Find all by formatting

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Declan
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Find all by formatting

Post by Declan » Mon Nov 05, 2012 8:12 am

Greets,

There's something that I've brought up a number of times before, but I *think* I've figured out how to simplify it. The basic issue is the question of how to facilitate the reformatting for Mellel of documents that began their life outside Mellel. A common example would be a document that began in Scrivener, but of course there could be many such examples.

It had occurred to me (as reflected in previous postings) that the replace styles thing was the way to approach this, but the problem here is that Mellel thinks that all such imported text is without style.

it now occurs to me that once one manually selects a piece of text,it is already possible to choose a new paragraph style for that text.Thus, right now, I can select any piece of text and impose a paragraph style (with associated character styles etc) onto it. If only there was a way of selecting a few words representing "Normal after Quotation", and then choosing a "Find and Select all by formatting" option (which would pick up tabs, font, size and so on) so that all such text would be selected. Then it would be just a matter of choosing the paragraph style as necessary for all such text.

This, of course, might not work with text destined to be designated as an auto-title, but if it could, all the better.

The point, in brief, is this. Once text is selected, one can impose a paragraph style. It would be handy (very handy) to be able to choose a sample and then be able to select all *similar* text. Once that is done, imposing a paragraph style would be easy.

There is something rather unwieldy about going through a text paragraph by paragraph and choosing paragraph style for each one, even though Scrivener presets have meant that they are – in fact – formatted in the same way, with same tabs etc. Is there no way in which Mellel can find and select text by similar formatting: font, tabs, etc.?

I post this in the forum to see if it makes sense, or if it would be at all easy to implement.

Declan the persistent

Bulow
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Re: Find all by formatting

Post by Bulow » Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:33 pm

This would be very nice and save a lot of trouble. I often import files that started life in docx, but of course I have to ask the authors to send them to me in rtf, because Mellel still cannot import docx. When preparing these texts for publication in Mellel I normally have to do as Declan describes, i.e. go through the whole text, paragraph by paragraph, and impose my printing-styles. If only imported styles were identifiable and could be found with a search, it would already be easier. I see that I have mentioned this some years back in a wish list for 2.7.
Bulow

Eyal Redler
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Re: Find all by formatting

Post by Eyal Redler » Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:27 pm

While I agree that translating the styles+names would be nicer. Replace styles does enable you to do what you want as long the formatting is indeed different from style to style.
Also, you can use the current *character* formatting for searching text, like this
1. Choose a piece of text with the formatting you'd like to find
2. Choose Edit->Copy Special->Character Attributes
3. Bring up the find panel
4. Click inside the find field and paste - this will paste the character attributes into the find field
5. Use the "Insert Element" popup to insert a "Anything" element to the find field

To replace, insert "Found expression" to the replace field and apply the wanted attributes to the field.
Eyal Redler
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nicka
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Re: Find all by formatting

Post by nicka » Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:39 am

Eyal:
I agree that translating the styles+names would be nicer.
It would be really great for Word files, but it wouldn't help with the OP's problem, because Scrivener doesn't produce named styles in its rtf output.
Replace styles does enable you to do what you want as long the formatting is indeed different from style to style.
Well, sort of. The problem is that all the styles without names tend to look very similar, and the dialogue box is modal, with no indication of which bits of text correspond to the styles as you select them. So (my experience is that) you end up doing a lot of trial and error. Or, actually, I don't bother: I just go through the whole document, imposing para styles manually, which I take to be an indication that the UI for this task is suboptimal... If you could show the text in the document, selected in real time, corresponding to the selected styles, that would really help.
Alternatively, it would help to allow paragraph formatting to be applied in Find and Replace.

Declan
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Re: Find all by formatting

Post by Declan » Mon Nov 12, 2012 3:20 pm

I see that it's hard work to communicate what the challenge is. Perhaps I could send a sample rtf to someone at Redlers, and ask them to go through the process of imposing the paragraph styles automatically, or at least semi-automatically. If it turns out that there is a simple way of doing it that I have overlooked, I would be delighted to learn.

Declan

Bulow
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Re: Find all by formatting

Post by Bulow » Mon Nov 12, 2012 7:50 pm

Hear, hear, Declan! Changing character styles is easy and not what it is about. Just being able to see which of the '37' (or so) 'paragraph style+1' you are looking at just now would be great. Never mind about Scrivener, whatever it is, Word is what we are up against, and Word-users are apparently unaware of the importance of styles. Every time they need to move a tab they effectively create a new style and when they want to move the tab back again, a third style is created. I, too, can supply large quantities of rtf to illustrate he problem.
Bulow

Eyal Redler
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Re: Find all by formatting

Post by Eyal Redler » Tue Nov 13, 2012 8:07 pm

nicka wrote: Well, sort of. The problem is that all the styles without names tend to look very similar, and the dialogue box is modal, with no indication of which bits of text correspond to the styles as you select them. So (my experience is that) you end up doing a lot of trial and error. Or, actually, I don't bother: I just go through the whole document, imposing para styles manually, which I take to be an indication that the UI for this task is suboptimal...
I agree. This is something we really want and need to improve upon.
Eyal Redler
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Declan
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Re: Find all by formatting

Post by Declan » Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:16 am

Good. I look forward to seeing what you come up with.
If you wish, I can send a sample document output from scrivener with "presets" used as a starting point, to illustrate the challenge.
All would have the same character style, but different margins.

Even if there was a way to understand from the Replace Styles dialogue which was which that would be helpful. Or, alternatively, if one could pick a paragraph, and given it a name manually (perhaps by a context click in the little box above the normal editor where the style is shown). Then one could change all paragraphs with the same characteristics (they should come out consistently if the Scrivener presets have been used properly).

Declan

Declan
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Re: Find all by formatting

Post by Declan » Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:23 am

Or, how about having an option in the Replace Styles Paragraph dialogue that selects a sample of that style in your document. Then you could go through the list of bizarre and unwanted paragraph styles one by one, and choosing what you want to replace them with.

Declan

Lüsh
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Re: Find all by formatting

Post by Lüsh » Mon Mar 25, 2013 1:23 pm

Hi all,

I'd like to endorse this request. I am working with Scrivener, and since it does not scan with Sente, I have to import the document into a word processor for final processing. An easy way to apply paragraph styles would be fantastic. I'm not even opposed to adding a "code" (such as -b- for body) to the end of my paragraphs while writing so that the "find" can be easier. But with Mellel, I'm having a harder time applying a paragraph style without getting rid of my italicized text, for example, or even applying auto-titles?

I did a successful "find character style" and replace with a paragraph style as the manual described, but that's not exactly what I'm looking for... Sorry for being dumb if this has been described somewhere that I haven't found!

-Rebecca

ozean
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Re: Find all by formatting

Post by ozean » Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:49 pm

I am not sure I understood you correctly, but just to be on the safe side: do you apply things like italics, bold via character style variations? (Instead of via ad-hoc formatting as one does in Word, for example.) Character style variations “survive” paragraph style changes. Or at least they should…

Declan
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Re: Find all by formatting

Post by Declan » Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:57 pm

No developments on this front?


Declan

nicka
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Re: Find all by formatting

Post by nicka » Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:48 am

Note that both Word (versions since 2008) and Nisus Writer Pro have an option to select all text with the same formatting as the current selection/text around the insertion point. This makes the job of imposing styles on imported text so much easier.

Declan
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Re: Find all by formatting

Post by Declan » Mon Nov 04, 2013 1:48 pm

I know that.
I also use Nisus, but somehow I feel safer entrusting a longer and more complex document to Mellel.

Declan

nicka
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Re: Find all by formatting

Post by nicka » Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:42 pm

Sorry, yes. The note was really for Eyal, who is (was?) monitoring this thread. I agree about trusting Mellel more than the alternatives for long documents – actually, even for short ones. But these days I do all my drafting in Scrivener, so I would really like some improvement in dealing with imported text in Mellel.

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