InDesign Scripts I Love

My big mantra when working with software is, “Let it work for you, not the other way around.” And this adage never rings truer than when I’m working in InDesign. It’s so easy to automate things—and let InDesign do the heavy lifting—that I’m always surprised to see people doing things manually.

When it comes to automation, nothing lifts that heavy stuff like a useful script. Scripts are InDesign’s little helpers that access all sorts of utility that would otherwise be untappable. You can find scripts for dealing with layout, tables, images, colors, text frames, and type. I’ll be dealing with those last two categories in this article. Below are a few of my favorite scripts for working with text in InDesign. For more on the expansive world of InDesign scripts, check out InDesign Magazine’s “Scriptopedia” issue. Or make your way to the InDesign Conference in Washington, D.C. in November, where I’ll be talking about many more of my favorite scripts!

Search in Styles – $49

We all know why we need to be using styles, right? Consistency and ease of updating are just a few key reasons. But what if your styles aren’t based on one another, but share common characteristics? And what if you’d like to change those commonalities across all styles at once? The Search in Styles script lets you do just that!

Finding the characteristics you’d like to change is as easy as opening the Find/Change dialog box. Indicate what you’re searching for—for instance, all styles using the font Avenir Bold—and what you’d like to change the text to, then run the script. The script’s dialog box indicates all the text styles with that particular attribute. You can then pick and choose which styles you’d like to apply the change to. The Search in Styles script even gives you the option of changing style names, using the power of GREP!

InGutter – FREE

Taking control of text frames and putting rules between multiple columns is made super easy with InGutter. While some of InDesign’s native Text Frame Options functionality is repeated, it’s nice to have so many text frame choices in one convenient location. Select a text frame with the Selection tool, then run the InGutter script. The resulting dialog box is broken into three sections: Text Frame, Rules, and Colors. The first section lets you change up the number of columns and amount of gutter between each. Additionally, it gives you the option to input an inset spacing amount and the option to balance columns.

The Rules section is where the real magic happens, though. Selecting this option lets you set up rules that run through the middle of each gutter, along the outside edges of the columns, only to the left or right, or all of these. Choose stroke features like stroke type and width, then set the X-axis, top, and bottom offset amounts. In the Colors section, choose the rules color (and a frame background color, if needed). But the most beautiful part of InGutter is how any rules you set up will grow or shrink as you change the height of the text frame!

FontMixer – FREE

Who doesn’t love a good mash-up? Not just for parody videos and pop music anymore, now you can create a mash-up of your favorite typefaces. FontMixer lets you pepper in characters from one font, when your chosen font’s styling falls flat. Missing a trademark symbol or not in love with the ampersand? Pluck those characters out of a font you’re enamored with and drop it into the offending one.

Simply double-click the script in the Scripts panel to bring up the creation dialog box. Either enter a name for the new Frankenfont or choose an existing one from the list. On the right side, choose a font to serve as the basis for the new font. In the section just below, select the “extra font,” or the font that has the desired characters in it. In the Characters field, just type in all the characters you’d like to substitute into the new font. Click the Mix button, and you’ll be able to choose and assign the new font.

Bodoni Oldstyle's TM formatting (above); The new font with characters added from Iowan Old Style (below)

Bodoni Oldstyle’s TM formatting (above); The new font with characters added from Iowan Old Style (below)

Posted on: October 17, 2016

Erica Gamet

Erica Gamet has been involved in the graphics industry for an unbelievable 30 years! She is a speaker, writer, and trainer, focusing on Adobe InDesign and Illustrator, Apple Keynote and iBooks Author, and other print- and production-related topics. She is a regular presence at CreativePro Week’s PePcon and InDesign Conferences, and has spoken at ebookcraft in Canada and Making Design in Norway. You can find Erica’s online tutorials at CreativeLive and through her YouTube channel. When she isn’t at her computer, she can be found exploring her new homebase of Seattle and the greater Pacific Northwest.

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