InDesign for Newbs: Adding a special line after a heading

Another quick use of GREP

Find: (.*)\r

Find Style: Topic (my header style)

Change to: $0================>

The key thing here is the $0, which is InDesign for “grab whatever you just found.” The equals signs and greater-than sign are actually what I get when I paste the graphic that Michael built in to my template.

What that does is find every instance of my Topic Paragraph Style and selects the entire line. It rewrites the line exactly, and then adds the graphic afterwards:

Since once one determines this works, it takes seconds to make the switch, being able to do things like this is a big deal.

There’s still occasionally some formatting I have to do. But by and large, this sort of thing is a ridiculous time-saver for things.

Working with Tables

No way ’round it. They’re annoying.

But . . . one thing I found out the hard way is that working with a table there are several different ways you can do it, and they’re all different, and all needed.

  • You can use the select tool, which picks out the frame.
  • You can use the Text tool and click inside the text, which works with the cells
  • You can also use the text tool to highlight entire lines of cells, which is slightly different

This next one was the big reveal for me

  • If you right-cursor or manage to click so that the cursor position becomes the ENTIRE left side of your table, that allows you to use centering and other things to keep the table within your frame, or indent it, or whatever.

This was a huge deal for me, because for whatever reason, I kept having my tables offset from my frame, which meant that lining up the frame with the columns did me no good.

In Closing

Working with InDesign is subtle. It’s like a Wizard that way, and the program is quick to anger, and publishers apparently taste good with ketchup.

But I was able, with a bit of consultation from Michael and a lot of “Oh. Oh! OH!!!” moments over the weekend, lay out in good form the entire non-monster portion of the Dragon Heresy Introductory Set. 150 laid-out pages for about 94,000 words.

This is a huge deal for me. It probably means that at worst, the intro set will be 272 pages, which is more than I’d like but not crazed. If the new monster format I worked out with Michael comes in at 550 words per page it means the thing will nicely fit into my original 256-page “shoot for this” scheme.

If I can hit the same word density as the first bits I’ve laid out already, we’re on target for 240 pages, which is in my mind the ideal target. But really, anywhere between 240 and 256 works for me.

Next up is collecting all of my existing art assets in one place and seeing what art holes naturally exist in the document. I didn’t purposefully add any, and removed quite a few. I’m violating some layout rules in the Intro Set to keep page count down. But overall, I should be able to use and re-use most of what I have (and some is original to Dragon Heresy in general) and keep things restrained.

That means I can probably Kickstart the thing in April. Watch for it!

3 thoughts on “InDesign for Newbs: Adding a special line after a heading

  1. Just a quick grep note. the $0 is the value of a ‘capture group’ – a fancy way of saying ‘anything between a pair of parentheses’. It is entirely possible to have multiple captures in a single grep expression. For example….
    would have a $0 and a $1 – so… FirstName LastName would have a $0==FirstName and $1==LastName.
    A wonderful tester for grep expressions is I use it often to test my grep commands for InDesign.

  2. I could be wrong, but it looks like that double bar under the header is just a typical paragraph rule, isn’t it?

    If so, is there any reason you don’t just add a paragraph rule to your main header style?

    Don’t get me wrong, I loooove GREP and am all in favor of finding creative uses for it. But I’m also a fan of simplicity. Could you just merge the two paragraph styles?

    1. You may be right. My section headers use a paragraph rule, because the simple gold bar is a straightforward application. I’ll have to look and see if I can add the equal signs and greater than sign in a different character style the same way that you can simply add a graphical bar. If so, it is definitely easier to use the paragraph rule.

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