page document clicking on the relevant gap then entering the desired word, moving to the next page then repeating this three step process until the book is complete, I was hoping to somehow come up with a process whereby it would be possible to 'tab' the cursor into the next gap, eliminating the need to change pages or even use the mouse.

    I also wondered about linked text frames within the existing one (not sure if this is possible?), with automatically adjusting widths ... anything to save time really.

    I've mocked up a jpeg of the desired result where the pink text represents the words being entered manually in a different character style. 'Variable text 1' would be typed, then return / tab used somehow to move to the next field where ;variable text 2' would be typed ... etc.

    A data merge seems logical but I was hoping for something more direct within InDesign?Text variable example.jpg

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 18, 2013 7:35 AM   in reply to peter at knowhowpro

    peter at knowhowpro wrote:

     

    BTW, IIRC, Data Merge only works with a single page layout.

    Not so, if you are doing a single-record-per-page merge. In this scenario, all of the data for each poem would be held in a single record.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 18, 2013 8:36 AM   in reply to Peter Spier

    Thanks, for the correction about multi-page Data Merge layouts, Peter S. I was thinking that the poems were short and separate stories, perhaps, even, each poem a separate file in a book. Always different ways to look at things until all facts are in place.

     

    Your Data Merge suggestion is simpler and the solution more direct for a single set of replaceable items in one story of any length.

     

    Regards,

     

     

    Peter

    _______________________

    Peter Gold

    KnowHow ProServices

     

     

    Peter Spier wrote:

     

    peter at knowhowpro wrote:

     

    BTW, IIRC, Data Merge only works with a single page layout.

    Not so, if you are doing a single-record-per-page merge. In this scenario, all of the data for each poem would be held in a single record.

     
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