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Master Pages Sorting

Participant ,
Jan 15, 2024 Jan 15, 2024

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I have a >1000pages Book (a catalog) composed by 12 ID documents. Each document uses approx 50 different Master Pages ("MP" in this post) while the whole Book has 200MP in total (some pages remain the same in all documents but some documents have peculiar MP). To keep the thing as ordered as possible, I have a separate (1 page) document named "MasterPages" that collects all the MP of the documents.

When checking the document I really miss an option that would allow me to alphabetically sort/order the MP of my documents. Checking 12 documents to find the different MP is quite frustrating and can introduce errors.

Why do I need so many MP? That's because I use a plugin that automatically paginates my documents... and it uses MP's guides.

I've searched deeply here in the Community and outside and the only partial help I've found is this script https://www.corullon.com.br/scripts/product/load-selected-master-pages/. Not really what I was looking for but at least helps a little allowing to pick a specific MP (much as moving styles among documents).

Looks like Master Pages section has not received any evolution recently. Can anybody help? Am I the only one to require (at least) an alphabetical sorting of the Master Pages section and a selective import/export option? Thank You.

 

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Feature request , How to , Import and export , Scripting

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Community Expert , Jan 16, 2024 Jan 16, 2024

OK, A bit "dirty" - but doable ...

 

You need to export your INDD file as IDML.

Add ".ZIP" as a new extension:

RobertTkaczyk_7-1705444504662.png

Extract file "designmap.xml" to a folder - can be on a Desktop or whatever:

RobertTkaczyk_0-1705444084640.png

Edit this file - by re-arranging order of the Masters - line numbers are not important:

RobertTkaczyk_1-1705444136735.png

(Edit it using "plain text" editor as a TEXT file, not as RTF so no extra "formatting" or encoding)

You can find names of the XML files in the MasterSpreads folder:

RobertTkaczyk_2-1705444184655.png

Each XML file

RobertTkaczyk_3-1705444257261.png

contains full description of the Master -

...

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Community Expert ,
Jan 15, 2024 Jan 15, 2024

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That sounds like something that would require a script. Perhaps someone has already created one.

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Participant ,
Jan 15, 2024 Jan 15, 2024

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I've googled "Sorting Master Pages in Indesign" (and it's declinations) but not much has emerged...

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Community Expert ,
Jan 15, 2024 Jan 15, 2024

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Alas, there is no sort parent pages alphabetically. But you can drag them into a sort order.

Even tho you mention that a plugin needs it; you should look for ways to simplify your project so as to have fewer parent pages. 

Mike Witherell

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Community Expert ,
Jan 15, 2024 Jan 15, 2024

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50 Parent pages per document? I doubt that it is design efficiently. What is the reason to have so many Parent Pages? What is the difference as you need so many?

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Community Expert ,
Jan 15, 2024 Jan 15, 2024

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There is no exposure to Parent Page sorting in the script DOM. You could, say, write a script that would add the Parent name to the slug or other nonprinting area of the page. I guess I'm failing to understand what it is you need to cross-reference or check between your master master doc and the other docs.

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Participant ,
Jan 16, 2024 Jan 16, 2024

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"There is no exposure to Parent Page sorting in the script DOM. " I'd like to understand better this statment. Parent to the slug ... doesn't sound a useful way. Basically I need a simple option to sort the Master Pages. Say you have (the "collector" Master Pages document with >100 names. Then you ADD a new master page. It will appear at the bottom of the list. You can drag and drop it in it's proper place...YES! But can you imagine a faster way? Drag and drop works well for a list of 10-20 pages. Beyond that is a little nightmare.

This sorting option/function will also be usefull to compare different documents... (but this post doesn't go that far).

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Community Expert ,
Jan 16, 2024 Jan 16, 2024

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A script can only pull levers that are there — sometimes evident ones matching user commands, sometimes deep ones within the code. The answer above says "There are no levers in Parent page order or sorting a script could use to perform the task."

 

Your only solution is an overall workflow that doesn't impose the extreme demand of dozens of Parent pages. But any time you have a complex production process defined by a committee with ignorant participants, you end up in a corner like this. Been there.


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

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Participant ,
Jan 16, 2024 Jan 16, 2024

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"There are no levers in Parent page order or sorting a script could use to perform the task."

Gosh, I'm so grateful that so many expert users provide so many opinions to the ignorant situation. Nevertheless when one drag&drops a master page in it's pannel...well I assume that makes an action and that somewhere some bytes are written. Where is that is beyond my knowledge, but I feel how delicate is this ...pannel. Thanks.

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Community Expert ,
Jan 16, 2024 Jan 16, 2024

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So even when you get a straightforward answer, you have to snarl at it? Okay.

 

For scripting to work, there has to be some way for the script to identify the element and then apply actions to it. There has to be a 'handle' in the code for a scripting command to grab onto. In some vast number of cases, there is — there is a specifically named and 'exposed' handle for something that might be normally controlled by a menu item or panel setting or user action, but can be 'grabbed' by a script and actions applied.

 

One expert says there is no such handle for Parent page elements. Another explains what the cryptic phrase meant. And you blow us off as somehow toying with you.

 

Okay.

 

Approach your ongoing crisis from this perspective, then: nine out of ten experts say fifty parent pages is an indicator of extremely poor planning and execution of even the most complex and lengthy document.


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

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Participant ,
Jan 16, 2024 Jan 16, 2024

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Didn't mean to offend and please accept my excuses. I am not a programmer but a regular user (both in my Company and outside) of Adobe's products. What I also ignore is how deep into Adobe's (Indesign's-in this case) Technical Dpt these "issues" or wishes go. You as an expert describe that there are no handles to achieve that with a script. I thank you again but still I say that: 1) I didn't ask for an opinion on this particular use of MP 2) maybe at a different programming level of Indesign's GUI, some changes to the Pages Panel could expand it's flexibility.

Finally if one reads carefully the main description, finds out that the total of MP used for the book is below 200, it is like having 20 MP in a 100 pages booklet. Nothing special. Now assume I don't want to throw away a page "template" that could be useful next year, I prefer to save it and output a pagination in an eye's blink if needed.This is why I have so many MP.

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Community Expert ,
Jan 17, 2024 Jan 17, 2024

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quote

Finally if one reads carefully the main description, finds out that the total of MP used for the book is below 200, it is like having 20 MP in a 100 pages booklet. Nothing special.

By @Gioyer07

That is hell more than usual. I have never designed a document with more than 6 parent pages. So your design is special. I won't judge if this is necessary, but my imagination is limited, and I think that you added a complexity to your document that is well over what normal documents will have. 

 

So something special. 

ABAMBO | Hard- and Software Engineer | Photographer

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Community Expert ,
Jan 17, 2024 Jan 17, 2024

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@Abambo

 

After the explanation provided by @Gioyer07 - I really don't see a problem in the number of MPs - but it's rather quite obvious and makes sense.

And probably to the earlier responders as well.

Unfortunately - we all - me as well - sometimes jump into conclusions too early... 

 

Let's say you've a book - with 20 chapters - so you could need 20x 1st pages, body pages and last pages = 60 Masters... At least... 

 

Yes, you could do it as a Book and 20x separate INDD files - but then you still need to keep the track of the differences - you rather can't use the same name of the color for "top banner" - as it might be quite dangerous, if you synchronise EVERYTHING in your Book by accident... 

 

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Community Expert ,
Jan 15, 2024 Jan 15, 2024

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Just to pile on, that's a lot of Parent pages, even for a very complex layout. You might want to move to more differentiation between Parent layouts and document-page-level features, to keep things simpler.


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

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Participant ,
Jan 16, 2024 Jan 16, 2024

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In respect of everyone, all of the answers are pointless for the request. Plugin is Easy Catalog and it is NOT mandatory to adopt that workflow. I picked it because there were two forces in the Company I work for: one requested total automation, the other total flexibility. So each product (>20K) has all the data and the catalog could be printed automatically from DB. Master pages de facto regulate a DB level (call it group if you prefer). So what I need is not an Alice's adventure, but a simple script that could order (the very logically choosen) names of my templates. Thanks for the attention.

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Community Expert ,
Jan 16, 2024 Jan 16, 2024

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You did not answer my qestion: What is the reason that you have so many masters? That is not normal. In most cases I have seen, the reason is in nearly all cases it is caused by inefficient document structure.

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Participant ,
Jan 16, 2024 Jan 16, 2024

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Thank you anyway.

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Community Expert ,
Jan 16, 2024 Jan 16, 2024

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Sounds like a pretty complex catalog with desirability for both automation and flexibility. The approach seems to work other than this hiccup. 

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Participant ,
Jan 17, 2024 Jan 17, 2024

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Let's look it simple: one can decide to automatically paginate 20K items with few, clean templates and apply some changes before sending to RIP. When speaking about it's project or "design", one may choose mainly how thick/dense your overall products presentation has to look like. My Head Office wants instead to be free to give more or less visibility to some products,  thus a totally automated workflow has also to be flexible enough to handle this request that is crucial to keep the number of pages of the printed catalog in a reasonable range.

I noticed the first question I get is "How many articles/items we need to show in the next page". The best place to answer to this question is to have a number of ready-made master pages that can hold any combination among 1 and (about) 30. Horrizontal, vertical and combined options are available. Once choosed the presentation, it's data (MPnames, sizes, positions* etc... ) are recorded within each item in the DB. If no changes occurs, it will paginate completely automatically in the following edition.

 

Coming down to numbers, it's about 20MP for 100pages or 200MP for 20K items. 

*[Every item of the db, also has for it's n-pictures, parametric data for size and position within it's frame (pardon within all the possible image frames)... but this is off-topic here]

 

I don't write this to say that it is the best possible workflow (it's just a matter of an internal evolution that lead to here) but to underline that Page Pannel has an enormous potential (I guess that Adobe's Managment knows this very well) and we all saw the "miracles" when fluid and responsive design were introduced here.

 

Now: immagine that your Master Pages has not fantasy names but has a logic-driven name system that allows to match exactly the needed page: (let's say I have 13 products and I want to use a fully horrizontal or vertical type of presentation). Well.... in this case, you will need to keep your MP list ordered. And this was precisely my request. Hereunder there's a solution... as stated by it's author a "dirty one". Better than nothing or a bunch of pointless opinions on the workflow, I marked it as a "correct answer". What I hope is that this post will be seen from Adobe's Indesign's Staff, as I wouldn't like to see a new Adobe's program or a Plugin, but an evolution of Page Pannel dropdown options. Be it with code "handlers" or somewhere in the GUI.  

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Community Expert ,
Jan 17, 2024 Jan 17, 2024

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quote

What I hope is that this post will be seen from Adobe's Indesign's Staff, as I wouldn't like to see a new Adobe's program or a Plugin, but an evolution of Page Pannel dropdown options. Be it with code "handlers" or somewhere in the GUI.  


By @Gioyer07

You will need to formulate this in https://indesign.uservoice.com if you want that to happen. The fora is the place to solve issues, but not to request modifications. At least not for InDesign. 

ABAMBO | Hard- and Software Engineer | Photographer

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Community Expert ,
Jan 16, 2024 Jan 16, 2024

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@Gioyer07 - quick question:

 

Do you need to sort those MPs "permanently" - or you just need a tool to navigate / compare MPs in multiple documents?

 

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Participant ,
Jan 16, 2024 Jan 16, 2024

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Permanently is correct. As I mentioned above, this is the basic step: once the goal is reached, any comparing tool (and maybe the ability to export a list) would be a ...gift. Thanks for your question.

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Community Expert ,
Jan 16, 2024 Jan 16, 2024

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OK, A bit "dirty" - but doable ...

 

You need to export your INDD file as IDML.

Add ".ZIP" as a new extension:

RobertTkaczyk_7-1705444504662.png

Extract file "designmap.xml" to a folder - can be on a Desktop or whatever:

RobertTkaczyk_0-1705444084640.png

Edit this file - by re-arranging order of the Masters - line numbers are not important:

RobertTkaczyk_1-1705444136735.png

(Edit it using "plain text" editor as a TEXT file, not as RTF so no extra "formatting" or encoding)

You can find names of the XML files in the MasterSpreads folder:

RobertTkaczyk_2-1705444184655.png

Each XML file

RobertTkaczyk_3-1705444257261.png

contains full description of the Master - including its name displayed on the Pages Panel:

RobertTkaczyk_4-1705444384329.png

After editing "designmap.xml" - put it back into ZIP package.

Remove ".ZIP" extension - open in InDesign.

 

Order BEFORE:

RobertTkaczyk_5-1705444443169.png

 

... and AFTER:

RobertTkaczyk_8-1705444624375.png

 

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Participant ,
Jan 16, 2024 Jan 16, 2024

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Simply and deeply,

Thank You

-----------

I've now tested your solution. Everything you wrote is true. I marked your answer as the Correct one but the workflow is much too time-expensive to be implemented. Moreover I'm not sure how to get back to the complete data of the *.indd format (the workaround of extracting the content of an *.indd file of course doesn't work). I've added a better description of my task above this post (in reply to "brianp311"), just in case it's of some interest for you. Thanks again for the clear instructions and your solution.

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Community Expert ,
Jan 17, 2024 Jan 17, 2024

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Thanks and you are welcome. 

 

Unfortunately, it's a workaround. 

 

It could be automated - IDML is just a ZIPed bunch of XML files - so it's not a big deal.

 

But as it requires IDMLing - is slow - so it all depends on how often you would have to do it... 

 

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