10 Replies Latest reply on Apr 20, 2017 3:46 AM by tozzy

    Why does syncing a book remove text frame primacy (and can it be stopped)?

    Janus Bahs Jacquet Level 1

      If you have a bunch of InDesign documents linked together in a Book, you frequently end up tweaking styles and master pages along the way. This is where the “Synchronize Book”/“Synchronize Selected Documents” option is so extremely handy. If you make sure to keep to a stringent regime of styles and master pages and apply them judiciously, you can essentially change the entire layout of a book with a single click. I love the feature.

       

      There’s just one thing I really, really don’t understand about it.

       

      When I typeset books, I usually make sure to place my Word text into a Primary Text Frame; that is, I make sure that all the text frames on my master pages that are meant to be used for flowing the main content are set as Primary. That way I can switch master page types around without having to worry about duplicate text frames, etc.

       

      But for some reason, whenever I sync documents in a book, all Primary Text Frames in all documents affected become non-Primary. They become regular text frames. Which sucks, because then I have to manually reapply the master page, cut all content from the now-overridden text frames, delete those text frames, and paste the content into the new Primary Text Frames.

       

      Why is it not possible (seemingly—at least I haven’t found a way) to sync styles and master pages across documents in a book without overriding all Primary Text Frames to non-Primary Text Frames in every document synced?

       

      Or even better: IS there actually a way to do this that I’m just not aware of?

        • 1. Re: Why does syncing a book remove text frame primacy (and can it be stopped)?
          Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          But for some reason, whenever I sync documents in a book, all Primary Text Frames in all documents affected become non-Primary. They become regular text frames.

          Hi Janus,

          I can confirm what you see.

           

          What happens after synching is that the text frames on the document pages are not connected to the primary text frames anymore.
          They do not show the adornment of "Primary Text Frame" as they did before. The masters still show primary text frames.

           

          And that behavior is breaking the workflow.

          I see no other workaround than not to synch the masters.
          Instead I would move/duplicate masters around.
          And reapply where necessary.

           

          Regards,
          Uwe

          • 2. Re: Why does syncing a book remove text frame primacy (and can it be stopped)?
            Janus Bahs Jacquet Level 1

            Laubender  wrote

            What happens after synching is that the text frames on the document pages are not connected to the primary text frames anymore.
            They do not show the adornment of "Primary Text Frame" as they did before. The masters still show primary text frames.

            Yes, I should have clarified that: they are still Primary Text Frames on the master pages themselves and can thus still be reapplied (with a bit of bothersome work). It is only on the document pages they lose their ‘primacy’.

             

            Strangely enough, I just did some more testing today, and with the documents I try now, it doesn’t happen! So there must be something particular about the documents or the master pages or… something else that triggers this bug.

             

            Edit:

             

            Okay, I just tried syncing back and forth a bit now. Same three documents (one as the source, two as the targets). Tried with various combinations of having the target documents open and closed. Synced four times:

             

            1. Both target documents open while syncing — synced fine.

            2. One open, one closed — synced fine.

            3. One open, one closed (reversed) — open document synced fine, closed document lost text frame primacy.

            4. Both closed — both synced fine.

             

            I’m more puzzled than ever now!

            • 3. Re: Why does syncing a book remove text frame primacy (and can it be stopped)?
              Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              Hi Janus,

               

              just tested again.

              2 docs in a book. Source plus 1 target.

              Book is saved.

               

              1. Source and target open.

              2. Source closed, target open.

               

              Synch is wrecking the Primary Text Frame connection of target.

               

              3. Source and target closed.

              Synch is wrecking the Primary Text Frame connection of source and target.

               

              I cannot see a way where it's safe to synch the masters.

              Especially if all documents are closed…

               

              Testing with:
              German InDesign CC 2017.1 v 12.1.0.56 on German Mac OSX 10.10.5

               

              Regards,
              Uwe

              • 4. Re: Why does syncing a book remove text frame primacy (and can it be stopped)?
                Janus Bahs Jacquet Level 1

                How utterly bizarre!

                 

                I’m on English InDesign CC 2017.1 v 12.1.51, English OS X 10.12.4, which doesn’t seem like it should be significantly different from your setup (unless they decided go from randomly broken to completely broken between 12.1.51 and 12.1.56).

                • 5. Re: Why does syncing a book remove text frame primacy (and can it be stopped)?
                  Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  Hi Janus,

                   

                  after my last tests InDesign was also in a "bizarre" state.

                   

                  Some of the menus did not work anymore. However the appropriate shortcuts of the menus were doing their job.
                  Also: I closed all documents of the book and the book file still claimed that my source was open.

                   

                  I decided to trash the preferences and run the tests again.

                  After a restart it's:

                   

                  3. Source and target closed.

                  Synch is wrecking the Primary Text Frame connection of target.

                   

                  Regards,
                  Uwe

                  • 6. Re: Why does syncing a book remove text frame primacy (and can it be stopped)?
                    tozzy

                    I think this is actually not a bug but a product design issue.  I encountered this problem as well, and went digging through the InDesign docs and found this paragraph:

                    Any master page items that are overridden on document pages after you synchronize masters for the first time are detached from the master. Therefore, if you plan on synchronizing master pages in your book, it’s a good idea to synchronize all the documents in your book at the start of the design process. That way, overridden master page items will maintain their connection to the master page and will continue to be updated from modified master page items in the style source.

                    (Taken from this page:)

                    Create book files with Adobe InDesign

                     

                    The key point here is about 'overriding', since the act of putting text into a primary text frame (and letting it smart reflow) effectively constitutes an override. So according to this, once you do the sync, the text frames then become detached from the master. All continues to look superficially OK until you try changing the master design and find it doesn't reflect into the relevant pages. Very annoying!

                     

                    This needs a solution, since Adobe's suggestion above isn't really practical in a real-world sense. Being able to alter the master page design in a single place is critical to simple design management for consistency across a bunch of books and documents.

                     

                    MT

                    • 7. Re: Why does syncing a book remove text frame primacy (and can it be stopped)?
                      Janus Bahs Jacquet Level 1

                      tozzy  wrote

                       

                      The key point here is about 'overriding', since the act of putting text into a primary text frame (and letting it smart reflow) effectively constitutes an override.

                      The thing is that flowing text into a primary text frame shouldn’t be an override—that’s part of the point of primary text frames: they are usable on pages without overriding and update when you apply masters.

                       

                      You can confirm this easily: Make a document with two masters, A and B, which both have primary text frames, but of different shapes and sizes. Apply master A to a page in the document and fill the (primary) frame with text. If you apply master B to the page now, the primary text frame will update, so that the text is now in a differently sized and positioned frame on the page.

                       

                      If you had overridden the text frame and detached it from the master page (thereby also removing its primacy), the text in it would have remained in original place, and a new, empty primary text frame would have been added where the B-master’s primary text frame is.

                       

                      So you can put and smart-reflow text into primary text frames without detaching them from the master page. If you do actually override a master page item and detach it from the master, then of course synchronising the master page will not affect that item anymore (it’s indistinguishable from any other item that you happen to have created manually on the page), which is what the bit you quoted from the docs is talking about. But here it seems to be the act of synchronising itself that detaches the primary text frames from their master, which is a different thing.

                      • 8. Re: Why does syncing a book remove text frame primacy (and can it be stopped)?
                        tozzy Level 1

                        I must confess to getting some confusing behavior out of InDesign.

                         

                        If adding text to a primary text frame (on the page) does not constitute an override, why is it that if you deselect "Allow Master Item overrides" on the master, you can no longer edit/insert text into the page based on that master?

                         

                        Another odd behavior even before we get to master page syncing, but similar kind of thing:

                         

                        I was just testing out a simple example very much like you described:

                        * Simple doc with spreads

                        * Primary text frame threaded on spread master (in different positions on each side deliberately)

                        * Just a single blank page in the doc, reapply the master to the page.

                         

                        Now make a copy of this blank file to two more files chap1 and chap2.

                        Open a new Book, add chap1 and chap2.

                        (No syncing)

                         

                        What I find is in chap2 - because of the page shuffling it now starts on page 2. But the frame appears to have become detached, because the dotted line frame from the RHS of the master is visible, and the frame on the page is still in the position it was as if it was on page 1, rather than switching to using the other side of the master.  However, if I reapply the master at that point, it goes back to looking like a non-detached frame. (I didn't think detachment was reversible).

                         

                        Be happy to continue comparing notes on this off board... just send me an IM

                        • 9. Re: Why does syncing a book remove text frame primacy (and can it be stopped)?
                          Janus Bahs Jacquet Level 1

                          tozzy  wrote

                           

                          If adding text to a primary text frame (on the page) does not constitute an override, why is it that if you deselect "Allow Master Item overrides" on the master, you can no longer edit/insert text into the page based on that master?

                          That is odd indeed! I never even saw that option before, but it does indeed seem like InDesign cannot make up its mind as to whether adding text to a primary text frame is overriding or not. Or perhaps it’s rather that primary text frames are frames that are not detached from the master page when they are overridden, so that overriding and detaching are actually two different things. I’ve always thought of them being two sides of the same coin, but that is perhaps only true for non-primary objects.

                           

                          Your other experiment would seem to confirm this. The text you insert into the text frame is in a primary text frame, which is then considered overridden but not detached. When the second document is inserted into the book and becomes a left page, the containing text frame stays in place (since it was overridden), but since it’s a primary text frame, it’s still connected to the master page. So when adding the document to the book, local overrides to the master page are maintained, but non-detached objects remain non-detached.  Reapplying the master page removes all local overrides of non-detached objects (but cannot, for logical reasons, remove local overrides to detached objects), so when you do that, the text jumps up into the primary text frame defined on the master page.

                           

                          The only thing that is really odd, then, is that before you reapply the master, you technically have two primary text frames on the same page. Since this is not possible, one of them (the one inherited from the master, rather than the locally overridden one) is disabled (dotted line, non-selectable).

                          • 10. Re: Why does syncing a book remove text frame primacy (and can it be stopped)?
                            tozzy Level 1

                            Janus - I agree with your argument that primary text frames shouldn't be treated as an override, but in reality this is not the case.

                             

                            The text frame on the page is displayed with a solid line right from the get-go, indicating that it has an override in place. (Setting it as a primary text frame on the master is what causes it to be overridden on the page as soon as the master is first applied). You can go into the pages menu and remove local overrides from the page and it will delete that frame, at which point the dotted line from the underlying master is visible and it is no longer an editable frame.

                             

                            The question we both have is how to manage a book with this limitation, i.e. that these frames are becoming detached at the time of syncing master pages throughout the book. It does make a bit of a mockery of the idea of using a book and the sync feature to keep all aspects of the design in one template that can be modified and re-applied.

                             

                            Choices:

                             

                            1. Don't rely on primary text frames. Which would be a great pity... it is a big time saving feature by itself.

                            2. Don't sync master pages. Basically what indesign seems to be doing at sync time is applying the [None] master (causing item detachment) and then applying the new master even though they share the same name.

                             

                            I did find something of a compromise just now:

                             

                            Suppose A-Master contains the underlying page design, header and footers etc.  B-Master is based on A-Master, but has the primary text frame added. Then you can safely sync from a master doc that only has the A-Master in it. Which means that you only have one place to go to edit any master item except the primary text frame. And if you need to adjust the primary frame location and size on the page, well at least that's a fairly simple thing to do to the private B-master in each book chapter. I tested this out and it seems to work.

                             

                            Ideally Adobe should change the way this mechanism works when syncing master pages so that this isn't necessary.