InDesign Variables

Subject: InDesign Variables
From: NatalieB <natalie -dot- bircher -at- massmanllc -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 25 Nov 2011 09:43:07 -0600

After working over ten years with FrameMaker, I now have a job where they use InDesign CS5 (using MAC X os). I'm finding that ID doesn't support the degree of customization of variables that FM did.

Here is the situation:

In a single chapter we discuss how to calibrate several different components. We have a warning message that is the same for each component, except for the component name. I'd like to have a variable marker in the places where the component name appears and be able to select or assign whatever component is being discussed without having to change all instances of a variable.

If I create a custom text variable named "Component" and change the text from "widget" to "doohicky" all my widget instances will update to doohicky.

If I create a custom text variable named "Widget" a custom text variable named "Doohicky" there is no way to swap more than one instance of "Widget" for "Doohicky." The only way I have found to globally replace one variable with another is to delete the original variable to invoke a dialog that asks to select a replacement variable. This will result in ALL instances of "Widget" being replaced with "Doohicky" and the variable "Widget" will be deleted.

I've looked into the Running Header (Character Style) option, but his requires defining the Use: field and only applies to the current page.

I've considered using cross-references, but InDesign doesn't seem to support defining one xref and applying it to several instances.

Any help is appreciated.

Missy
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