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Edit sections names: is there a way to list and edit them quickly?

New Here ,
Jul 03, 2024 Jul 03, 2024

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Hi everyone!

I'm working on a book of stories written by several authors. I'm speaking of a collection of 100–120 stories from as many authors. I used sections to separate each story and give each a title that appears on the right page of the book.

I would like to add the author name (I didn't plan to do it, but for layout reasons now I have to). I would like to know if there's a way to have all sections as an editable list to work in a more agile way.

 

Any advice?

 

Thanks in advance!

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EPUB , Feature request

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Community Expert , Jul 03, 2024 Jul 03, 2024

Unless I misunderstand the exchanges here completely, it sounds as if you have built this document on a very awkward model. Put very simply, unless there are good and specific reasons to break up the content using sections, articles, individual INDD files and/or text flows, a document should be one flow from start to finish, with all content in that flow and separated using only Paragraph Style control elements, such as page breaks.

 

It sounds as if you have a separate text box for each story t

...

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Community Expert ,
Jul 03, 2024 Jul 03, 2024

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Sections do not separate stories. A section must start with a new page or document.

 

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New Here ,
Jul 03, 2024 Jul 03, 2024

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Thank you for your reply! I should have said that the new story starts with a new page where I make the new section start, my mistake. Thank you for pointing that out 🙂

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Community Expert ,
Jul 03, 2024 Jul 03, 2024

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Each story should have something like a chapter heading, which should be an assigned Paragraph Style. That style can include a page break, either to "next page" or "next right-hand page" (for traditional layout). Sections aren't really the right tool for this kind of division unless you are going to number the pages in each separately. (If you are going to use running headers with the story name, you can do that with header or footer variables that draw on the chapter name and/or author name, but you still don't need any kind of hard break between stories.)

 

There is no need to separate stories in the overall text flow or layout; one text flow all through will be easier to manage in all ways.


┋┊ InDesign to Kindle (& EPUB): A Professional Guide, v3.0 ┊ (Amazon) ┊┋

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New Here ,
Jul 03, 2024 Jul 03, 2024

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The structure is already as you describe. Think about each story as a chapter of the book. In the top part of the page, there's a text box in which the name of the section (call it title of the story/chapter) appears.

My point is to understand if there's a way to get all sections' texts editable from a list or some specific window. If not I'll have to edit each section name one by one...

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Community Expert ,
Jul 03, 2024 Jul 03, 2024

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Hi @Simone37875086m1fc , Are you wanting to add a Section Prefix or a Section Marker? Both can be scripted.

 

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New Here ,
Jul 03, 2024 Jul 03, 2024

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Thanks for your reply, Rob!

The issue is it's not the same text for all of them. I.e.:
page 1, section 1, "The beginning of the story" by John Doe

page 20, section 2 "This is my story" by Thomas Jefferson.

 

I'm now missing the "by Author's Name" part, but they're different for each story. That's why I was looking for some list kinda of thing: only seeing (and editing) my section's labels without scrolling pages to find the sections one by one and changing them. 

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Community Expert ,
Jul 03, 2024 Jul 03, 2024

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So it’s the Section Prefix you want to edit and not the Section Marker? I think the Prefix is limited to 8 characters—can you show a capture of your typical Section Options :

 

Screen Shot 31.png

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New Here ,
Jul 03, 2024 Jul 03, 2024

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Yes, I wrote the stories' titles in the "Section Marker" text box. Now I should add "Name Surname - " before each different title, but the authors are different for each "Section Marker" I used. That's why I would like to find a way to edit each one in a smarter way and not scrolling and finding sections and then editing... I hope I was clear enough.

 

Indesign-Section-marker.png

 

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Community Expert ,
Jul 03, 2024 Jul 03, 2024

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Unless I misunderstand the exchanges here completely, it sounds as if you have built this document on a very awkward model. Put very simply, unless there are good and specific reasons to break up the content using sections, articles, individual INDD files and/or text flows, a document should be one flow from start to finish, with all content in that flow and separated using only Paragraph Style control elements, such as page breaks.

 

It sounds as if you have a separate text box for each story title, which is... not a good or manageable approach. If these titles are standalone text boxes, unconnected to the following story or the overall text flow, it's a really poor approach. (The method of using a separated text frame for chapter headings is, for some reason, a common choice by new users, and we usually hear from them here when they find themselves badly tangled up in formatting, TOC and organizational problems as a result.)

 

The short answer to what seems to be your core question, though, is no. There's no way to pull those chapter headings or story titles into one list you can edit; you can use a TOC feature to build a list, but it won't work in reverse (e.g. editing that list won't change the headings). And the TOC may work poorly if at all if you're using detached text boxes as I am asking above.

 

I think you are going to want to reflow the content into continous, contiguous pages, with the chapter headings and author bylines part of that single flow, and then use Paragraph Styles to break them into "separate stories" aka chapters. (That is, there should be one and only one primary text frame on each page  — nothing manually split, added or anchored in later.) That still won't facilitate group editiing of the headings, but you could use InCopy to access the content in a more linear, editable form to speed the process.

 

In any case, sections have little or nothing to do with this organization unless, as I said, you want to have some control over things like page numbering in each chapter. Wrong feature entirely for what you seem to be trying to achieve. The minimalist feature of style-based page breaks seems to be the right choice; it's possible stories in separate flows or Articles are an option, but at 100+ iterations the management of those would get overwhelming.


┋┊ InDesign to Kindle (& EPUB): A Professional Guide, v3.0 ┊ (Amazon) ┊┋

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New Here ,
Jul 03, 2024 Jul 03, 2024

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Thank you for your support James, you got it right. I'm following disposition "from above", but I totally agree with you. Thank you so much for your time and answer and thank you all for trying to help me!

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Community Expert ,
Jul 03, 2024 Jul 03, 2024

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To be complete, though, there is one way you could have the chapter titles as an editable list: make it a separate text file/flow, and flow the titles into those linked title frames while the content flows into the main body frames. You could then edit the file with the list of chapter names as a unit and reflow it.

 

The logistics and management of such a layout are crazy-complex, though; you'd have to make sure every title appeared in the correct box before its associated story body. I in no way mean this as a solution to be attempted unless that list-editing of the titles is of paramount importance.


┋┊ InDesign to Kindle (& EPUB): A Professional Guide, v3.0 ┊ (Amazon) ┊┋

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