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Learning GREP with InDesign decodes the language of GREP for InDesign users. It shows how this versatile tool can be used for describing text, which can speed up or automate everyday formatting tasks. InDesign expert and graphic designer Michael Murphy introduces the basic concepts of GREP, and shows how to build powerful expressions using metacharacters. Michael also explores many of the little-known features of GREP, explaining how GREP styles and Find/Change can be used to rearrange data and dynamically format text. Exercise files accompany this course.
Another advantage of GREP Styles over Nested Styles is that a GREP Style can be applied to specific words or phrases, no matter how many times they appear in a paragraph. This is an ideal way to automatically italicize, for instance, a publication name, or highlight a product name, and it's one of the easiest GREP styles you'll ever create. In this paragraph, there are a number of different product names and I want to highlight one in particular, the Super Widget product name, in a different Character Style. And I want to do that everywhere it appears and I don't want to do it manually.
So, in order to have it done automatically for me, I am going to create a new GREP style in this product description Paragraph Style. I will right-click that style name in the Paragraph Styles panel, choose Edit Product Description and go to GREP Style to create a New GREP Style. The style I want to apply is already in this document. It's called Product Name and I will just pick that from the Apply Style menu. And the text that I want to apply it to is the actual product name. This is literal text, no metacharacters involved. I am just going to type 'Super Widget'.
When I click off here, you'll see not only the first instance, but the second instance of Super Widget is in there. And if I typed it 10 more times, it would also appear there. If I typed just the word 'Super', it would not style it. If I typed just the word 'Widget', it would not style it. So, this is specific to this presentation of this product name. Nested styles simply can't do that. If I were to try to accomplish this with a Nested Style by creating a new Nested Style, choosing that same Style Name, first of all, I run into the problem with a criteria that I have to determine a specific amount that I have to indicate.
And anything I type in this field, if I type the word 'Super', a Nested Style doesn't see the word Super, it sees a choice, either an uppercase S, or a lowercase u, or a lowercase p, or a lowercase e, or a lowercase r. Whichever one comes first, it considers it a match. So, there is no way to describe a word at all with a Nested Style. So, this is just never going to work. A GREP Style is the only way to do it. If I want to get ambitious and highlight all of my product names, I can certainly create a new GREP Style using the same Product Name style and add the names of one of the other products in this paragraph, like Wonder tool and it will do that.
And I could create another one for any other products that are in there, or I could be a little bit more efficient. Delete this style and instead, expand the definition of this GREP Style with the Or metacharacter by choosing Match, Or and then typing in 'Wonder Tool'. And then another Or metacharacter and Miracle Product. I would click off here, click OK and in one GREP Style, I've highlighted multiple instances of multiple Product Names.
This particular GREP style only uses one metacharacter, the Or metacharacter and that's only because multiple product names are specified. The rest is all plain text making this one of the simplest, yet very useful GREP styles you could ever create.
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