In my 20+ years of laying out publications, I've learned a series of lessons:
Lesson One: People preparing documents for me to place into a page layout program add some very wacky things to their files. Besides being unable to resist formatting their word processing files (even though they hired me to format their files for them), they also add all sorts of double spaces, triple spaces, tab space space tab sequences, tabs in the middle of paragraphs, hard returns in usual places, and on and on.
Lesson Two: Whatever strange thing someone is putting in their files, they tend to do it consistently.
Lesson Three: Nobody listens when I explain how I want the files to be prepared. Or people pretend to listen, and then do their own thing anyway.
So what's a girl to do? Accept the files the way they are submitted, and then run a series of Find/Change sequences on them to clean them up and get them ready for my formatting. This works in just about any page layout program, from FrameMaker to QuarkXPress to InDesign. However, InDesign CS3 has added some particularly clever features to the Find and Change dialog box that really save some time.
Here are three of my favorites:
- Multiple Space to Single Space. In lieu of running a series of searches to weed out all extra spaces, I can now just pick this one preset. The Find What line looks very scary, so just don't look too closely. Basically, that string of characters is searching for multiple spaces of any kind (spacebar spaces, tabs, non-breaking spaces, etc.). Run the search and poof! All extra spaces are gone.
- Multiple Return to Single Return. Another preset, this one pulls out all the extra hard returns.
- Remove Trailing Whitespace. Trailing whitespace refers to one or more spaces at the end of a paragraph, between the final punctuation and the hard return. Most of the time these spaces don't cause any problems, but sometimes they don't fit on the same line as the punctuation and they force a new line or even a new page. For long documents, this can be a real nightmare.
Here's my workflow: place all the files into my InDesign layout. Open the Find/Change dialog box from the Edit menu. Select each of these three queries in succession from the Query menu at the top of the dialog box, while setting the Search parameter to Document, so that you can clean up all the files at one time. Change All.
Next week: More on Find/Change to streamline your workflow.
About the author: Barbara Binder is the president and founder of Rocky Mountain Training. Barbara has been a trainer for nearly two decades and was recently recognized by Adobe as one of the top trainers world-wide for 2007. Barb will be your trainer for our virtual Adobe FrameMaker 8 and InDesign CS3 classes.