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Use Notes to Hide Text in InDesign

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What if you’re working in InDesign (or InCopy), and decide to delete a big chunk of text that you’ve ever-so-carefully crafted? You don’t really want to delete it, do you? What if you decide later that you want to include it after all?

One real slick way to deal with this is to use the Notes feature of InDesign/InCopy. First, select the text you want to delete.

Then press command-F8 (Mac) or ctrl-F8 (Windows). Or, if you’re a glutton for punishment, choose Type > Notes > Convert to Note. This will convert the text into a note. The text will disappear, replaced by a tiny hourglass-shaped symbol.

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To see the text in the note at any time, just click on the note symbol with the Type tool, and the Notes panel will appear on your screen and show you the contents of the note. Or, view the story in the Story Editor where you can see the full text of the note.

If you decide later that you want to convert the note back to visible text, just select the note by clicking to the right of the note with the Type tool, and holding down the shift key and pressing the left-arrow key once…

…and then press command-F8 (Mac) or ctrl-F8 (Windows) again.

Just think of the poetry Robert Frost could have created if he’d had InDesign and the Notes feature!

Keith Gilbert is a design consultant, developer, educator, speaker, and author. His work has taken him throughout North America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. During his 35+ year career his clients have included Adobe, Apple, Target, Oracle, and the United Nations. He is the author of several popular titles for LinkedIn Learning, Adobe Press, and CreativePro. Find him at gilbertconsulting.com and on Twitter @gilbertconsult
  • Excellent tip! It’s like having multiple clipboards right in the text stream.

    I don’t bother with the F8 stuff, though, I just right-click and choose Convert to Note (you’ll see that with a text selection, last choice in the contextual menu).

    Another tip is if you have overset text, instead of cutting/pasting overset text to the pasteboard (in case you end up w/room for it later on), to convert the overset to a Note.

  • Kriss Laber says:

    Love it! I can’t tell you how many files I have with paragraphs on the pasteboard.

  • Jeremy says:

    Clever! I had never thought of that, despite routinely working with “comments” in the context of code.

  • Kelly Vaughn says:

    Great post! I love using Notes. I like to use InDesign notes to make my own quasi sub-conditional text. Did you know that you can even convert inline graphics into Notes? I wrote a blog post about it if anyone is interested.

  • Jeremy says:

    Wow! “Quasi sub-conditional text” — it’s a real logician’s plaything. Great blog, thanks Kelly!

  • Eugene Tyson says:

    I dislike putting things on the pasteboard, you delete that page and the pasteboard contents go with it. I’ve used the Note trick on many occasions myself in the past. But I haven’t used it in a while!

  • Alberto says:

    Nice tip! But cmd F8 just stop iTunes? nothing else? :D

  • Jongware says:

    Alberto: your operating system is interfering with InDesign’s hotkeys. Change it in your System Preferences or in InDesign.
    InDesign pros prefer to switch off the “special functions” of the function keys altogether.

  • @Alberto & Jongware: Or perhaps you’re using a laptop with a Fn key. If so, you need to hold down Fn-F8.

  • Ariel says:

    Wow, that Robert Frost quote really throws me back to highschool yearbook time. I think it appears at least 8 times in any given highschool yearbook worldwide. I should imagine the “path less travelled by” is pretty crowded these days.

  • Shirley says:

    handy and the poem is a reminder of gentler times.

  • Y????? says:

    Excellent and smart tip!
    Helps me so much.
    Thanks!

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