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I can't answer your question directly, but my gut says this is a styles issue, and my guess is that your Pagemaker users didn't use them. I also would guess that if you manage to change the default tab stop in ID, you'll wind up with OTHER files that don't convert correctly in some other way, but I'd love to here from someone with a better memeory of PM and some scripting skills.
I think it's probably unrealistic to think you are going to migrate ten PM docs, let alone thousands, without having to do a lot of manual cleanup in ID. The formats are quite different, and the quality of conversions is highly dependent on the quality and type of construction in PM. One of the biggest obstacles, by the way, is embedded images in the PM files. ID can't read them and only uses the preview. If you need the images, you must open every file and unembed everything before converting (I have no idea if THAT'S scriptable). Missing PM links are also a problem.
Yes, I am coming to the realisation that its unrealistic to expect that we'll be able to migrate thousands of documents without manual cleanup. What I am trying to do at the moment is to see whether there any "quick wins" that we can automate that will reduce the amount of manual cleanup we have to do.
With this particular tab stop issue there are many documents with the same issue that look like they've been created by copying an existing document and editing. So if it turns out that changing the default tab stops messes up other documents I can try to detect this "family" of documents and only change the tab stops for them.
I wonder whether the default tab stops in PageMaker are always 10mm, or whether they are sometimes different.
Thanks for the tip about embedded images, I've some strange things happening with them (they have a filename associated with them in PageMaker but this gets lost and changed to something like Image1234.TIF in InDesign - possibly only when the original file can't be found at the time of conversion).
In my US version of PM7 the default tabs are at .5" intervals.
Thanks. I also have the US version of PageMaker 7.0 (it says "North America" on the box) but my OS locale is set to English (United Kingdom), which specifies Metric measurement units. I get 10mm tab stops by default.
My guess would be that there's some hard coded defaults that change with Locale so if you have a way of determining that from the PM file, you have a basis for sorting to run your script.