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Simplifying repetitive tasks with InDesign

Community Beginner ,
Aug 16, 2021 Aug 16, 2021

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I've been struggling to find a solution for this issue for years, here's the problem. I regularly process documents featuring tables containing thousands of rows. I spend a week inputting a set of commands to specific rows, bold text, coloured background etc. It all takes time. In Photoshop I can record actions and in one click the software will perform a range of tasks almost instantly. Can I record a series of tasks similarly in InDesign?

 

Looking forward to a solution!

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Adobe Community Professional , Aug 16, 2021 Aug 16, 2021
I'd suggest refining your auto-styling goals by researching table and cell styles first, just because it applies the moment you place/fill the tables. Anything you could do from there, and make the way you want, means you won't have to do any manual formattting — just plug in the data and play. Then I'd look at refining your paragraph/character styling, with special emphasis on nested styles. These are especially handy when you want to stick two or more stylings consistently inside a cell. One...

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 16, 2021 Aug 16, 2021

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Are you already working with styles for your rows?

 

Depending on your formatting requirements and variations, you may be able to at least format rows with a click or two ... or whole sections of your document ... with careful, considered creation of table styles, paragraph/character styles, and object styles.

 

This is more than worth reading in detail, even if you have been using these functions for a while, because extended capabilities for applying next styles and nested styles can really speed up table/directory/catalog production.

 

Hope this helps,

 

Randy

 

 

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 16, 2021 Aug 16, 2021

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Thanks, I will look at that closely.

I do use styles and set keyboard shortcuts to spped the process up. The combination of styles may be making this difficult, I am using Paragraph and Cell styles applied to the same row, then clearing overrides on the Cell style.

Cheers,

Denis.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 16, 2021 Aug 16, 2021

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I'd suggest refining your auto-styling goals by researching table and cell styles first, just because it applies the moment you place/fill the tables. Anything you could do from there, and make the way you want, means you won't have to do any manual formattting — just plug in the data and play.

 

Then I'd look at refining your paragraph/character styling, with special emphasis on nested styles. These are especially handy when you want to stick two or more stylings consistently inside a cell. One click to select the entry, then one click to select the approriate Paragraph and/or Character style and apply it.

 

After you get the first two types of styling set to your satisfaction, you may or may not find that object styles which incorporate your applied preferences are worth considering.

 

Good luck. Hoipefully this'll make life a lot easier for you.

 

Randy

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 16, 2021 Aug 16, 2021

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I echo Randy's suggestion regarding the use of Table Styles. They can cut the time required to format tables considerably. Unfortunately though his suggestion of using next styles doesn't work with table styles. You may also want to investigate some scripting options. It may cost you some money up front, but the time savings will be significant.

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 16, 2021 Aug 16, 2021

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Many thanks Chad, I will look at this too.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 17, 2021 Aug 17, 2021

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In addition to managing tables with styles, scripts can control lots of tables all at the same time. The late scripter Jongware wrote an excellent piece over at CreativePro that gives an entry level guide to managing tables with scripts: https://creativepro.com/tackling-tables-through-scripting/

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 17, 2021 Aug 17, 2021

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Many thanks Colin,

I will take a look at that. I can't help still thinking there is a need in InDesign for recording repetitive tasks as Actions do in Photoshop. Many clicks can be reduced to just one then.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 17, 2021 Aug 17, 2021

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Hi Meervaldo!,

if you want to repeat complex styles for e.g. tables see into Woodwing's SmartStyles plug-in for InDesign:

https://www.woodwing.com/en/smart-styles-adobe-indesign-plugin

 

Regards,
Uwe Laubender

( ACP )

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 17, 2021 Aug 17, 2021

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This third-party plugin could help you:

https://www.woodwing.com/en/smart-styles-adobe-indesign-plugin

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