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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.
It's time for me to talk about one of my favorite features in InDesign. It's not a particularly flashy feature but it is incredibly helpful to anyone who needs to write or edit text inside of InDesign. And that feature is called Story Editor, and it's like having a little Word Processor built right into InDesign. Let me show you. Now I have my Catalog file open here and my Editor has told me that I have to make a little bit of change to this text down here, so I'm going to zoom down into this lower left corner of this page and I need to edit some text inside this frame.
But the problem is that the text is so small and the text frame is so wide that the only way for me to see the text is by scrolling back and forth, left and right to see it all. That's really annoying and makes it very inefficient to edit text. But I know about Story Editor so I am going to edit it there. Let me show you how it works. I will select that text frame, go up to the Edit menu and choose Edit in Story Editor, or the shortcut is Command+Y or Ctrl+Y on Windows. Now Story Editor opens a little new window that is completely formatting neutral.
It's line ending neutral, in other words it just shows me the text as though I were editing in a Word Processor and it's so great because it's very easy to read and it shows me all the text, I don't have to scroll back and forth to see it. Now there is one problem with Story Editor in my opinion and that is it starts off by showing you this weird letter Gothic font, which I'd actually don't like reading. It's just not happy on my eye. But the good news is that InDesign lets you change that and you change that by going to the InDesign menu on the Mac or the Edit menu on Windows and choose the Preferences sub-menu Story Editor Display.
You can change the Story Editor Display to what ever you want it to be. I'd like something like Georgia, personally I am just going to type Geo so it guesses I want Georgia. I like that from my Preview Font and I am going to make this a little bit bigger so it's easier for me to read. I am getting a little bit older. I want to be able to see it really easily on screen, so I am going to make it 16 points as well. You could see you have a lot of different controls in here over how much space do you want in between each line, what color do you want the text to be. I like the black and white but you can have all kinds of options here if you are really into the old-style terminals you could change it into something like green on black, but both would drive me crazy.
So I am going to leave it set to black and white, the Ink on Paper theme and move on. I will actually change one more thing while I am here though. I am going to change this to the Barbell Cursor, because again as I am editing text, sometimes it's hard to see exactly where the cursor is. But if I change the Cursor Options to this Barbell text or one of these other options, it really pops off the screen. I'll show you what I mean. Click OK. It updates the font, it updates the size, and you could see the cursor really easily. Wherever I click it just really pops out at you, I love that feature. So now I can easily read this, make the change I want.
I will say change this to click here, maybe it's going to be interactive document, put a period at the end. Those are the changes I needed to change, and I can close it and it will update on the page. I can see that update if I scroll over to the right. This is what I was trying to avoid, right, the scrolling around, but you can see that the text has changed, so that's exactly what I wanted. Let me show you another example of Story Editor, I am going to zoom back to fit in window with the Cmd+Opt+0 or Ctrl+Alt+0 on Windows and I am going to look at this text frame up here in the upper left corner.
I can immediately see that there is overset text here, there is more text than can fit into that frame. Let's zoom in on that, I'll just click inside that frame and then press Cmd+2 or Ctrl+2 on Windows to zoom into 200%. And I can really say that's right. The text has dropped off here unfortunately. But how much text? Is there a whole paragraph missing or just one word missing or one character missing? Sometimes it's hard to know. Now most people would say well, I will just make the text frame bigger, but that's going to ruin my layout, so I don't want to do that.
I just want to see what's overset. So here again is one more use for Story Editor. I am going to open Story Editor by pressing Cmd+Y or Ctrl+Y on Windows and I can see immediately, there is my story, and look at this. See that little red line and this little gray line over here? That's how much text is overset. All of this stuff did not fit into the frame. That's incredibly helpful information because now I can edit it or I can copy it or I can do something with it, I could copy it, cut it out, and paste it some place else, whatever I need to do with that overset text. Now there is one other editorial like feature that I want to show here.
It's actually not a part of Story Editor but I do need to point it out because it's really cool. Under the Window menu, I am going to choose Info. That opens the Info panel and the Info panel when I'm editing text either of inside Story Editor or just in a regular layout window. Whenever I am editing text the Info panel gives me information about that text. For example, I can see here that it says 334+53. That means that this story, this whole story has 334 characters in it plus 53 overset, anything after the plus means it's overset.
That's the part that's over here that won't fit in the frame. It also shows me the number of words and lines and paragraphs. It doesn't know the number of lines because it's overset. It doesn't know what to do with overset lines, but it knows that there are seven extra words beyond that which can fit into the frame, so that's really cool. This is also useful when I want to find out how many words are there in this sentence? Let's say I can simply select the text in the sentence again, in Story Editor or on the document page and the Info panel updates and shows me there's 17 words in there.
Isn't that cool? I just love that feature. All right, I am going to close the Info panel and show you a couple of more things about Story Editor, which you absolutely need to know. One is, that that Cmd+Y feature or Ctrl+Y on Windows does more than just opens Story Editor. It synchronizes the Story Editor selection and the Layout selection. Here's what I mean, if I select this text and simply close Story Editor nothing happens. But if I select some text, like I will select these three words and use the keyboard shortcut, it synchronizes it, so what's selected inside the Layout menu is also selected inside Story Editor.
If I select the word greenhouse here and press the keyboard shortcut it switches back to the Layout Mode and synchronizes the selection so that the word greenhouse is selected here as well. That's a little thing but it turns out to be extremely efficient whenever you are trying to move back and forth between the two views. Select some text, press the keyboard shortcut and it syncs so that you'll have the same selection. Earlier on I mentioned that the Story Editor was formatting neutral, what does that mean? It means that it only shows you bold and italic. It won't show you superscripts.
It won't change the font for you. It doesn't show you any of the formatting except bolds and italics. That can be good and bad depending on what you want, but it is an important thing for you to know about. And the last thing I need to tell you about Story Editor is that you can see tables. A Table Layout is kind of wacky so I want to point it out to you, I am going to zoom back to the Fit Spread in Window, click inside my table over here in the lower right corner, and then zoom in, just so you can see that better with Cmd+2 or Ctrl+2 on Windows. This is a big table that I've created. I'm going to be talking about tables in a later chapter, but I just want to point out that if you do have tables in your document, you can even see those in Story Editor.
I will press Cmd+Y or Ctrl+Y on Windows and scroll up here so you can see this is what tables look like inside Story Editor. It first gives you a little table icon that you can roll up if you want to with that little twirly triangle thing. You can make the whole table go away or visible again just by clicking on that, and inside that it shows you Row number 1, Column number 1 and then Row number 1, Column number 2, Row number 1, Column number 3 and then Row number 2, so it's going to go one row at a time. And some people like seeing the tables like that and some people prefer to see columns first and then one row at a time.
Let me just show you what I mean. If I right-click or Ctrl+Click with a one-button mouse on the Table icon I can scroll to the bottom, way down near at the bottom you can see that there are two options arranged by rows or arranged by columns. There we go. Now I'm seeing it in Column View. So in Column number 1 I have Item Number, Example Flower and then blank, blank, blank down there. I'll actually type something here. Here is another example, and you'll see that as soon as I stop typing, it updates on the Layout page as well.
Now I will come down here and you can see there is Column 2 and I can say Type and then wait for a moment and it updates here. So you get the idea. That's how tables work in Story Editor. Whether you are editing really tiny four-point text at the bottom of a legal contract or text on a path or a table or any kind of long story, the Story Editor makes life so much easier.
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