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how to replace all spaces after numbers with non-breaking spaces

New Here ,
Feb 17, 2023 Feb 17, 2023

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I have a document with many numbers, some followed by a unit abbreviation (15 kWh), and some not ("the year 2022 had..."). I want to change any space that is between a numeral and a unit with a non-breaking space without changing the numeral or the abbreviation. How can I do this quickly and easily with the Find/Change dialogue box/panel? I suspect there is a way to do this using GREP, but I am totally new to GREP and cannot find or figure out the code to put in the "Find what:" and the "Change to" fields in the Find/Change panel.  Thank you. 

-Seth

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Community Expert ,
Feb 17, 2023 Feb 17, 2023

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Is it alwayts kWh? If yes,

 

2023-02-17_18-01-11 (1).gif

 

~Barb

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New Here ,
Feb 17, 2023 Feb 17, 2023

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Thank you so much, Barb for the super quick response. No, the units vary or could even be a word sometimes after a numeral where I want to prevent a line break. For example, in 12 cars, 10 mm, 130 kWh. 

So the term after the "s" in find what could represent any letter, I think, what would the code be for that?

Thanks, Seth

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New Here ,
Feb 17, 2023 Feb 17, 2023

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sorry for the types, "so the term after the 's' in the 'Find' field could be something to represent any letter, I think.

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Community Expert ,
Feb 17, 2023 Feb 17, 2023

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The grep pattern

(\b\d+) (?=\w+)

does this I think. the \w means match any character that is an alphabetical character (\d means match a digit).

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Community Expert ,
Feb 17, 2023 Feb 17, 2023

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As per @Barb Binder's answer, you can add other units to check for by putting them in a capture group of options separated by the | bar character.

(\b\d+) (?=(Wh|kWh|MW|kV|MV)\b)

I've also added \b which matches to a word boundary. Not sure if the first one is useful but the second \b means that it won't match, say, the 150 MV in 150 MVP.

- Mark

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New Here ,
Feb 17, 2023 Feb 17, 2023

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Thank you all so much. This is great. The abbreviation of the unit could be anything or a word, so I think it should be Find: (\d+) (?=[\l\u])

Change to: $1*tilda*S

where *tilda* represents the squigle before the "S" for nonbreaking space.

You just saved me an hour of tedious work and added the excitement of learning to do something new in InDesign.

-Seth

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Community Expert ,
Feb 17, 2023 Feb 17, 2023

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You can also use that as a GREP Style in your Paragraph Style to apply a Character Style with no break applied. the text is not replaced (that is, the space is still a normal space) but the no break attribute will appply to the entire found text.

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Community Expert ,
Feb 18, 2023 Feb 18, 2023

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Edit: I'm wrong here. Please ignore. See Eugene's response below for details.

 

By the way, I think [\l\u] is the same as \w. Let me know if I'm not right though—I've got a lot to learn about grep. - Mark

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Community Expert ,
Feb 18, 2023 Feb 18, 2023

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\l\u are lower or upper case so I'd prefer this [\l|\u]

It behaves like \w but sometimes \w captures digits too. 

 

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Community Expert ,
Feb 18, 2023 Feb 18, 2023

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@Eugene Tyson, thank you! I never realised the difference. You are right: \w seems to just match anything between "word boundaries", including digits.

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Community Expert ,
Feb 17, 2023 Feb 17, 2023

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I generally have to do something very similar 

here's an almost complete list in grep

 

The problem can be some people write 2 M or 2 kM or 2 Km or 2 km or anything like that 

so I added a case sensitive look too

 

\d\K (?=(?i)\b(m|km|cm|mm|in|ft|yd|mi|m²|km²|cm²|mm²|in²|ft²|yd²|ac|L|mL|m³|ft³|in³|gal|qt|oz|fl oz|kg|g|mg|lb|°[CF]|K|s|min|h|day|week|month|year|m/s|km/h|mph|Pa|kPa|atm|psi|J|kJ|cal|kcal|Wh|kWh|W|kW|hp|A|V|ohm|Hz|kHz|MHz|GHz|bit|byte|KB|MB|GB|TB)\b)

 

as pointed out
\d is a digit

\K is a positive lookbehind

followed by a space

 

(?= is the opening of the lookahead [it's closed at after the \b at the end

(?i) will ignore case

\b is a word bound

( is the start of a set

 

then we add the units separated with | as this means OR
m|km|cm|mm|in ... etc.

we close the set with a )

\b to finish the word bound

) to finish the look ahead

 

to alter the grep - remove units - you might want to remove year month week day - technically these are units of time

 

But you can add remove as you need them.

 

This is the sample of text I used

 

The box is 30 cm x 20 cm x 15 cm and weighs 2.5 kg. It contains 500 mL of water and 250 g of sugar. The temperature is 25°C and the pressure is 1 atm. The speed of the car is 80 km/h and the distance traveled is 120 km. The power output of the engine is 150 hp and it consumes 12 L of gasoline per 100 km. The memory card has a capacity of 32 GB and a transfer rate of 100 MB/s. The frequency of the processor is 3.5 GHz and the resistance of the circuit is 100 ohm. The duration of the movie is 2h 30min and its file size is 1.5 GB. The company has 100 employees and its revenue was 10 million dollars last year. The book has 500 pages and its ISBN is 978-3-16-148410-0. The building is 50 meters tall and has 20 floors. The recipe calls for 2 cups of flour and 1 tablespoon of salt.

 

In the GREP - tablespoon is not represented so you'd need to add that.

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Community Expert ,
Feb 17, 2023 Feb 17, 2023

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Hey thanks for sharing your list @Eugene Tyson, I had a quick look for something similar online but didn't find it. Sample paragraph is great, too. 🙂

 

One *very* minor point of clarification in case anyone is confused: the \K symbol in grep tells the engine to discard the matched text up until that point. In effect it works the same as a lookbehind so, as I say. very minor point. However I just realised that, in Indesign at least, \K works better than a lookbehind here because it handles variable length text, which lookbehind does not—you cannot do (?<=\d+)\s for example, because there are variable number of digits matched.

- Mark

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Community Expert ,
Feb 17, 2023 Feb 17, 2023

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Funny enough I only recently found out how to use the \K in grep after seeing it for years.

 

One of those things ha ha

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Community Expert ,
Feb 17, 2023 Feb 17, 2023

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Yep. Oh by the way, because you are doing scripting, I should point out that in Javascript flavoured RegExp there is no \K. You can use it in your script via findGrep, because that is Indesign's regex (PCRE flavour), but not in native ExtendScript. eg. myString.replace(/test\s\K\d/g, '2') won't work.

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Community Expert ,
Feb 17, 2023 Feb 17, 2023

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I might give up on the scripting. It's very time-consuming and frustrating! I got a few bits done for my own needs. But I'll keep it in mind if I ever need that function in a script. Who knows, I might try again when I have more free time.

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Community Expert ,
Feb 18, 2023 Feb 18, 2023

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Yeah, it is a big investment in time. Still, sometimes one gets inspired when the need arises. 🙂

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