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Find/Change Objects and Attributes in InDesign CS3

Published By: InDesignSecrets.com
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Among many ex­cit­ing new and im­proved fea­tures in InDesign CS3, the to­tal­ly re-imagined Find/Change func­tion is among my fa­vorite top five. The first time I opened the Find/Change di­a­log I was lit­er­al­ly stunned in­to si­lence (shut­ting me up is not an easy task). What about it could pos­si­bly si­lence, even for a mo­ment, this opin­ion­at­ed and pro­lif­i­cal­ly ver­bose ser­mo­niz­er of di­vine Creativity and Creative Efficiency? Only one thing: a new fea­ture of a prime cre­ative tool that can save hours, days, even weeks of man­u­al la­bor for thou­sands of my fel­low cre­atives. (Actually, there are two things, but I don’t think we should dis­cuss my fi­ancé in this par­tic­u­lar post.)

Tell me if any­thing about the fol­low­ing sce­nario sounds fa­mil­iar. You re­ceive (or cre­ate) a pub­li­ca­tion lay­out in an InDesign doc­u­ment. Let’s say there are 64 pages filled with text frames, placed as­sets in graph­ic frames, vec­tor ob­jects drawn with­in InDesign, and so on; many of those ob­jects have strokes, fill col­ors, blend­ing modes, opac­i­ty set­tings, text wraps, and maybe even new, CS3 Photoshop-like ef­fects. Unfortunately, many of those ob­jects are styled in­cor­rect­ly. Maybe the doc­u­ment was a team ef­fort and the work­group didn’t ad­here to a strict style guide, maybe every­thing was cor­rect, but the client re­quest­ed a sweep­ing change of some ob­ject for­mat­ting op­tion through­out doc­u­ment. Making changes should be easy if every af­fect­ed ob­ject was as­signed an Object Style, but rarely is every ob­ject in a lay­out giv­en an Object Style, even when cre­at­ed by the most fas­tid­i­ous of de­sign­ers. Faced with one or more ob­ject for­mat­ting changes across the en­tire doc­u­ment, you’re prob­a­bly al­ready reach­ing for the phone to can­cel your plans for the night, the week­end, and per­haps the next few week­ends.

Adobe cre­at­ed the new Object tab in InDesign CS3’s Find/Change di­a­log specif­i­cal­ly to save your week­ends and evenings. It en­ables you to re­place ob­ject for­mat­ting options?everything I men­tioned above and more?literally in sec­onds where­as do­ing it man­u­al­ly could take hours, days, or weeks. That, my friend, is what stilled my tongue.

Using Object Find/Change

Accessed from Edit > Find/Change, the new Find/Change di­a­log is a com­plete rewrite of the rel­a­tive­ly sim­ply text sub­sti­tu­tion ver­sion in CS2. The Text tab it­self has been vast­ly im­proved, and new GREP ex­pres­sion search and Glyph re­place­ment tabs have been added. Also new is the last tab, Object (see Figure 1). You can search in the cur­rent doc­u­ment or all opened doc­u­ments for just about any vi­su­al or struc­tur­al for­mat­ting at­tribute that can be ap­plied to any ob­ject, and, if de­sired, re­move or re­place that at­tribute with an­oth­er.

The new Find/Change dialog’s Object tab.

The new Find/Change dialog’s Object tab.

The ini­tial in­ter­face is fair­ly sim­ple and typ­i­cal of any text re­place­ment tool. You have fields for the search cri­te­ria, the re­place­ment cri­te­ria, and op­tions that ex­pand or re­fine the search. The Search drop­down menu of­fers two op­tions: find on­ly in the cur­rent doc­u­ment, or across all opened doc­u­ments, the lat­ter of which en­ables you to, say, re­place every­thing in an en­tire book. In the Type drop­down, you can choose to search on­ly on text frames, graph­ic frames, frames with unas­signed con­tent (e.g. vec­tor ob­jects drawn in InDesign), or across all frames. Beneath those, five tog­gle but­tons of­fer the abil­i­ty to in­clude in the search . . .

  • Locked lay­ers, but on­ly for Find, Change can’t touch the con­tents of locked lay­ers;
  • Locked sto­ries, al­so for Find on­ly;
  • Hidden lay­ers;
  • Master pages, and;
  • Footnotes.

Choosing the for­mat­ting op­tions to find and/or change from the magnifying-glass-over-frame but­ton is very much like choos­ing the op­tions for Object Styles (see Figure 2). Just pick the attribute(s) to search for, and the at­trib­ut­es to re­place, add, or re­move. Even if the ob­jects do have Object Styles as­signed, you can eas­i­ly re­place one Object Style with an­oth­er from the Style Options pane. Or choose at­trib­ut­es in Fill, Stroke, Stroke & Corner, Text Frame General Options, Text Frame Baseline Options (text base­lines are now in CS3 a per-frame at­tribute), Story Options, Text Wrap & Other (the Other be­ing a non­print­ing at­tribute), Anchored Object Options, and Frame Fitting Options. Beneath that, the Effects sec­tion mir­rors the new Photoshop-like attribute-level trans­paren­cy ef­fects, with the abil­i­ty to find opac­i­ty and blend­ing mode, drop shad­ow, in­ner shad­ow, out­er glow, in­ner glow, bev­el and em­boss, satin, ba­sic feath­er, di­rec­tion­al feath­er, and gra­di­ent feath­er on whole ob­jects or just their fills, strokes, or the text with­in them (in the case of text frames). Any at­tribute can be found and re­placed whole­sale or sim­ply refined?say, to al­ter the an­gle of drop shad­ows by 2-degrees.

Every object formatting option is open to replacement in the Object Format Options dialogs.

Every ob­ject for­mat­ting op­tion is open to re­place­ment in the Object Format Options di­alogs.

After choos­ing your op­tions, hit OK and then Find or Change All. Blink, and it’s done. Imagine what you can do with this pow­er! Alter ob­ject for­mat­ting across one or a hun­dred pages in one or a hun­dred doc­u­ments, with the click of a but­ton! I don’t know about you, but I’ve had to do that man­u­al­ly, one ob­ject, one page, at a time. Such man­u­al tasks are te­dious enough to make one con­tem­plate sepuku. With the InDesign CS3 Find/Change ob­ject for­mat­ting… Well, there isn’t even time to say sepuku. Not that I could say much of any­thing when I first tried it out.