Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Don't overlook InDesign's Story Editor

One of the most overlooked features of InDesign is the Story Editor. The Story Editor provides a word processor-style view of an InDesign "story" (any individual text frame or set of threaded text frames). Any changes that you make to your text in the Story Editor are immediately made to the layout.

To quickly display the Story Editor, select some text with the Type tool or select a text frame with the Selection tool, and press command-y (Mac) or ctrl-y (Windows). (Think "y" because the word "story" ends with "y"). When you are finished in Story Editor, to return to the layout view, press command-w (Mac) or ctrl-w (Windows).

The story editor is useful for the following situations:

1. To help you concentrate on content, not formatting. Most formatting does not display in the Story Editor view.

2. When you need an easier-to-read view of your text. If your formatted page has text flowing through multiple columns, or text that is small and hard to read, the Story Editor makes the text easier to read and edit. By choosing Preferences > Story Editor Display, you can choose a large, easy to read font for the Story Editor display, different from the font used to format the text in the layout.

3. When you need to see invisible items more clearly. Items such as XML tags, notes, variables, hyperlinks, footnotes and index markers show up much more clearly in Story Editor than they do in the layout view, making them much easier to work with.

4. When you want to edit overset text, or write copy to fit. The Overset Text Indicator in the Story Editor show you where text is flowing out of the last box in the text thread, but unlike in layout view, you can still see and edit the text that is overset. This makes editing copy to fit much easier than in layout view.

One minor gripe: you can't edit text in table cells in the Story Editor.

So give the Story Editor a whirl. I think you'll like it!

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