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Find/Replace Coding to Formatting

Feb 6, 2012 7:14 AM

Twice a year I put together an approximately 1500-page document from an Excel spreadsheet. I code the information in Excel so that I can Find/Replace codes to paragraph tags, and then I save to tab-delimited text, clean it up in NoteTab, and bring the txt file into Frame. I've tried using Indesign, but Frame is faster (still slow with 1500 pages, but much faster than Indesign). I search for my codes and replace them with paragraph tags. I can usually get the tagging part done in about 15 minutes.

What's giving me agita is the character-level formatting (new this year). It's easy enough for me to surround the characters I want formatted with codes (like <italicon>italic words here<italicoff>), but I haven't found a way in Frame to easily Find/Replace this to a character format. This year I brought the text into Indesign, found and tagged my italics with a GREP search, and then copied and pasted RTF into Frame. This sort of worked. Indesign was really, really slow, and it left some phantom characters right before returns that made searching for returns in Frame impossible, but it was better than manually swiping and applying a format 6000 times (4 times per page).

There must be a better way. I'm using Frame 9. Did Adobe improve Frame's Find/Replace with Frame 10 (like, maybe, including GREP)? Is there a simple way to include markup in the text file? I don't need to bother marking everything up. The paragraph tags are easy enough to Find/Replace. ISTR something called MML that I played around with about 15 years ago, but I don't see it as a choice for Save As or for Import. I tried Saving to MIF, but it looks very complicated. Can I code just the italics in MIF and do the rest of the formatting in Frame? Or is there a better way?

Ken Benson
Pegasus Type
www.pegtype.com

 

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 6, 2012 8:25 AM   in reply to Kenneth Benson

    Ken,

     

    Unfoturnately, the Find/Change in FM hasn't changed that much so you can't do GREP replacement.

     

    FM still lets you import (actually, you just use the FM Open command) MML tagged files and for simple content structures, this may suffice.

     

    Another route to consider perhaps might be to create a structured application in FM, if your content is already tagged (saves the intermediate steps converting to paratags).

     

    However, the "better way" to accomplish what you want is to use the Miramo Personal Edition for "database publishing" from your own tagged mark-up. It's available as a freebie version for use on FM desktop versions. See: http://www.miramox.com

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 6, 2012 9:48 AM   in reply to Kenneth Benson

    > I tried Saving to MIF, but it looks very complicated.

     

    It is, and it isn't. We have one hack that generates MIF directly from a spreadsheet (LibreOffice Calc). A couple of minutes saves countless hours of typing.

     

    Data is loaded into one sheet, and another contains the MIF for a complete Frame document, with all the data in a Frame table, and with cross-reference markers already present.

     

    You only have to learn enough MIF to isolate everything above the first row, after the last, and how to code rows and cells. The premable and postamble can be pasted into one spreadsheet cell each (if you eliminate the #comments).

     

    The active row lines and cells need the <Row and <Cell markups, of course, plus whatever else you need (like Character Formats).

     

    Copy-all from the MIF generating sheet into plaintext.mif, open in Frame.

     

    If MML can handle the job, it would be worth a look first. I may have done ours as a MIF hack due to some Marker limitation in MML (or perhaps just because I had prior MIF hacking experience - I started out coding it as a Python program that generated MIF - spreadsheet was trivial by comparison).

     
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