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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: One of the most powerful and underutilized features of Adobe InDesign is GREP styles. I want to show you three cool GREP styles that everyone can do. This is really cool stuff. Let me show you. For example, you may have seen the word grep in Find Change, which it's been around in Find Change since I think CS2 or CS3, and GREP Find Change lets you find text based on a pattern. So instead of just a straight text you can actually say find any digits that's repeated a bunch of times or that you know falls at the beginning or end of a paragraph that kind of thing.
And with the GREP Find Change you cannot just find text based on that matching pattern, but then you can change it. You can add characters before or after, you can flip around parts of it, like you can changed cents to dollars or put the last name in front of a first name, and of course you can find based on format or change the format of found text. So that kind of GREP is slightly different than what I want to talk about, which is GREP Styles. Now GREP styles were added in CS4 and the GREP style lets you embed that Find what, that pattern within a paragraph style.
It does not let you change what is found, but it does let you apply a character style. So it's kind of like a hybrid between Find/Change GREP and a nested style, Or maybe you can think of it a nested style that's more intelligent. So let's take an example of the first very cool GREP Style that you can do. Here we have a paragraph. This one that starts with in a matter of weeks and this is a paragraph from a Hansel & Petal plant catalog. The company name is Hansel & Petal. And let's say that every time Hansel & Petal is mentioned we want it to be bold.
You could go to Find/Change and make it bold but then you would also have to say every time that Hansel & Petal lowercase or let's say it's also uppercase sometimes, so let's say we'll just add it right here, Hansel&Petal, and sometimes it is also separated by spaces. Hansel & Petal. Well that's a lot of Find/Changes that you'd have to do constantly and every time you edited something or before you send it to press or before you export it a PDF for the website, you'd have to always do the same Find/Change and look for these and apply the bold style.
Instead what you could do would be to edit the body style so that these automatically become bold. I am just going to double click, body, and go down to GREP Style and I want to add a new GREP style. You just need two things with the GREP style. You need to know what is the name of the character style that you are going to apply to the found text, that's this drop-down menu here, and if you forgot to create a character style, you have this wonderful little feature that let's you create one on the fly right here without having to back out of all these dialog boxes. But I did think about it first, so I want to make something bold. And then to the pattern.
Now it only suggests in a one or more digits. I don't know why it's there. It should just be blank in my opinion. But what we want to do is we want to apply the bold style to every time somebody rights Hansel & Petal and you can do that just by typing it in. No GREP code necessary, check this out. Hansel&Petal. Now as soon as you type it doesn't automatically happen. You have to click in the gray area to make it go into effect. So that worked on that one but it didn't work on this one or this one. So you think okay, fine, well I know how to do it now. I'll just add a new GREP style because there is no limit to the number of GREP Styles you can add to a paragraph style. Well there probably is. Maybe there's a million that you can, but I haven't tested it myself.
But instead of actually creating you know another GREP style that says well if they're uppercase and another one that says if there is space, you can combine them. You can be more efficient and save electrons by just editing this one and creating what we call an Or statement. So if the text says this or it starts with a capital H and a capital P, so the Or character is this pipe, it's called. It's the vertical line and it's the character in your keyboard right above the backslash. So it's Shift+Backslash. Let's do another one, Hansel & Petal.
So even though we are doing a GREP style, we're not using any particular GREP code, just straight text. So didn't I tell you? It's a cool GREP code that anyone can do. Click in the gray area and notice that they all become bold automatically. So now you don't have to worry about it. Whether the text is existing or you're typing it on the fly or you're flowing it into a document, as soon as you apply this paragraph style called body, all of these instances will become bold or of course you know you could've applied any other kind of character style to any other kind of pattern that you're looking for.
So keep that in mind. Here's an easy one for anybody, that anybody can use a GREP style based on matching text and variations of that separated by this pipe. Let's look at another example. I am going to zoom out and go up here to this paragraph. Let's zoom in a bit. Here we have an example of a paragraph with a fraction in it. And normally when I see this fraction I would want to select it and apply the Fraction character style. But what a pain, right. Can't we just make the Fraction style part of the paragraph definition? So this paragraph style is Section Blurb. If I come down here to Section Blurb and under open type features I turn on Fractions, watch what happens.
It does apply the formatting correctly to this two thirds, but look what has happened to the other punctuation. This comma moved up, this period moved up. Some OpenType fonts are not as smart as others. And when you turn on use fraction glyphs for the paragraph style it applies the Fraction style to anything it thinks could be a numerator, like periods and commas and so on. So instead you're supposed to apply the fraction one by one to the actual fractions. Oh, that's pain. So let's turn that off and instead we're going to go right to GREP Style, and it's still using the Hansel & Petal but we're going to add another one here and we're going to apply the style called Fraction to a fraction.
I am just going to do a very simple fraction here. So we want one or more numbers, right. That's what that means. The slash indeed means any digits and the plus symbol means one and more times followed by a slash and then the same thing, one and more numbers, right. So that's \d+. Click in the gray area. I have preview box turned on and we can see that two thirds is now formatted correctly, but the commas and periods have stayed in place. So that's two GREP styles that anyone can use and now let's do another one. This one is lot of fun.
This one can search for anything in between quotes and apply a character style to the entire phrase including the quotes. That can come in handy lots of times. Let's test it out. Let's say many plants cannot compete well in a border. We'll surround that with quotes and now we're going to edit section blurb again and down here under GREP Style I'm going to add a new GREP style that applies the style let's say italic to� And now how do you say anything in between quotes? Well luckily you can just start out by saying opening quotes. It doesn't make any difference if it's curly or straight. And then any character is .+?", right.
Click in the gray area. Tada! So we can type stuff and quotes. So let's say soil type, freshness of the water, or we can just go ahead and add quotes anywhere that we want and it automatically gets that character style applied because we added it as a GREP Style. So it's just been a few minutes and now you know three cool GREP styles that you can start applying to your projects today.
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