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Placing and cleaning up text

From: Designing a Restaurant Menu

Video: Placing and cleaning up text

I've saved my ongoing work as menu_ insert1, and by the way, I'm working in the Typography workspace, if you want to use the same workspace as me. I'm now going to place the text: Command+D or Control+D, File > Place, and this is the one I'm after. It's just called menu. There is a strong likelihood that when I place this text, I'm going to find, in the text file, lots of information that is superfluous to what we need. There maybe extra formatting, most likely though, there is going to be extra spacing, particularly extra paragraph marks, extra word spaces; there may be extra tabs. We want to strip all of that stuff out. We just want pure, plain vanilla text.

Placing and cleaning up text

I've saved my ongoing work as menu_ insert1, and by the way, I'm working in the Typography workspace, if you want to use the same workspace as me. I'm now going to place the text: Command+D or Control+D, File > Place, and this is the one I'm after. It's just called menu. There is a strong likelihood that when I place this text, I'm going to find, in the text file, lots of information that is superfluous to what we need. There maybe extra formatting, most likely though, there is going to be extra spacing, particularly extra paragraph marks, extra word spaces; there may be extra tabs. We want to strip all of that stuff out. We just want pure, plain vanilla text.

So just to help me here, I'm going to choose Show Import Options, which gives me the option of stripping out any formatting. Now, I happen to know that in this text file, there isn't any formatting, but there is a strong likelihood, if you're working on similar project, that there will be. I can choose Show Import Options; most of the time, you don't need this option on. When you check it, you find that you've got it on by mistake, so rather than checking that, I'm going to hold down the Shift key, which has the function of showing my import options. And my import options are these, and this is the one I'm interested in.

I want to remove the styles and formatting from text and tables; click OK. So now all we have is plain text, and I'm just going to dump this text on my page. I have a two column layout. As I mentioned earlier, we're just going to be using one of these two columns per page, but for now, I'm going to auto flow my text, so we get all the text laid out on the pages. Shift+Click; that's how it looks. Now, very importantly, I'm going to come to show my Hidden Characters, where we see we've got lots of extra stuff that we don't want; all of these extra paragraph marks.

The clear formatting gets rid of any bolding, or italicizing, or different colors, or different font sizes, but it doesn't get rid of the extra spacing. Also, we have some tabs; maybe we need some tabs to separate the item from the price, so I think we'll leave those for the time being, but I do want to strip out the extra paragraphs marks. There are a couple of quick ways in which we can do this. One way is to use a script. I'm going to show you where this is; Scripts panel, expand your application folder; you'll need to do this the first time you use your scripts.

Then expand Samples, JavaScript; the one you are after is this: FindChangeByList. Now, this is a fantastic timesaving script. It will remove anything that it is instructed to do by this simple text file, which it connects with, and this text file is nothing more than a list of instructions to remove extra paragraph marks, extra spaces, extra tabs, etcetera. If I had a more text heavy document, that's what I would use, but I'm going to do it another way. I'm going to Find/ Change, and I'm just going to clear that out, so it looks like that.

Now in Find/Change, I can perform several different types of Find, but what I'm going to do here, and what's going to be very timesaving, is that I'm going to use a predefined query. So Find/Change; very, very powerful tool. You can, once you've created a Find or Change query, save that query, so that next time, you don't have to go through the trouble of creating it again. And here are some already predefined. We're interested in these two: Multiple Return to Single Return; Multiple Space to Single Space. So let's do that one, first of all. Change all 53 replacements, and then that one.

All right, so things just got a lot cleaner. Something else we need to pay careful attention to is things like spelling, and abbreviations. So we have quite a few abbreviations in here. Now, I can tell you, through having worked with this text file before, that the abbreviations are applied somewhat inconsistently. So we need to clean that kind of stuff up, and there is no reason for us to abbreviate that. It's going to look better, I think, if we just have it written out.

So fix things like that; there are also a number of capitalization issues that need fixing. There we are; eggs benedict needs a capital B. Now, you may be thinking, wait a minute, I'm not a proofreader, I'm not a copy editor, and I would say, the thing is, unless you do it, nobody else is. While it may not officially be your responsibility, and while you would want to check any changes you make with your client, ultimately, this all affects the credibility of the end result, so we need to fix any problems like that.

Run a spell check, and when you run the spell check, just to be aware of what language dictionary you're using. Now, this is for our UK client, so obviously, I want to be using the English UK dictionary. That means I need to select all of that text on my current panel, I can set English UK as the language dictionary, and then, when I come back to my spelling, that's the language that the text is being checked against. The spell check; very straightforward. You'd skip the obvious things that do need to be in there. That post card needs to be separated by a space.

You don't need to watch me do the spell check. It really is pretty self-explanatory. I will say that if you don't want to go through these steps, and you are following along, there is, in the folder, a text file called menu_clean, which is the text file with all of these problems, or all of those that I caught, fixed, and you can just fast forward, and use that version if you prefer. Other problems that you may run into, things that will need fixing: use of things like em dashes. We have a hyphen used as an em, or parenthetical dash; that's wrong, so that needs fixing. How do we fix it? Well, we can just right click on that, and then Insert Special Character > Hyphens and Dashes > Em Dash, or keyboard shortcut: Shift+Option+Hyphen, or Shift+Alt+Hyphen. That gives us the long dash.

I think if you are going to have a space, it shouldn't be a full space, but rather a thin space. So I'm going to insert a Thin Space at that point, which is right there. It has the keyboard shortcut Command+Option+Shift+M, or Control+Alt+Shift+M. Now I've got one; I can just copy that, and paste it there. So if that's the style that I'm going to be using for my dashes -- and some people prefer to use an en dash, which is a bit shorter, well, it's half as long as this one; that's Option+Hyphen, but it's still longer than the regular hyphen.

Either of those two approaches are fine, but a normal hyphen is not. When you've decided upon a style for that, just make sure that you execute that throughout the whole document, so that wherever else those dashes are used, they are consistently changed to either an en dash with a thin space either side, or an em dash with a thin space either side. This is all very picky, you might think rather pedantic stuff, but it is very important, and it really does affect the credibility of your text. So take the time to remove any inconsistencies, and fix any typographical errors.

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Designing a Restaurant Menu

28 video lessons · 8223 viewers

Nigel French
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