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How to update InDesign (TOC) while the document is in the background and without displaying anything

Participant ,
May 05, 2023 May 05, 2023

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I need some help troubleshooting my script.

 

The below script is part of a larger script that creates multiple files and adds them to a book.

Once all of the files are in the book, I need to update the Table of Contents (TOC).

 

Part of my goal is to not have anything display while this script is running. (Still tring to figure out how to supress the book panel...) TO achieve that, I have opened the file, with the TOC I need to update, in the background. Unfortunately, when the script reaches "story.textContainers[0].select()" it fails, telling me me there is no document window open:

25831189rjun_1-1683310896799.png

 

This is intentional, since I don't want any document windows open, but it is clearly causing a problem for the script. How do I get teh script to select the necessary text frame and update teh TOC while the document is in the background? 

 

 

//Update TOC
var fob1_path = bookFolder + "/1" + fileNameNodes + "FOB.indd";
var fobFile1 = app.open(File(fob1_path), false);

function updateTOC(){
    var stories = app.documents[0].stories;
    for(var i=0; i < stories.length; i++) {
        var story = stories[i]
        if(story.storyType != StoryTypes.TOC_STORY)
            continue;
        story.textContainers[0].select()
        app.menuActions.item("$ID/UpdateTableOfContentsCmd").invoke();
    }
};

updateTOC();

fobFile1.save();
fobFile1.close();

 

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How to , Scripting , SDK , Type

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correct answers 3 Correct answers

Community Expert , May 05, 2023 May 05, 2023

Hi @Ben Ross - KP, I think this will give you a way forward:

 

 

/**
 * Update all TOCs in document.
 * @discussion https://community.adobe.com/t5/indesign-discussions/how-to-update-indesign-toc-while-the-document-is-in-the-background-and-without-displaying-anything/m-p/13773925
 */
function main() {

    var doc = app.documents[0],
        docTOCStyles = doc.tocStyles;

    if (docTOCStyles.length == 0) {
        alert('Document ' + document.name + ' has no TOC Styles to update.');
        retu
...

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Community Expert , May 08, 2023 May 08, 2023

Aaaah! That makes sense. In my test document I had already set up the default style and so I didn't see the error on any of my styles. Oops. Glad you got to the bottom of it. 🙂

 

Referencing the TOC Style directly is a good idea if you know its name. Do it like this:

// update a particular TOC Style
var myTOCStyle = doc.tocStyles.itemByName('PD - TOC - 3');
if (myTOCStyle.isValid) {
    doc.createTOC(docTOCStyles[i], true);
}

- Mark 

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Participant , May 09, 2023 May 09, 2023

@m1b I did get the following to work:

var fobFile1 = app.open(File("ADD FILEPATH"));

fobFileName = fobFile1.fullName

fobFile1.close()

fobFile = app.open(fobFileName, false)

function updateTOC(){
    var doc = app.documents.item(0);
    var docTOC = doc.tocStyles.itemByName('PD - TOC - 3');
    myBook = app.activeBook;
    doc.createTOC(docTOC, true, myBook);
};

updateTOC();

fobFile.close()

Now I just have to figure out how to manage books in the background! 😅

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Participant ,
May 05, 2023 May 05, 2023

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I did find this stack overflow article from nearly 11 years ago: 

select / cut / pasteInto when window not visible

 

But I am hoping there is some way around this.

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Community Expert ,
May 05, 2023 May 05, 2023

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Hi @Ben Ross - KP, I think this will give you a way forward:

 

 

/**
 * Update all TOCs in document.
 * @discussion https://community.adobe.com/t5/indesign-discussions/how-to-update-indesign-toc-while-the-document-is-in-the-background-and-without-displaying-anything/m-p/13773925
 */
function main() {

    var doc = app.documents[0],
        docTOCStyles = doc.tocStyles;

    if (docTOCStyles.length == 0) {
        alert('Document ' + document.name + ' has no TOC Styles to update.');
        return;
    }

    for (var i = 0; i < docTOCStyles.length; i++) {

        // TOC Style must have at least one entry
        // but the default style, by default, does not
        if (docTOCStyles[i].tocStyleEntries.length > 0)
        doc.createTOC(docTOCStyles[i], true);

    }

} // end main

app.doScript(main, ScriptLanguage.JAVASCRIPT, undefined, UndoModes.ENTIRE_SCRIPT, 'Update All TOCs');

 

EDIT 2023-05-09: based on an issue reported by @25831189rjun, added a check to see that the TOC Style does have at least one TOCStyleEntry (which the default TOC Style won't have by default).

 

 

Calling the createTOC method of Document with an existing TOCStyle and replacing argument "true" will essentially update any TOC Stories in that TOCStyle. And because it doesn't use any UI it should work in hidden document.

- Mark

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Participant ,
May 08, 2023 May 08, 2023

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Thanks @m1b!, I'll give this a try. Though, I have found that activeDocument does not like to acknowledge background docs, I may be able to get around that using documents.item(0).

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Participant ,
May 08, 2023 May 08, 2023

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@m1b I am getting the follwoing error when I run that script:

25831189rjun_0-1683560133205.png

BTW, my first script worked as long as I didn't put the document in the background. SO I know the TOC element is there and can be updated.

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Community Expert ,
May 08, 2023 May 08, 2023

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Hi @Ben Ross - KP, for testing, can you try running the following script? It just sets up a better test. At least it will show you which TOCStyle is giving the error, hopefully.

 

 

/**
 * Update all TOCs in invisible document.
 * @discussion https://community.adobe.com/t5/indesign-discussions/how-to-update-indesign-toc-while-the-document-is-in-the-background-and-without-displaying-anything/m-p/13773925
 */
function main() {

    // to set up the test we'll start with
    // the active, visible, document
    var doc = app.activeDocument,
        docFile = doc.fullName;

    // and close it
    doc.close();

    // then open it, invisible
    doc = app.open(docFile, false);

    var docTOCStyles = doc.tocStyles;
    if (docTOCStyles.length == 0) {
        alert('Document ' + document.name + ' has no TOC Styles to update.');
        return;
    }

    // update each TOC Style
    for (var i = 0; i < docTOCStyles.length; i++) {

        // TOC Style must have at least one entry
        // but the default style, by default, does not
        if (docTOCStyles[i].tocStyleEntries.length > 0) {
            doc.createTOC(docTOCStyles[i], true);
        }

    }

    // now to check if updating worked:
    // close and save, and then open visibly
    doc.close(SaveOptions.YES);
    app.open(docFile, true);

} // end main

app.doScript(main, ScriptLanguage.JAVASCRIPT, undefined, UndoModes.ENTIRE_SCRIPT, 'Update All TOCs');

 

 

EDIT 2023-05-09: based on an issue reported by @Ben Ross - KP, added a check to see that the TOC Style does have at least one TOCStyleEntry (which the default TOC Style won't have by default).

 

You are right to use app.documents.item(0) when there is no window for a document—an invisble document is never the activeDocument so you can't reference it that way. You can also use app.documents.itemByName or some other method to get it. In the test script I am deliberately starting with the active document, to be sure of which document you are testing with.

 

As to the actual error you see, I couldn't reproduce it—it seems to imply that one of your TOCStyles doesn't have any entries. When I tried to create a TOCStyle with no entries it wouldn't let me:

Screenshot 2023-05-09 at 07.54.20.png

Can you try the test with a different document with a different TOC Style? See if it is something to do with the particular TOC Style in that one document?

- Mark

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Participant ,
May 08, 2023 May 08, 2023

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Hi @m1b 

I opened up the file with the TOC. Confirmed that manually updating worked, and then ran your script.

 

I got the following error:

25831189rjun_0-1683585414809.png

 

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Participant ,
May 08, 2023 May 08, 2023

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The script appears to be trying to update the default style and failing when that doesn't work, rather than trying the next style.

25831189rjun_0-1683586952633.png

 

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Participant ,
May 08, 2023 May 08, 2023

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Interestingly, if I update to "var i=1" the script runs without error. However, it updates using the default style instead of my defined style. 

 

Is there a good way to reference my custom TOC style?

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Community Expert ,
May 08, 2023 May 08, 2023

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Aaaah! That makes sense. In my test document I had already set up the default style and so I didn't see the error on any of my styles. Oops. Glad you got to the bottom of it. 🙂

 

Referencing the TOC Style directly is a good idea if you know its name. Do it like this:

// update a particular TOC Style
var myTOCStyle = doc.tocStyles.itemByName('PD - TOC - 3');
if (myTOCStyle.isValid) {
    doc.createTOC(docTOCStyles[i], true);
}

- Mark 

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Participant ,
May 09, 2023 May 09, 2023

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@m1b  Thank you for all your help on this!

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Participant ,
May 09, 2023 May 09, 2023

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@m1b When I run this updated version, I get the following error:

BenRossKP_0-1683645359398.png

 

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Participant ,
May 09, 2023 May 09, 2023

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@m1b I did get the following to work:

var fobFile1 = app.open(File("ADD FILEPATH"));

fobFileName = fobFile1.fullName

fobFile1.close()

fobFile = app.open(fobFileName, false)

function updateTOC(){
    var doc = app.documents.item(0);
    var docTOC = doc.tocStyles.itemByName('PD - TOC - 3');
    myBook = app.activeBook;
    doc.createTOC(docTOC, true, myBook);
};

updateTOC();

fobFile.close()

Now I just have to figure out how to manage books in the background! 😅

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Community Expert ,
May 10, 2023 May 10, 2023

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LATEST

Yeah, sorry, I mistyped tocStyleEntries as TOCStyleEntries. Fixed now. Thanks for letting me know. - Mark

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Community Expert ,
May 06, 2023 May 06, 2023

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@Ben Ross - KP -- In general you should avoid trying to do things via InDesign's menus when there are script functions available. Script functions are language-independent and are more robust.

 

 

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Participant ,
May 08, 2023 May 08, 2023

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Thank you @m1b and @Peter Kahrel@Peter Kahrel I am brand new to ID scripting and would welcome any additional guidance you can offer. I am still trying to figure out what script functions are available to me. I have downloaded the SDK and have found https://www.indesignjs.de/extendscriptAPI/indesign-latest/#Document.html to be a really useful reference, but it is not always easy to find what I need.

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Community Expert ,
May 08, 2023 May 08, 2023

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Forget about the SDK, that's no good to you.

 

it is not always easy to find what I need

 

That's something that battle-hardened veterans, too, continue to struggle with occasionally. Don't give up! Learning to script InDesign requires bloody-minded stubborness.

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Participant ,
May 08, 2023 May 08, 2023

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@Peter Kahrel  Any suggestions on where to look other than the SDK?

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Community Expert ,
May 08, 2023 May 08, 2023

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You mentioned  https://www.indesignjs.de/extendscriptAPI/indesign-latest/#Document.html, that would be most people's main reference.

 

What do you expect to find in the SDK? 

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