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Author David Blatner provides in-depth training on InDesign CS5, Adobe's print and interactive page layout application, in InDesign CS5 Essential Training. The course shows how to create new documents with strong and flexible master pages, precisely position text and graphics, prepare documents for print, and export designs as interactive PDF or Flash SWF files. Exercise files are included with the course.
One of the most common tasks in InDesign is importing a text or RTF file often from Microsoft Word. And one of the main problems that occur when people do this is that the folks using Word or some other word processor added some formatting that you want to keep as well as a bunch of formatting that you want to get rid of. For example, I'm going to go to the File menu, choose Place and pick this RTF file. This was saved out of Microsoft Word. I'll click Open and I'm going to place it inside this frame here. It threads through all the frames just the way I want, but I can see quickly because I know my template that this looks wrong, totally wrong.
Let's zoom on this little bit. It looks like the font is wrong, the size is wrong, all kinds of things are wrong. In fact, if I open my Paragraph Styles panel and double-click on some text to switch to the Type tool, I can see that wherever I click, I get a plus sign. It says plus there, says plus down here. Now I know that the plus sign means there is local overrides on top of the paragraph style. I want to strip all of that away. To do that, I'm going to select all the text, Command+A, or Ctrl+A on Windows, and I'm going to come down here and click on this Remove Overrides, the Clear Overrides button at the bottom of the Paragraph Styles panel.
But before I do that, I want to point one thing out to you. Look at this text here. "City by the Bay" is in italic. All right! Now the author made that italic on purpose and I better keep it italic or else I'm going to be in trouble. So what happens when I clear the overrides? Well, it looks a lot better. Let me deselect here, so we can see the text better, but the words, "City by the Bay" are no longer italic. Bad news, so I'm in trouble. I have to be able to remove some of the local overrides, but not the italics. How can I do that? Well, there is a trick.
So I'm going to undo this with a Command+Z or Ctrl+Z on Windows and I'll show you what to do. In order to keep some of my overrides, in this case the italic words, I'm going to need a character style. So, I'm going to deselect everything with a Command+Shift+A or Ctrl+Shift+A on Windows, click on Character Styles, and create a brand new character style. I deselected everything so that I wouldn't get any of that local formatting sucked up here into this dialog box. Now I'm going to make my own new character style called italic.
You can call it anything you want. And I'm going to make it apply the italic format. That's all it's going to do. Let me check General. I'll make sure that that's all it's going to do. It's simply going to apply the italic Style to anything that I apply this character style to. I'm going to make sure that Apply Style to Selection is turned off, because nothing is selected on my page. If I had this checkbox on, then this style would become my new default style for the document. That would be bad. So, I'm going to click OK and we can see that we're still set to None. That's good.
So now I need to apply that character style to any text that I want to stay italic. So I'll drag over these words here and I'll click italic, there we go. InDesign has now applied the italic character style to this, not just the local italic formatting. And that's not difficult to do, but if I had a long story and a lot of different words that were italic, this would get tedious pretty quickly. So I need a way to automate that conversion and I could do that with a Find/Change dialog box. I'll press Command+F or Ctrl+F on Windows to open Find/Change and because I'm only replacing formatting, I'm going to leave the Find what and Change to fields blank.
I'm not changing any text at all. I just want to pay attention to the two fields down here. I'll click in the Find Format field and I'm going to tell InDesign to search for anything that has local italic formatting. There we go. I just type italic in here. Click OK and we can see that it shows up. Now I'm going to click in the Change Format field and I'm going to say wherever it found the local italic formatting, make sure you apply my character style italic. That's the one I just created. Click OK, click Change All, and it says that I only have one replacement made.
Well, I know there is more italic words than that in this document. So let me click OK. Oh, I see the problem. The Search pop-up menu was set to Selection. That means that it was only changing this one selection. That was silly. Let's go ahead and try another one, setting this to Document. Now it is going to find all these words that are in italic throughout the entire document. Change All and it found eight of them. There we go, that's much better. Click OK, click Done, and I'm now ready to strip out all the local formatting, except for the stuff that is italic character style.
Let's try Command+A or Ctrl+A on Windows. It selects all the story. Go to do Paragraph Styles panel, click Clear Overrides, and check it out, there we go. All the local formatting has been removed except for the words that were in that character style. Almost every one spends too much time cleaning up imported text. It's a perpetual problem, but this basic workflow of creating and applying character styles, then clearing all the overrides, usually goes a long way to getting the job done.
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