Trouble with "mystery" page breaks in InDesign Redux

Explorer ,
Feb 11, 2022 Feb 11, 2022

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So, I have the same problem as a January 6, 2020 poster, "Trouble with "mystery" page breaks in InDesign," which was solved by Randy Hagan. I place a Word document into an InDesign Document, and every <cr> becomes a page break. Well, it certainly seems that his answer about going to Paragraph Styles and Keep Options and Start Paragraph Anywhere worked. At least it did two days ago when I tested it.

 

I am now working on the actual files, and the same behavior happened. I went into the Keep Options submenu and made the changes. But this time, it fixed only one <cr>, all the rest stayed as Start Paragraph on the next page. When I tested this, I KNOW that one or two fixes repaired the whole document because it seemed like magic after spending 30 minutes on chat with an Adobe Product Specialist who just kept repeating, "Word and InDesign are two different programs." 

 

This is a 450 pp document, and I will NOT do this same procedure 2-3,000 times to fix it. I must be missing something. I have reread the post; I have tried every possible combination I can think of (including selecting all and then trying it, but it won't let me change the start position for all the paragraphs).

 

Please tell me there is a way to fix the whole document with one to two Keep Options fixes.

 

Thanks.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 12, 2022 Feb 12, 2022

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If you can supply the file I can fix it for you. Not a problem.

 

One thing you could try is

Edit>Find/Change

Select the GREP tab

Insert a full stop like this .

 

Only that . in the find field

 

In the Change to Field

$0

 

And in the Change Format click the blank area

Find the keep options setting

 

You should look something like this

make sure the search; is for Document

EugeneTyson_0-1644655335249.png

 

 

But if you're issues - supply the file and I can take a look at it.

 

 

 

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Explorer ,
Feb 12, 2022 Feb 12, 2022

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I can try that also, thanks.

 

But I might have also found another fix. I kept playing around with it and tried changing things. I changed (approximately) the "Paragraph format look ahead" to "sentence format" (same Paragraph style pop out menu) and then did the Keep Options fix. I think that worked, but it was late, and I don't know if the resulting file was messed up for some reason. But I think it looked good.

 

thanks again.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 12, 2022 Feb 12, 2022

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Not quite the same thing, but Word often puts bizarre crypto-codes in content that has either been edited many times or perhaps edited by varying generations of the program. I recently worked with a massive Word file that had literally thousands of very strange tracking formats—a word would be squished into a blur. Search and replace with wildcards was (as so often) the answer... but compounding the problem was that there were... 20? 30? different codes, and a search was needed for each. I simply found the next one and did a find/change with those parameters, and it would fix some percentage of the flaws.

 

All of which is why I suggest to authors and contributors and anyone having trouble... clean up the Word file before importing it. Word has better search/replace for its own codes and formats and while the job can be tedious no matter how approached, bringing it into ID without any such flaws will speed most jobs along.

 

Saving the Word file to RTF and reopening can also do a lot of cleanup on a buggy Word file and eliminate downstream problems for ID.

 

But skillful use of search/replace (okay, find/change) is a powerful tool for these kinds of glitches.

 

|| Word & InDesign to Kindle (& EPUB): a Professional Guide (Amazon)

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Explorer ,
Feb 13, 2022 Feb 13, 2022

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That's interesting, NP, but would you mind listing these tracking codes? In all honesty, I avoid Word like the plague. My preference is LaTeX for anything where I care about the format. Sure, sometimes it can be tricky, but rarely is there a time when I can't make the final product look exactly like I want. Otherwise, I use Pages. It isn't perfect, but it usually doesn't get in my way. Then I export to Word, which generally produces either correct or very close output, without all the bizarre stuff that Word tends to add.

 

But sometimes, I have to work with Word, and knowing what I should be looking for when looking for these tracking formats you discuss would be very helpful.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 13, 2022 Feb 13, 2022

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I'd have to go find that horrible mangle of a manuscript doc. 🙂 They were typically 'tracking-12%' sort of things, but with dozens of different values that had to be determined and then S/R'ed.

 

I've used pretty much every writing tool there is. The best (Borland Sprint) went obsolete long ago, before the Windows era. I stay with Word because nothing else comes close to its overall power, especially when you factor in VBA.

 

That said, Word out of the box is a wretched, marketing-defined POS. You have to spend an hour on a new installation changing many default settings, stripping crap out of the menus and toolbars and adding a few VBA macros to make it an optimal tool.

 

The one thing Word is not good at, and never should be used for, is page layout. It's a writing/text management tool. Period. Tools like LaTex are great for the academic crowd that has to write complex stuff and have control of the layout, but I've found it better to keep writing in a writing tool and layout in a layout tool. For me, that's Word and ID, and has been for quite some time. No real challengers in either field. 🙂

 

|| Word & InDesign to Kindle (& EPUB): a Professional Guide (Amazon)

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Explorer ,
Feb 13, 2022 Feb 13, 2022

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Please don't go to any trouble; I was primarily curious.

 

As for LaTeX, you can use it for many things once you know it. I haven't written any fiction, but I have worked on all sorts of other materials using LaTeX and found it so flexible and easy to use. Most importantly, I call it What You Get Is What You Want, or WYGIWYW! But, it has a tremendously steep learning curve and is very rare in the US outside of academia. So your point is quite valid.

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 13, 2022 Feb 13, 2022

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Every craftsman has hir own tools. I don't argue such points unless someone is really using a screwdriver as a hammer. 🙂 And I often use ID (and used to use FrameMaker) for things like correspondence, so...

 

I was trying to remember exactly how I fixed the problem I described, which drove me crazy because even direct attempts to apply a "clean" format or remove a defined one failed. I finally created a character style called TIPMO (This Is P* Me Off). I selected each instance of hyper-squished text and updated the style, then used Find/Change to find each instance and change the style to None. For some reason, that worked, but as I said, there were 20-30 iterations of the broken style, caused by an ms that had been worked on for years and years.

 

|| Word & InDesign to Kindle (& EPUB): a Professional Guide (Amazon)

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Advocate ,
Feb 16, 2022 Feb 16, 2022

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I, too, loved Sprint and relied on it for many years, even using it in a Windows DOS box  as long as I could. Besides my own work and correspondence, I used it to lay out thousands of pages of scholarly material. I've always found the Emacs command set most "intuitive" for composing and editing text, though I've never gotten very far with EMACS itself. I keep meaning to see if I can use Brackets with Emacs key-bindings or perhaps Notepad++ with macros plus Markdown.

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Explorer ,
Feb 16, 2022 Feb 16, 2022

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EMACS is amazingly powerful, and I still use it for many things (Aquamacs, Mac only). I have even written my own extensions and environments. This all has to be done in Lisp, so there are LOTS of parentheses involved). For those that don't know Lisp, one of the things we used to do is write out a 50-100 character long Lisp statement and challenge people to figure out what it did. Yes, very weird.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 16, 2022 Feb 16, 2022

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Sprint was amazingly sophisticated and incorporated one primary feature that I've never seen duplicated by any other program: first, it was one of the first DOS apps to allow working on multiple files at one time, but mostly... you could shut it down in moments and it would preserve all open documents and every session setting, down to what was in the cut-and-paste buffers. I knew a (moderately famous) sf author who wrote several of his novels in it, and the ability to keep the entire workflow, session after session, was something he never stopped praising.

 

But like all Borland stuff, it died an ignominious death, without even, as far as I know, time spent being mangled by some other software company.

 

Never did get into using the various "markup" editors much; went the WYSIWYG route for other reasons. But Notepad++ is almost as great a treasure as Sprint. I just don't push it past text and code editing.

 

|| Word & InDesign to Kindle (& EPUB): a Professional Guide (Amazon)

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Explorer ,
Feb 16, 2022 Feb 16, 2022

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Well, I can't say that any answers "solved" the problem—but many sure helped,

 

So, here is what happened, and how I solved it...

Reminder: this all came from importing a large Word file.

1) Every single imported Paragraph Style had the same problem.

       a) Paragraph shading was set to black, so everything I assigned any imported Paragraph Style to was... black. Solution: turn off paragraph shading.

       b) Under Keep Options, every imported Paragraph Style had Start New Paragraphs set to "On Next Page." Solution: changed it to "Anywhere."

 

That fixed almost everything until I ran spell check, at which point many common words were getting flagged as misspelled. That took a while until I noticed that for some bizarre reason, several words (not Paragraph Styles and not even many consecutive words) were set to languages other than English (USA). I had random words in German, French, Italian, and Portuguese! 100s of words in each language.  Fortunately, a Find and Replace option took care of that pretty easily.

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Advocate ,
Feb 21, 2022 Feb 21, 2022

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LATEST

Sprint's exceptional reliability came from its "swap file," which operated in the background, saving modified sectors to the hard-disk every few seconds. This meant I could use a RAM-disk for work files, so the system was incredibly responsive (on a early 1990's 486SX running at perhaps 25 MHz).

 

More important for me was the fact that Sprint's printer drivers were accessible as plain text, editable in Sprint. The scholarly material I work with needs many non-ASCII characters. A bitmap font editor let me customize fonts for downloading to laser printers based on HP's PCL (Printer Control Language), and adjust the character widths in the driver for precise control over spacing. Sprint could also direct printer output to a *.prn file, which I could send on to the LaserJet after replacing the double-byte "Big-5" codes for Chinese characters with bitmaps enclosed in PCL image commands (in those days a high-quality Chinese "font" was simply an ordered collection of 13,000 bitmaps, 40x40 or 48x48).

 

Enough nostalgia, back to the problems at hand.

 

A preference in InDesign (Composition/Custom Tracking/Kerning) highlights screwy spacing, making it easy to find and fix in ID files. In setting type I often tweak kerning, and need to see where I've done so: I keep this preference enabled and my tweaks are highlighted in green. When I first import a *.docx I often find dozens of green patches. Usually all are for one or two spacing increments, and thus zappable with one or two search-and-replace operations. A simpler fix would be to enforce a paragraph style, but I like to step through them just in case any are associated with odd language attributions or character styles.

 

I often see bizarre language settings as well. Many seem to reflect copy-and-pasting from the WWW, sometimes continuing beyond the pasted text as if the author carried on typing. The issue is not benign because ID uses the language setting as the basis for hyphenating (assigning "No language" disables hyphenation). I am grateful to Jongware for an old JSX script for identifying all the languages used in an ID file:

//~ Jongware from <http://forums.adobe.com/message/3286528#3286528>
langList = [];
for (s=0; s<app.activeDocument.stories.length; s++)
{
 tr = app.activeDocument.stories[s].textStyleRanges;
 for (t=0; t<tr.length; t++)
 {
  if (!inArray (langList, tr[t].appliedLanguage.name))
   langList.push (tr[t].appliedLanguage.name);
 }
}
alert ("Number of languages: "+langList.length+"\r(And they are: "+langList.join(", ")+")");
function inArray (arr, item)
{
 var check;
 for (check=0; check<arr.length; check++)
  if (arr[check] == item)
   return true;
 return false;
}

I still use this on most files I import into ID, though it can be slow as it checks every character in every story. The URL in the first line is now defunct, apparently lost in a re-shuffling of Adobe's user forums (my JSX is time-stamped December 2011). I found pretty much the same code in a Jongware offering from 2010. Significantly, this finds all languages, not just those included on ID's official list ("languagesWithVendors"). The list omits Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, which I use daily. On InDesign Secrets, Jongware posted a slicker search-and-replace JSX for the language attribute based on the list, and he touches on all vs. listed farther down the thread. Note that when the thread was transferred to CreativePro the straight quotes got converted to curly, which of course needs undoing for the JSX to run.

 

Good luck!

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