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What if you want to export a story? That is, all the text inside of a frame, or a bunch of text frames that are threaded together. The trick is to place the text cursor inside the frame before you choose Export from the File menu. I'll double-click on this text frame, and you can see the text cursor just flashing in there. You don't want to select the text in there, or else you only be exporting what you select. If you want to get all the text, then make sure it's flashing. Now we'll export this text by going to the File menu, and choosing Export, and I have two different options for exporting my text.
In the Format pop-up menu, I can choose Text Only, or Rich Text Format. Text Only is a great way to get your text with no formatting at all. It just strips out all the fonts, and size, and all of that; you just get the text. But Rich Text Format, otherwise known as RTF, is a format that many Word processors know how to read. So you can export an RTF file, and then open it in Microsoft Word. There actually is one other text formatting option here at the very top: Adobe InDesign Tag Text.
Tag Text is a good format, but only InDesign can read it. This might be useful if you're trying to export text out of one InDesign file, and import it into a different InDesign file. Tag Text always remembers all formatting, it actually remembers far more than RTF, because it remembers everything that InDesign knows how to format; all the special text formatting that programs like Microsoft Word don't know how to deal with. I'll go ahead and export this as an RTF file. It's as simple as choosing Rich Text Format from this pop-up menu, and then click and Save.
Now remember, only the story in which my cursor is flashing is going to be exported. There are times that you want to export all the stories from your document. In order to do that, you need to use a special InDesign script. What I'm going to do is go to the Window menu, choose Utilities, and then choose Scripts. That opens the Scripts panel, and inside the Scripts panel are all the scripts that ship with InDesign. I'm going to look inside the Application folder by clicking on this twirly triangle, and inside, we'll see a folder called Samples.
I better put that into a new folder. I'll click Create, then click Open, and now it went through the entire document, and exported all the stories out to that folder. This script is very efficient, but it doesn't give you much control. So I do want to point out that if you need a lot of control, if you had to export documents a lot, I would recommend looking into a plug-in called Rorohiko TextExporter, which you can find at rorohiko.com/textexporter. TextExporter is an awesome plugin that'll help you export all your stories with a lot of control.
Now, of course, while all of these file formats have their pros and cons, sometimes the best and fastest way to get some text out of InDesign is just the simplest: copy it, and paste it into another program.
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