Join Mike Rankin for an in-depth discussion in this video Using Notes, part of Creating Long Documents with InDesign.
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When you're working on long documents, you often work as part of a team. Sometimes people may need to make comments, ask questions, or even store text for later use. And sometimes you might want to save a reminder for yourself to come back and check or fix something later. With the Notes feature, you can embed editorial notes in a text frame for all these uses. Let's see how they work. So here I have shown the Notes panel. You can get at the Notes panel via Window > Editorial > Notes. And in the layout, notes are indicated by these little hourglass shapes.
Officially, they're called note anchors. You can show and hide note anchors by clicking on the Eye button at the bottom of the Notes panel. The color of your note anchors is by default the same as your user color, which you set under File > User. You can override that user color in your Notes preferences and also turn off the tooltips that show your note's content. So I'll go to InDesign > Preferences > Notes. And I can see my Note Color and I also have preferences to show the tooltips, or in the Story Editor I can include notes when checking spelling or in Find/Changes, and I can also add a background color.
So with the tooltips turned on and your cursor in the text frame, you can hover over the top half of a note to see a tooltip of who wrote it, when they wrote it, and the content of the note. You can also view notes conveniently in the Story Editor. So I'll press Command+Y or Ctrl+Y on the PC to open the Story Editor, and here I can see my note, right in line with the rest of the text. Notes can be expanded or collapsed in the Story Editor. If a note is collapsed, you just see its note marker, and you can click on either end of the note marker to expand or collapse it.
And even when a note is collapsed, if you hover over it, you get the tooltip, so you only need to expand notes if you want to edit them or copy text from them. To add a new note in the Story Editor, you just right-click and scroll down to the bottom of the Contextual menu and choose New Note. If a note would be better off as two separate notes, you can split it in two. I'll expand this first note and put my cursor after the first sentence and then right-click and scroll down and choose Split Note.
Now these are two separate notes. I'll close the Story Editor now and zoom in on this paragraph down here. Sometimes people use notes to store text they're not sure they need. They may or may not want to use it in the final product, depending on their copy-fitting needs. Well, you can convert notes to visible text in the layout and vice versa. To convert text to a note, simply select the text and in the Notes panel menu, choose Convert to Note.
To convert a note to text, you can also pick from the panel menu, Convert to Text. The nice thing here is that the formatting of the text is retained during the roundtrip to a note. Do you see how the italicized words stayed italicized? Applied styles and even local overrides are kept. Sometimes you might want to keep a record of your notes, either in a PDF or in print. Unfortunately, you can't do either from InDesign, but you can do both from InCopy.
To print a note's content from InCopy, choose File > Print and View > Galley/Story. And then under Options, select Print Inline Notes, and choose either just those you have Visible or All. And you can have the background color print too, if you like. To export notes as part of a PDF, you have a choice. You can export in layout format and the notes will come out as PDF annotations or you can export to Galley/Story format and the notes will come out as they look in these views, set off from the regular text in their note boxes.
Notes can be a very handy way to store extra text and share info between users or just to keep reminders for yourself.
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- Creating templates for InDesign, InCopy, and Word
- Employing nested styles
- Creating GREP styles
- Managing color with swatches
- Building page elements with libraries and snippets
- Performing GREP find/changes
- Using InCopy workflows
- Tracking changes
- Adding footnotes and indexes
- Using InDesign book files
- Versioning documents with conditional text or object styles
- Preflighting documents
- Archiving a project
- Finding and installing useful scripts and plug-ins for frequent challenges