This may be scriptable, but I don't know scripting, so here is what I would do:
Use one instance of each paragraph format to create the styles you want. Then use find/chage to look for the formatting, and apply the style.
If there is any individual word formatting in the document, set up Character Styles containing just the changed aspect, such as bold or italic, and apply those to the words. I'm not sure find/change would work for this part - it might need to be done manaully.
Find/Change can also be your friend in cases like this id you can identify the cahracterstics of the text you want to style, but I'd start by using a script, and there are some good ones listed at http://indesignsecrets.com/free-scripts-help-fix-word-formatting.php
Excellent ideas, thankyou both very much for your replies.The character styles script looks like it would have the effect I want, only TOCs work from Paragraph styles don't they? Is there a script that would do the same thing but for PStyles? I'm thinking that SRiegals Find/Change plan might be the way forward...and I've spent most of today manually removing individual page numbers and coloured boxes from EVERY PAGE aaarghh (so I can put them on a master where they ought to be) so need all the help I can get!
I don't think you can escape some manual work, but if you can see what appear to be paragraph styles (that are not yet named and defined), like Body Text or Headings, or Quotes or whatever, you can set those styles up, then search for the text that has that formatting using Find/Change and which also does not have another style assigned (set the character style to None in the find formatting), then change the paragraph style. You want to do this AFTER assigning character styles.
@Phil – you could also use the Stylighter script by Marc Autret to visually check your work in progress:
I found this very helpful…
Thanks again. In previous documents I've paragraph styled everything for continuity then added a couple of character styles where necessary just to add...erm.... a bit of style to certain areas, like chapter numbers, or to make bullet points different colours to the bullets themselves, or changing the look of a word or element inside a paragraph (which is what I thought they were for). I'm not actually sure I'm going to need any character styles at all in this document.
Here's a screenshot - as you can see it's all formatted locally with no paragraph styles set up at all. Or pagination, or text reflow, which is my fun job for tomorrow, manually hooking up every page with text threads then watching as the whole thing comes unravelled in a horrible mess! It's also littered with hidden characters like random tabs and carriage returns, to the point where I'm almost wondering whether to copy the whole thing into notepad and then back into InDesign and set it all up again using a printed copy as a reference!
Or pagination, or text reflow, which is my fun job for tomorrow, manually hooking up every page with text threads then watching as the whole thing comes unravelled in a horrible mess!
If you need to thread a whole bunch of unthreaded frames that already have stuff in 'em, I would advise installing Rorohiko's free utility TextStitch. It can automatically thread the whole document for you, but it does so in a programmatic top-down left-right way. If your document is like the, um, er, stuff I rebuild on a daily basis, then the automatic-frame-threader won't work for you due to overlapping frames that are not in logical order. Fortunately, there's a handy "QuickStitch" that lets you thread already-full frames with one click per frame. It's an incredible timesaver.
If you need to reproduce the existing page layouts, I'd suggest you read up more on what paragraph styles can do, before annihilating whatever layout and flow behaviors have been stuck on the content. For example, if level "X" headings always start at the top of a text frame, or top of a page, or even top of a right page, or top of a left page, a paragraph style property can do this. So you'd want to create and apply a paragraph that does this to those paragraphs before you thread text frames; the top of <whatever> frame paragraph property will keep the paragraphs in place.
It is possible to create paragraph styles with properties that behave crazily when they do what you define for them. For example, you can define a paragraph style that sets the style of the paragraph that's created when you press Enter/Return. You can also use the smartness built into the Next Style property. If a paragraph style, say Head1 is defined to create a new paragraph when you press Enter/Return, it can also apply its next style property to the paragraph follows Head1 in the same text selection. So, if you select a paragraph that's supposed to become Head1 (which defines its next style as BodyAfterHead1) and also select the paragraph that follows it, and then hold down Ctrl+Click on the Head1 style's name in the Paragraph Styles panel, Apply "Head1" then Next Style appears. If BodyAfterHead1 defines Body as its next style, and more than two consecutive paragraphs are selected, Head1 will be applied to the first paragraph, BodyAfterHead1 will be applied to the second paragraph, and Body will be applied to the third and following paragraphs.
So, you'll be investing in setting up the Next Style property for paragraph styles, and selecting as many consecutive paragraphs as needed for applying a pattern of styles that agrees with your next style definitions. Each time you use this feature, you're collecting benefits from your investment.
If you need to reproduce the look of the layout on some number of pages, you could export to PDF and use a script to efficiently place each page of a multi-page PDF on a "PDF layer" you create, that appears on every document page in the ID document, lock and move the layer below the active document layer, and use it as a placement underlay.
Search Google for terms like "InDesign apply style and next style," "InDesign place multipage pdf script," "InDesign installing and using scripts," "InDesign paragraph style keep options," and "InDesign start paragraph options," without quotes, for informative links to anywhere on the Web, as well as on these Adobe forums. To limit the searches to Adobe forums only, include "forums.adobe" without quotes in the search query.
Thanks! This is just what I needed too! Cheers!