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Author David Blatner provides in-depth training on InDesign CS5, the print and interactive page layout application from Adobe, 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.
When I am working on designing or laying out a document, I don't want to be bothered by mind numbing tasks. For example, can you imagine working on a big document and then your client or your art director says something like, Hey, can you make all of these gray lines green? This kind of thing would make me scream. If I didn't have a Find/ Change feature to do it for me. But I do and it lives just where you'd expect, in the Find/Change dialog box. I'll go to the Edit menu, choose Find/ Change and here in the Text tab of the Find/Change dialog box, I can find and change text and text formatting.
I don't want that, I want Object Formatting. So I am going to click on the Object tab and now I can dial in exactly what I want to find and exactly what I want to change it to. To change those values I can click anywhere inside this little blank area. I could also click on that little tiny button if you want to, but basically I just click anywhere in this blank area and up comes the Find Object Formatting Options dialog box. Now I can choose just about any kind of object formatting that you could imagine in here. But in this case, I simply want to start with, I am going to look for a gray stroke.
So I am going to choose Gray out of my list of color swatches here and it loads it in as my swatch here and then click OK. To change it to something different, I click anywhere in the blank area down here, up comes the Change Object Format Options dialog box and I can tell it what I wanted to change to. it's finding anything with a gray stroke and it's going to replace it with, in this case something with a dark green stroke. Now I can also specify other formatting other than stroke here. For example, I could say make it 50% Tint or perhaps come over here and apply a different Fill to all of these objects as well.
But in this case, I don't wanted to do those things, I just wanted to change the color of the stroke. So I'm going to deselect those things by here choosing Any Swatch and that sets it back this Question Mark icon and I'll go back to Stroke and I'll remove 50% simply by deleting it. Now it's blank, so it means don't change it. I click OK and you can see that the Find/Change dialog box now lists exactly what's going to happen. Find everything that has stroke color of gray and Change it to a stroke color of dark green.
Of course, InDesign gives me even more controls than that. I could tell it what to search. For example, here it's going to search just this Document. If I change it to All Documents, it'll search and replace in all open documents. In this case, I just wanted to change this one document. I can also determine which kind of objects should it search for, All Frames or just Text Frames, Graphic Frames or Unassigned Frames. I am going to tell it to search for everything. And then finally, I want to pay attention to these little buttons along the bottom. I always have to place my cursor over them so I can get that little tool-tip to figure out what those things mean.
This one here means Include Master Pages, and that is something I want to do because I happen to know that on my master page I have some of those gray objects. So I am going to have that one on. Let's go try it out. I'll click Change All and it goes through and it says it found 14 objects and it made 14 replacements. Sounds great. When I click OK, you can see that all of those gray lines are now green. Now if I also want to go back and change the object that have gray fills to green, I would have to do that as a second Find/Change operation.
So I'll click up here. I'll say, I don't care what kind of stroke it is, but I do care about what kind of Fill. I want it to be a gray fill, click OK, come down here and change the Object Formatting. I don't care about the Stroke, so I am going to set that to Any Swatch. I am just clicking in this little icon up here, and you can see that that changes the pane that I'm looking at, just a little shortcut there. I am going to make this be dark green as well, so I'm filling with dark green. Click OK, and you can see that it is filling, it's finding Object Format with a fill color of gray and change Object Format with -- Oh! My Goodness, I changed all kinds of stuff in here, something must have gone terribly wrong.
Well, I can clear all of this out by clicking on the little Trashcan icon here, that I want to start over from scratch. So I cleared that out and I'll try one more time, Fill with dark green. Now it's going to find gray, replace with dark green, only fills, All Frames on Master Pages. Try it out. 78 objects found and replaced, I love that feature. I happened to know a bunch of the people on the InDesign engineering team and they all say the same thing.
Their aim is take these mind numbing painful tasks and make them easy and automated, so you can focus on what you do best, making great looking pages. This Find/Change feature is a great example of how they are succeeding.
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