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In this series, David Blatner and Anne-Marie Concepción, co-hosts of the web's top resource for InDesign tips and tricks, InDesignSecrets.com, share some hidden and sometimes surprising workflow tips that will make working in InDesign more efficient and more fun. The course covers built-in timesaving features such as Quick Apply and auto-expanding text, but also little-known tricks, such as using the eyedropper to copy and paste character and paragraph text attributes and making accurate selections by selecting through or even into objects.
New techniques will be added to the collection every other week, so check back early and often. Find more tips and tricks at indesignsecrets.com.
Anne-Marie Concepcion > Ladies and gentlemen, has this ever happened to you? You're innocently typing? Let's say here I am, I want to enter the word "the." I type T and then I get distracted and I type EH. And then I type a space and go on, and then I realize that it has been misspelled but I don't realize it until 50,000 copies have been distributed. Wouldn't it be nice if you could have like a little correction following you along, correcting your commonly misspelled words as you type? Actually, you can in InDesign.
For many versions, at least since CS2, has had an autocorrect feature that for some reason has never been turned on. You have to know that it exists and that you need to turn it on. So to turn on autocorrection on a PC, go under the Edit menu > Preferences. If you're on a Mac go under the InDesign menu. And choose Autocorrect. Turn on Enable Autocorrect. Click OK. The end. Now you can type TEH and a period or a space or any kind of character that tells InDesign I'm done writing this word.
I'm not actually beginning a word that starts with TEH. And it will Autocorrect it. Not just matches that word, but that whole list that you might have seen briefly. Such as if I type separate with an E instead of an A, a very common misspelling. It corrects it as you go. It does not automatically correct all the existing misspellings, in case you're wondering. Now just turning on Autocorrect doesn't have it search throughout the entire document and fix all those misspellings. It's only the ones that you enter by hand from then on. It also does not apply to any text files that you place or import or paste into the InDesign document.
Only the ones that you actually type. Let's take another look at that preference. I'm going to press Control+K on my PC or if you're in a Mac press Command+K and we will go right to Autocorrect. So noticed it has the complete list of all the words that are part of its Autocorrect database and what they're going to change to. This is really nice. Like I know Word has an Autocorrect feature, but I've never been able to see the list. And you can select these items and actually remove them.
"This is how I like to spell accommodate!" Okay fine, remove it. You can also edit them and you can enter our own. So if for some very unusual reason InDesign did not include your commonly misspelled words in this list of hundreds, then go ahead and add it yourself. But what I really like is the ability to use Autocorrect for automatic text expansion. Basically it's looking to see which you enter as a pattern and then it changes it to something else. So let's say that you work at say the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
And that's a mouthful to have to always type out. You might want add that to Autocorrect. So I'm going to click Add. And then in the Correction is where you would enter what you want to expand to. So in other words here I would enter or paste in University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Notice you can't retain any formatting. Also there's a limit of 64 characters and you can not put in multiple lines.
If you try to type a return it'll get converted into space. Those are the roles for the Correction field. For the Misspelled Word field you can't have any kind of spaces at all. This is actually going to be your code, your shorthand, so you should not need to worry about that. In the Misspelled Word is where you say-- just pretend it doesn't say Misspelled Word. Think shorthand. So what would you like to be shorthand for this long thing? Maybe the initials. I'm going to just say UIC. It's okay if your pattern for your shorthand actually exists in many other words, because remember InDesign will not actually do the correction unless your pattern is the start of the word and then you end with a word ending character, like a space or a semicolon or a period.
So I'm just going to add that one. Click OK. And let's try it out. Let me hit Return here. And let's go right here. So for years Cortes always wanted to attend UIC, but never could pass the exam. There, isn't that cool? In case you're wondering, your autocorrections are saved in a special XML file on your hard drive.
On a Mac, it's in Library/ Adobe/InDesign, your version. Wherever you save like all your saved find/change queries and things like that. On a PC it's a little more difficult to locate. But if you can find My Settings in Roaming/Adobe/InDesign you'll see Autocorrect right here. And you won't see anything until you've actually added something to Autocorrect. Once you do, then you'll see it in your own folder and then you can use this and you can actually edit the XML. Just follow along with the existing structure to add your own words really fast and also it's a way to kind of sneak in characters that normally are not allowed.
We have more about that in AutoCorrect article on our blog, InDesignSecrets.com. But a lot of people want to know where is the Autocorrect list stored, and it's generated here as soon as you add even just one pair. So it's pretty big so it's the entire list. Also Autocorrect is a sticky setting. It is a setting that once you turn it on then it's on for all of your documents. So you don't need to worry about turning and with no documents open to make into an application preference and all that kind of hoo-ha. As soon as you turn it on, it stays on. And if it freaks you out, just remember to go turn it off right there in Preferences.
Autocorrect, InDesign's secret built-in auto-expand feature.
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