Join Nigel French for an in-depth discussion in this video Five reasons to use the Story Editor, part of Type Tips Weekly.
- [Instructor] Hi, I'm Nigel Ffrench. Welcome to this week's Type Tip, which is all about using the Story Editor in InDesign. Five reasons you should be using the Story Editor. The first of them is that the Story Editor is all about text, it lets you focus on your text, and it lets you edit your text more efficiently than you may be able to do in the Layout view, especially if you're working with a long, continuous text flow. So here, I have a book of over 200 pages and I need to make extensive edits to it.
Now, if I'm editing in the Layout view, which, of course, we definitely want to do, but we need to be moving back and forth to the Story Editor as well. So in the Layout view, I'm having to change the page all the time and go back and forth, whereas in the Story Editor, I'll just select the text frame or double-click to insert my type cursor into a text frame and then either press Command or Control + Y or from the Edit menu, choose Edit In Story Editor.
So here, I can just scroll through my continuous galley of text. No matter how long it is, if it's threaded, and as I say, it's over 200 pages, I can access it all in this one continuous scroll or galley of text. So that makes it much quicker to make extensive edits. In the Story Editor, we don't see page breaks, column breaks, we don't see different text sizes, we don't see different text formatting, with the exception of italic and bold.
We don't see any images with the exception of we see these markers for in-line graphics but we don't see any pictures in the Story Editors. So here's a tip for you. When you have scrolled through a long galley of text and you've made some changes, you now want to leave the Story Editor and go back to the layout. Well, how do you know where this piece of text occurs in the layout.
If you select it and then press Command or Control + Y to leave the Story Editor, you're taken to that place in the layout, with the text selected. And of course, I should just stress that any changes that you make in the Story Editor automatically happen in the layout and vice versa. Another tip relating to the Story Editor is that in the Story Editor display Preferences, you can change the Text Display Options. Choose whatever font, whatever spacing, whatever color, text, and background and whatever size works for you.
This is purely cosmetic, no one sees it. It doesn't have any effect on how it prints so just choose whatever it comfortable for you. Reason number two for using the Story Editor. It's a very quick and efficient way to apply styles. That may see somewhat counterintuitive. I've just said that we don't see any different type sizes or different type formats. That's true. But so long as you're familiar with the structure of the text, and you know what the styles should look like, then the Story Editor can be a very efficient way of applying your styles.
I just need to find my Paragraph Styles panel. Now I'm gonna press Command or Control + Y to go to the Story Editor and you see here I have three styles applied. I'll just quickly put that back to Basic Paragraph. If I'm familiar with this text, makes it very easy for me to just click into the paragraphs and then click onto the style name. And I can just scroll through and this can be a very efficient way of applying your styles if you're working with a threaded task flow where the text goes from one page to the next.
In order to be able to do this, you really need to see your Styles column which currently I have visible. If I wanted to hide this, I could right-click in this column and choose Hide Style Name Column. Once hidden, if I want to bring it back, I'll come to the View menu, down to Story Editor and choose Show Style Name Column. Reason number three for using the Story Editor. You can see things in the Story Editor you can't see elsewhere.
Here I have in my layout, single column of text. I have my guides turned on and I have my hidden characters turned on. They're both very useful. Definitely a good idea, but there's still quite a lot in this text that I can't see in the layout. Let's take a look in the Story Editor. Command or Control + Y and we see that I have things like Track Changes. Track Changes, an editorial feature in InDesign. When this is turned on, you will see the edits that have been made and if people identify themselves, you will see what user made that change.
You'll also see things like notes. In this case, my note is collapsed, but I can click on that to expand it. In the case of footnotes and endnotes, these will appear directly after the text rather than at the bottom of the page or at the end of the story. Other things we'll see are hyperlinks, cross references, index markers. We already saw the anchored object marker, but perhaps the most useful thing that you can see in the Story Editor that you can't in the layout is overset text.
So I'm just gonna make this text overset by doing that. We have the red plus indicating overset text. Now, in my Story Editor, Command or Control + Y to get to the Story Editor and I can scroll down and I can see indicated by the red lining, the text that is overset. And I can edit it and make whatever changes I need to make in order to fit my text. So, relating to the hidden characters that we can only see in the Story Editor, two tips for you.
Both of them can be accessed on the InDesign Secrets website and the first is a PDF guide to InDesign's special characters that you can download, and the second is a font from Indy Scripts which allows you to actually print, as glyphs, the InDesign hidden characters and this is very useful if you are teaching InDesign and you want to print out notes using these hidden characters.
So we now come to reason number four for using the Story Editor which is The Depth Ruler. Admittedly, this is a somewhat obscure feature and in practice, not that many people use the depth ruler, but if your columns are of a fixed width, you can use it to help you write to length. I'll select my story, press Command or Control + Y, and then I'm going to right-click in this Style column and choose Show Depth Ruler.
Now, my depth ruler reflects my currently chosen unit of measurement so I'll right-click again on the depth ruler and just specify what unit of measurement I want to use. Now I currently have a three-column layout and that is giving me, if I scroll down to the bottom of this galley, more than 13 column inches of text. So if I were now to come to my layout and switch from three columns, I'd press Command or Control + B to access my text frame options to one column then go back to my Story Editor, we see that I only now have a depth of 1/3 that amount because my columns are now three times as wide.
So if your columns are of a fixed width, you can use the depth ruler to help you write to length. Now, reason number four may have been somewhat obscure, but reason number five is very compelling. The Story Editor is a great place to do your troubleshooting. As you know, if you've used InDesign for any length of time, there are a variety of reasons that can cause text to disappear. If you can't see your text, it's quite difficult to actually edit the text.
I happen to know that I should have some text in these text frames. I can see that the text is flowing through these text frames as indicated by the arrows at top left and bottom right. If I come to the last text frame in this thread, I have a red plus indicating overset text. So how do I solve this? Probably the best way is to select anyone of these frames, Command or Control + Y, go to the Story Editor, so I can now see the text and because I can see it, I can then use some detective work to figure out what is the formatting that's causing my text to become overset.
Well, I happen to know 'cause I just applied this that it is a key option, so I'm going to press Command + Option K, or Control + Alt + K, and fix that, but the point is that the Story Editor lets you get to the text that you may not be able to see due to some formatting. This is also true when you're working with tables. Now, in tables, overset text is represented by a red dot. So here, in this column, there is some overset text.
The easiest way for me to find out what the width of that text is and then give me an indication of how I can fix the problem is to double-click to insert my cursor into the table at that point and then press the Escape key. That will select that particular table cell. Now, Command or Control + Y will take me to my Story Editor and tables look a bit different than your regular text in the Story Editor. I should point out that they can be collapsed and expanded.
You can also right-click on that triangle to arrange the text by columns or by rows. But most important to us, we have here the overset marker on that piece of text. So I know this is just a five-letter word which indicates that I shouldn't need to do much in order to make it fit. Let me just drag that column a little bit wider. It now fits, and hopefully, I can come to the last column, make that a little narrower so it fits within the type area and everything is as it should be.
So there we have five reasons, in reverse order, for using the Story Editor in InDesign. Troubleshooting, the admittedly obscure depth ruler, the formats that you can't see elsewhere, you can see them in the Story Editor, you can apply your styles quickly and you can do your text editing really quickly and efficiently.