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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.
People usually think of the Table of Contents feature which lives down here at the bottom of the Layout menu as a way of making the Table of Contents for a book. And that's logical, of course, but I think a better name for this feature would be Make a List or Find the Paragraphs, because that's really what it does. It goes out and finds all of the paragraphs that are tagged with a certain paragraph style and it makes a list of them. It doesn't have to be chapter names or heading names, it could be anything. Sure, here in this catalog we have a table of contents based on Courses, but what if I wanted a Table of Contents of something else, like the names of the people in all the photographs? Could I do that? Well, you can as long as the text lives somewhere in the document, and in this case, I actually do have the text in the document, you just can't see it. Let me show you.
I'll go to the Layers menu and turn on my names layer, there it is. I have gone in and inserted all the names on top of their faces just so it associates the name with the face, and I have made sure that all of the text has the same Paragraph Style. The Paragraph Style is defined to really pop off the page in that bright red so that I can quickly see it and realize that it's not part of my actual design. It's just there to associate a name with a face. You can see I've done that throughout my document, so I'll press Option+Page Down or Alt+Page Down, and all of these people have names associated with them.
So once I have those names in there, how do I click them all up into a list? I'll go back to my first spread and I'll turn off the names layer because I don't really want to see those in the document, it's too ugly. So then I'll go to the Layout menu and choose Table of Contents. I am going to call my Table of Contents Featuring, but you can call it anything you want, and I am going to remove my Heading 1 and instead use the Paragraph Style that I used for those names, called NAMEofstudent.
Then I'll use the bottom half of my dialog box to specify how my content is going to look. If you don't see all these options, you have to click the More Options button over here on the right. I don't know why they hide them from you like that, it's really annoying. I like having them visible all of the time. I'm going to make the style TOC Body Text, I am going to sort it in Alphabetical Order because I want those names in alphabetical order, not chronological order, and I don't want to tab between the name and page number, and from this pop-up menu I am going to choose En Space.
It will just be the name, En Space, and then the page number. I am also going to make this a Run-in Table of Contents instead of a normal Table of Contents. Run-in means put everything in a single paragraph, just takes up less space. And most importantly, I am going to say Include Text on Hidden Layers. All those names are on a hidden layer, right? So I have to turn that on or else I won't get any names at all. The last thing I am going to do is turn off Replace Existing Table of Contents, otherwise it would wipe out my Table of Courses over here. I don't want that.
Now I'll click OK, and InDesign goes out, grabs all the names, and loads them into my place cursor so I can click and drag out a new text frame, and there it is. There is my list of names inside this document. As I said, this is a make a list feature. You could make a list of anything, it could be a list of advertisers in a magazine or pictures in a year book. You get to choose what it makes a list of as long as you have used Paragraph Styles consistently in your files.
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