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Conditional text is a feature that allows you to make customized additions of a document by tagging text and then anchor graphics with conditions. Then you can show or hide conditions before you output to create the custom versions of your documents. For example, you could keep both a student and a teacher's edition of a textbook in a single file. Let's see how it works. You can find the Conditional Text panel under Window > Type & Tables > Conditional Text, and that opens this panel here. When you start out, the only condition in it is the default, Unconditional, which means that no condition has been applied.
All the text in this document right now is unconditional. You can use the panel menu to load conditions from other documents, or you can create them from scratch by clicking on the New Condition button at the bottom of the panel. Hold down the Command or Ctrl key when you click to get a dialog box where you can name the condition and set up the appearance of the Condition Indicator, which is a visual cue that shows you which condition has been applied to text. I'll name this one Extra Cheese, and I'll leave the indicators at their defaults.
Now I'll select all the text on this spread, and I'll apply the Extra Cheese condition by clicking in the little square to the right of the eye. And if I zoom in, I can see the Condition Indicator, that blue wavy line under all this text, telling me that it's in the Extra Cheese condition. If you find the indicators distracting, you can choose Hide from the Indicator menu, or you can show them or even show and print them.
I'll leave them on Show for now. Anytime after you've created a condition, you can modify the name in the indicator just by double-clicking on it. And if you hover your cursor over the square on the right-hand side, you can tell which indicator is used by the condition. There are columns on the left where you can show and hide different conditions, so if I click on the eye, I can hide all of the text in the Extra Cheese condition, or click on it again to show it. To remove a condition from text, first select the text--so I'll select this paragraph--and then click the box next to the condition.
Now all that text is unconditional again. But for now I want it to be on the Extra Cheese condition, so I'm going to click again and zoom out, so everything on this spread is now Extra Cheese condition. Now, it's important to note that you can apply conditions only to text, not to frames. Although you can make frames containing graphics, groups, and tables conditional by anchoring them in the text. And on these two pages, the photos here are anchored graphics, so that's why they appear and disappear when I show and hide the Extra Cheese condition.
If I had several conditions, I might consider creating a conditional set to manage the visibility of multiple conditions with a single click. Down here at the bottom of the menu I see Sets, and right now I have None, but I could create a new set from the Set menu. You can give the set a name and click OK and then pick it from the Set menu. For making custom versions of documents, you can combine conditional text with Smart Text Reflow so that your document expands or contracts to fit the amount of visible text.
So to set this up, I'll go to Preferences by pressing Command+K or Ctrl+K, and I'll go to my Type menu and confirm that Smart Text Reflow is on, and Limit to Master Text Frames is turned off. And I'll also turn on Delete Empty Pages and click OK. Now I'll zoom out so I can see the last few spreads of my document. So I was on the last spread. And then I'll click the eye to hide the Extra Cheese condition that I applied to that spread.
And you can see those two pages are now hidden; they're gone from the document. So if I click back in the panel, I can show the Extra Cheese condition and the pages come back. I could also go to the Pages panel and I can see that they've been added back here too. Here are two more things to note about conditional text. First, you can also use the Book panel to synchronize which text conditions are in your documents and which ones are visible. Second, you can use Find/ Change to quickly apply conditions.
This is good because you can't automatically apply conditions as part of a paragraph or character style. And one word of caution. When combining some of InDesign's long- document features, you have to take care when using things like index markers and cross-references with conditional text. If you hide a condition containing an index marker, that term won't appear in the index. Likewise, make sure that both the source and the destination of your cross-references are in the same condition; otherwise, the cross-reference will be broken when you hide one of the conditions.
Conditional text is great, especially in combination with Smart Text Reflow, because it allows you to combine several different versions of a document in one InDesign file.
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