Join Mike Rankin for an in-depth discussion in this video Synchronizing text, part of InDesign: Creating Long Documents.
- In some cases you may need to use the same piece of text in multiple places, either in the same document or in different documents. If it's a small piece of text, you could use something like a cross-reference or a text variable but for something longer, like a whole story, you can use the place and link feature. Let's see how it works. Here I have two documents from separate books by the same author and these are gonna be the about the author pages. Now I have all the information laid out in the first document over here on the left, with a few paragraphs of text, a title, and an anchored photo.
I don't have anything yet, over here, in the second document on the right but since they're both by the same author, I want the same information. Of course, I could just copy and paste, but then if the information changed, I'd have to make the same edits in two places, which is really boring. And it would be even more boring if I had to use this same information in five places. Fortunately, I can place this story in another location and even in another document, then maintain a live link to the first document. And the feature I'll use to do this is called, Place and Link.
I'll select the text frame on the left side. I'll choose edit, place and link. This loads the story into the content conveyor and switches me to the content placer tool. In the conveyor, I can see that create link is selected and grayed out, so I can't place this story without creating a link. I could also map the styles used in this story to different styles, but in this case I don't have to because while the formatting in the two documents is different, the style names that I used are the same, so the formatting will change instantly when I place the story into the new document.
I'll just click and place the story. Notice the different formatting, but I can go back to my first document and make an edit, by changing the author's name from Bob to Robert and in the second document I see an alert on the frame and in the links panel, telling me that the content has changed. I'll double click on the alert to update the text. Also in the links panel, you can right click on a linked story and get some useful options. Note that I have the frame selected with the selection tool. I'll right click and I could select, go to source, to navigate to the original story.
Even if that document was closed, it'll be opened for you and it'll display the original story. I could also choose, unlink, to sever the connection and make the stories independent and with link options you can have the link automatically update each time you save. You can have InDesign warn you if you're about to overwrite local changes in a linked story. And there are other useful things like the ability to preserve certain local edits, even when you update the link, right here, and you can do things like remove forced line breaks. Note that this is a one-way relationship when it comes to updating a linked story, the original story is the parent and the links are the children.
So, only edits made in the parent story can be pushed out to the children and not vice versa. When you have some content that you need to keep consistent across multiple pages or multiple documents, try the place and link feature. It gives you a lot more power and flexibility than an old fashioned copy and paste, so you only have to make edits to the content in one place and then update the links to synchronize the changes elsewhere.
- Using automatic numbering for pages, sections, and chapters
- Using text variables for running headers
- Creating templates for InDesign, InCopy, and Word
- Formatting page elements with object styles
- Automating text formatting with nested styles and GREP styles
- Controlling color with swatches
- Building page elements with libraries and snippets
- Performing GREP find/changes
- Tracking changes
- Adding footnotes and indexes
- Using InDesign book files
- Preflighting documents