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InDesign CS4 Beyond the Basics

Linking to text files on disk


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InDesign CS4 Beyond the Basics

with David Blatner

Video: Linking to text files on disk

You know how when you import an image, InDesign links to that file on disk, right and then when the image changes you can update InDesign and it re-imports the graphic. Now wouldn't it be cool if you could do the same thing with text files? And the answer to that question is you can do it, but whether or not it's cool depends on your workflow. Here I have a document opened in Microsoft Word. It's an rtf file and you can see that I have applied paragraph styles to each one of these paragraphs. Here is the bullet styles, here is the subhead style, here is the Body style and so on. Now let's go ahead and import that into InDesign linking to this original file.
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  1. 2m 11s
    1. Welcome
      1m 3s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 8s
  2. 25m 16s
    1. Reviewing Control panel shortcuts
      8m 34s
    2. Managing panels
      6m 14s
    3. Letting InDesign do the math
      2m 52s
    4. Using Selection tool clicks
      1m 39s
    5. Using Quick Apply shortcuts
      3m 2s
    6. Setting up context shortcuts
      2m 55s
  3. 23m 51s
    1. Using column guides
      3m 42s
    2. Formatting and positioning guides
      5m 15s
    3. Setting first baseline options
      5m 30s
    4. Using the Document grid
      3m 13s
    5. Setting bleeds
      3m 3s
    6. Using slugs
      3m 8s
  4. 48m 2s
    1. Shuffling pages (or not)
      2m 47s
    2. Scaling objects to a specific size
      2m 32s
    3. Aligning objects to a page
      4m 41s
    4. Using advanced libraries
      4m 5s
    5. Using advanced anchored objects
      11m 21s
    6. Setting non-printing objects
      3m 10s
    7. Creating notes
      5m 23s
    8. Using Data Merge
      10m 41s
    9. Creating templates
      3m 22s
  5. 39m 32s
    1. Creating polygons and starbursts
      2m 35s
    2. Setting custom stroke styles
      5m 15s
    3. Using advanced effects
      8m 46s
    4. Making masks in InDesign
      4m 10s
    5. Integrating InDesign and Illustrator
      4m 59s
    6. Setting compound paths
      5m 4s
    7. Using advanced clipping paths
      6m 6s
    8. Using advanced image transparency
      2m 37s
  6. 55m 26s
    1. Using advanced text formatting
      5m 37s
    2. Using other languages
      4m 22s
    3. Setting advanced paragraph numbering
      3m 12s
    4. Using GREP to find/change
      6m 54s
    5. Managing glyphs
      5m 6s
    6. Finding and changing glyphs
      2m 39s
    7. Adding footnotes
      7m 57s
    8. Creating outlines
      3m 39s
    9. Setting conditional text
      9m 16s
    10. Creating cross-references
      6m 44s
  7. 33m 3s
    1. Advanced text importing
      7m 49s
    2. Using Apply Next Style
      5m 4s
    3. Advanced text styling
      6m 9s
    4. Setting load styles
      2m 58s
    5. Linking to text files on disk
      4m 1s
    6. Understanding GREP styles
      7m 2s
  8. 1h 4m
    1. Building a multi-document book
      4m 42s
    2. Setting page numbering across books
      7m 53s
    3. Setting chapter numbering
      6m 7s
    4. Using the Section Marker feature
      6m 53s
    5. Creating "Continued On..." numbers
      4m 44s
    6. Synchronizing documents in a book
      5m 41s
    7. Creating a table of contents
      11m 24s
    8. Indexing documents
      7m 24s
    9. Generating an index
      6m 47s
    10. Printing or exporting a book
      3m 10s
  9. 46m 4s
    1. Creating hyperlinks
      12m 53s
    2. Setting bookmarks
      6m 7s
    3. Creating buttons
      11m 16s
    4. Making movies
      8m 24s
    5. Creating sounds
      4m 51s
    6. Setting page transitions
      2m 33s
  10. 25m 59s
    1. Setting up swatch and style defaults
      3m 24s
    2. Using mixed ink colors
      6m 16s
    3. Working with duotones
      4m 23s
    4. Overprinting
      2m 10s
    5. Ink aliasing
      4m 50s
    6. Using the Kuler panel
      4m 56s
  11. 50m 27s
    1. Creating the transparency blend space
      4m 6s
    2. Understanding InDesign color settings
      9m 8s
    3. Assign Profile and Convert to Profile
      3m 26s
    4. Working with RGB images
      7m 54s
    5. Working with CMYK images
      6m 28s
    6. Soft-proofing
      5m 18s
    7. Managing color at print time
      7m 25s
    8. Managing color in a PDF export
      6m 42s
  12. 42m 1s
    1. Embedding preflight profiles
      5m 1s
    2. Using the Transparency Flattener preview
      3m 23s
    3. Reviewing Transparency Flattener settings
      6m 30s
    4. Setting print presets
      3m 35s
    5. Setting PDF presets
      3m 21s
    6. Exporting to XHTML
      7m 42s
    7. Exporting to SWF
      6m 45s
    8. Exporting to XFL
      5m 44s
  13. 25m 58s
    1. Understanding XML and InDesign
      6m 51s
    2. Structuring InDesign content
      4m 17s
    3. Importing XML
      6m 57s
    4. Exporting to XML
      7m 53s
  14. 34s
    1. Goodbye
      34s

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InDesign CS4 Beyond the Basics
8h 3m Intermediate Dec 05, 2008

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

David Blatner brings his knowledge of and passion for InDesign to the latest release of this state-of-the-art publishing program, showing how to harness its power and functionality. InDesign CS4 Beyond the Basics covers the process of publishing with an eye on the program's latest nuances: optimizing page layouts, automating InDesign with Data Merge and XML, exploring interactive documents (including making movies), and exporting publications to a variety of formats. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Automating with Data Merge and XML
  • Optimizing page layouts
  • Using advanced effects
  • Creating interactive documents
  • Integrating with Illustrator
Subject:
Design
Software:
InDesign
Author:
David Blatner

Linking to text files on disk

You know how when you import an image, InDesign links to that file on disk, right and then when the image changes you can update InDesign and it re-imports the graphic. Now wouldn't it be cool if you could do the same thing with text files? And the answer to that question is you can do it, but whether or not it's cool depends on your workflow. Here I have a document opened in Microsoft Word. It's an rtf file and you can see that I have applied paragraph styles to each one of these paragraphs. Here is the bullet styles, here is the subhead style, here is the Body style and so on. Now let's go ahead and import that into InDesign linking to this original file.

I will switch to InDesign and I will place my cursor in the frame that I want to import the text file. Normally as you know InDesign doesn't link to the file, so I need to change a preference in order to make it link. So let's open the Preferences dialog box. Command+K on the Mac, or Ctrl+K on Windows, then I will click on the File Handling pane and I am going to turn on this checkbox. Create Links When Placing Text and Spreadsheet Files. When I click OK, InDesign will now behave differently. So if I import that text file, I am pressing Command+D or Ctrl+D on Windows, choosing the rtf file and clicking Open. Now, if I look in the Links panel, you see that it shows up right there.

There is the rtf file; there is the file that was in Word. We have linked to it. Let's test it out. I am going to switch back to Word and change something here. Maybe I will change this number 50 to let's say 1,000, okay. And I press Save, Command+S or Ctrl+S on Windows, jump back to InDesign. We will see that we get an icon now saying something what has been updated and I better zoom in here to see if this is going to work. I am going to go to 400%, Command+4 or Ctrl+4 on Windows and I'll see that right now that 50 is supposed to be 1,000. Let's see if it will work when I update my link. Down at the bottom lower Links panel, I click on the Update button and it imported the whole new thing. Now it jumped me to the end of the story. You see the cursor is actually at the end of the story. So let me zoom back with my power zoom mode, come back over here and zoom back in to where I was looking. There you go. There is the 1,000. So I updated it and the Links panel shows me a little green check mark saying this is now synced, it's up to date. So this is great, right? We could all of our text files on our hard drive and then we could link to them from our InDesign files, everything is up-to-date and everything is happy, right? Well, there is one problem and it's an important problem and that is this only works if I don't make any changes to the text in InDesign and when I say no changes, I mean no changes. That means I can't go in here and change a word, maybe change this 15 instead and I can't go even here and apply italics. I just did a Command+Shift+I or Ctrl+Shift+I on this word 'phone' and that applied a change to this story. As soon you make it change, the linking stops working.

It is linked here in the Links panel, but -- well, let me show you what I mean. Let me go back to Word, make some other change. Maybe I will change this from 20 to 40 and then save it, come back to InDesign. We see that it's updated, so I better click the Update button and look what happens. InDesign says Edits have been made to the imported version. In other words, I made some changes. It saw that I changed this number and it saw that I changed this formatting. So you will loose these edits if you update. That's the big problem. If you make any changes at all, even little formatting changes, they will get lost as soon as you update. Let's go ahead and click Yes, it takes us all the way end of the story again. We will zoom back and zoom in one more time and we can see that yes indeed, all those changes that I made are lost.

So linking to text files on disk is a great idea, but loosing the local formatting and edits you have made is a bad thing. On the other hand, if you don't do edits inside InDesign and you can make the style names match up properly, then this whole linking thing could be a big efficiency boost for you.

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