Copying and Pasting Text in InDesign 2021 – what's the deal?

Community Beginner ,
Apr 07, 2021 Apr 07, 2021

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What's the deal with copying and pasting Text in InDesign 2021? Sometimes it keeps the format, sometimes it doesn't.

 

I'm talking *only* about copying and pasting selected text from one InDesign text box to another. Not about copying text boxes with the arrow tool. And not about copying from another application like PowerPoint, where I understand it doesn't keep the formatting.

 

I had a particular problem with links. If I copied a paragraph, it would copy the link, but not blue and underline formatting. Unless I just grabbed the link. Sometimes. It seems inconsistent and is really furstrating.

 

Similarly if I copy text from one text box to another, sometimes it keeps the copied text size, sometimes it keeps the target text size.

 

Note that Paste in Place doesn't seem to do anything different with text.

 

What's the rule here?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 07, 2021 Apr 07, 2021

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Is this happening within a document or when copying and pasting between documents? If the latter, this could be a result of using and editing the default Basic Paragraph style. This style is a trap and a feature that should never have been added. 

 

Basically, when you copy text from one document to another the formatting of the text is preserved. Copy 12 point Helvetica Bold, paste 12 point Helvetica Bold. But if you are using a paragraph style in the source document and there is a style with the same name in the target document then the style formatting takes precedence. Copy Subhead from one document and paste into a second document it comes in as Subhead, even if the formatting for those styles is different.

 

Since all InDesign files have a Basic Paragraph style you cannot delete and it is the default formatting for new text in new documents (unless you change it and you should change it) then most text copied from one document to another will honour the definition of Basic Paragraph in the target document. So if you edit Basic Paragraph then copy text either from that document or into that document that text may change formatting in unexpected and unwanted ways.

 

The solution is to remember three rules:

  1. Never use Basic Paragraph.
  2. Never base a style on Basic Paragraph.
  3. Never edit Basic Paragraph.

 

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Participant ,
Apr 07, 2021 Apr 07, 2021

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Great answer by @Scott Falkner ,

 

Something to also note is, if you have a paragraphy style with the same name in both documents, what happens is the copied text will update to the formating of that style in that document. Sometimes you'll find that it'll will bring the new style across sometimes it won't, this also could be because the [Basic Paragraph]+ style has been modified. This means the paragraph style has been modified so copying it across should bring the changes with it.

 

This is why Scott talks about the [Basic Paragraph] style being risky. It is a document defind style with a application level name (global).

 

If you want to safely copy across text and keep the formating:

  1. Select the text you want to copy
  2. Go to the Paragraph Styles pallete optons
  3. Go to Break link to style
  4. Copy
  5. Paste in new document
  6. (make sure to undo the breaklink afterwards if you want to keep the style connected to the paragraph)

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 08, 2021 Apr 08, 2021

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This is in the same document.

I copy some text from one box to another. It has a paragraph style (not Basic). Usually it doesn't change the styling. But every once in a blue moon it does. In this case, becaue there's a link, I want it to. How do I know which will happen?

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 08, 2021 Apr 08, 2021

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I should be clear. This is the **same document**. Sometimes it copies the formatting. Sometimes it doesn't.

 

I made a gif showing this:

Copy and Paste_1.gif

 

As far as I can tell, if you wait a while, it seems to copy the formatting on the first. But if you don't, it doesn't. It doesn't seem very consistent though, and I have no idea how long "a while" is.

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Participant ,
Apr 08, 2021 Apr 08, 2021

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Hello @Jeremy S ,

 

I tried to replicated this with no success.

A couple of things to lookout for:

  1. When you select the original paragraph it has a modified style to it Post copy header +, the plus means its been modified from its original style. Try applying or updating the actually style or unlink the style and see if you still get this issue. Even though the style has been modified it is still technically linked and if you're not using it properly can still be changed base on what you change in the style.
  2. You are using drag and select to replace a paragraph, If you see the the original copy you select is 14pt and if you paste the character pallette stills says 14pt. This is because you haven't totally replaced the paragraph that was there. This can created fromating issues. Use tripple clicking to select the whole paragraph and see if that helps.
  3. Is this a Hyperlink? Check your hyperlink pallette before pasting to see if there is a error there.

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