How to quickly assign Auto-titles to bold paragraphs?

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Icelander
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How to quickly assign Auto-titles to bold paragraphs?

Post by Icelander » Mon Aug 14, 2017 6:40 am

I have a long document with ca. one hundred chapter names. Each chapter name is written in bold and is one paragraph.

How can I assign Auto-title (Level 1) to the chapter names? I can't imagine that I have to select every chapter name and do it manually. That would be a nightmare.
Isn't it possible to use the Find and Replace feature? Search for all paragraphs in bold and assign them Auto-titles, or something to that sort?
Last edited by Icelander on Fri Sep 07, 2018 2:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Icelander
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Re: How to quickly assign Auto-titles to bold paragraphs?

Post by Icelander » Mon Aug 14, 2017 7:47 am

By browsing the forum, I found a thread from Januar 8, 2016 which seems to answer my question. I take it that it's not possible.

It's a pity that the forum's search engine is not working…

DavidH
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Re: How to quickly assign Auto-titles to bold paragraphs?

Post by DavidH » Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:57 pm

Mellel can search repeatedly for specially formatted text you want to turn into Auto-Titles, but it can’t fully automate the process of making them, since Replace can’t set styles or Auto-Title levels. Here’s an effort to partially automate the process.

These suggestions assume that an unmodified version of the default Auto-Title setup is in place and active. (Use the Setup menu at the bottom of the Auto-Title palette.) You can always change your document to a different setup after you’ve made the Auto-Titles you want. I also assume that Bold (or whatever other special character formatting you use to mark your chapters) occurs only in paragraphs of text that are to become Auto-Titles, and that Bold (or whatever) has been applied to the whole of each such paragraph.

Make sure you’ve got a backup of anything you try this on. I haven’t done extensive testing.

You’ll want to set up a quick way to apply a given level Auto-Title to selected text. One way to do this is by assigning a keyboard shortcut to Auto-Title > Level n in the Finder.

You’ll also need to set up and name a special Find Action to locate and select the paragraphs you’ve put in Bold (or whatever). Once you’ve created this Find Action you can store it and use it over and over again in different documents. Here’s how:

1. Call up Find and Replace. If necessary click on the little triangle at the top left so it points down, showing the advanced controls and Replace box. Search in: Main Text. Of the check boxes on the right hand side: From Beginning, Whole Words, and Ignore Diacritics should be unchecked; Ignore Case can stay checked.
2. From the dropdown menu at the left end of the Find box, choose Any Character (the boxed asterisk). Once it appears in the Find box, select it, then set it to Bold by choosing Bold from the Face menu in the Character palette. (If you were using other character format(s) to mark a particular level of heading, you’d make different character attribute choices at this step.) The A at the right hand end of the Find box darkens to signal the presence of character formatting.
3. Double click on the boxed asterisk. That brings up a little dialog box. In it set Repetition to One or More, click the Greedy box, and hit OK. Your boxed asterisk now has a 1+ superscript and a G subscript. You’ve set up a search that looks for and selects the first uninterrupted string of boldface to be found after the present cursor location each time it is run.
4. Having done all this, click on the Gear icon at the top of the Find window, select Save Find Action As, and give your action an appropriate name like SelectNextBold. (Leave Find Set set to None in the dialog box.) You can reload this Find Action any time you want it, in any document, by using the Load Find Action option under the Gear icon and looking for SelectNextBold in the alphabetical list.

When you’re ready to use your stored Find Action, load it into the Find box (all by itself) and leave the Replace box empty. (You’ll be doing Finds, not Find-and-Replaces.) What needs to happen now is a cycle of simple Find-Make-Relocate actions.

Put your cursor at the beginning of the document. Then:

1. Execute the Find Action by hitting Next in the Find box;

2. Choose the desired level of Auto-Title, by:

double clicking on it in the Auto-Title Palette,
selecting it in the Auto-Title Palette and hitting the insert button,
using Insert Menu: Auto-Title > Level n,
or using your assigned keyboard shortcut;

3. Move past the newly created, still selected Auto-Title by hitting Return.

You want steps 1, 2, and 3 to repeat in order until Mellel beeps. At that point, STOP. Mellel will leave you near the beginning of the document with the first Auto-Title selected. If I were you I’d step through this by hand a few times on a simple document to make sure it’s working properly. After that, you can lighten your load by having your favorite automation tool assign a single trigger to the whole Find-Make-Relocate sequence, which is one click and two keystrokes as it stands. That’s as far as I’d try to go myself in automating things, since it’s the beep that tells you when to stop.

If you were to use different combinations of character formats to signal different levels of desired Auto-Title, you could define and store several such Find Actions, each with its own character formats, and load and run them one after another. Just be sure the character formats you use as signals are distinct from any that might turn up in already created Auto-Titles.

A final note. If some of your paragraphs were bolded without bolding the paragraph mark itself, there are circumstances where Auto-Titles made from them lack the default numbers and show special formatting instead. The reasons are complicated but the fix is simple: re-choose Default setup in the Auto-Title palette and this anomaly will go away.

Avner
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Re: How to quickly assign Auto-titles to bold paragraphs?

Post by Avner » Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:37 am

While David had suggested a possible workaround, I must say that trying to solve this problem must begin before it is created - I realize it might not help with the current document but the wise thing to do is to assign Auto-titles before you are creating 100 of them... the whole idea behind Mellel is providing the tools to properly structure the document (using the Outline, Auto-titles, and possibly Story for some tasks) so that you can later focus on purely putting content in. Trying to apply changes once the document gets enormous should always be our least preferred option.
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Icelander
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Re: How to quickly assign Auto-titles to bold paragraphs?

Post by Icelander » Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:07 pm

Thank you very much David for your detailed answer.
DavidH wrote:
Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:57 pm
you can lighten your load by having your favorite automation tool assign a single trigger
Which automation tools do you have in mind? Do you mean something like Keyboard Maestro?

What automation tool works particularly well with Mellel?

Icelander
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Re: How to quickly assign Auto-titles to bold paragraphs?

Post by Icelander » Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:56 pm

Avner wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:37 am
trying to solve this problem must begin before it is created
In many cases the user has no control over where the creation process starts. Think of long *imported* documents you find on the web, or take Project Gutenberg as an example. You download a long 19th century novel with more than 100 chapters. The chapter names are written in bold and you need a good and quick way to navigate the whole novel. In Mellel you are out of luck here.
the wise thing to do is to assign Auto-titles before you are creating 100 of them […] Trying to apply changes once the document gets enormous should always be our least preferred option.
This might be one of the fundamental differences between Mellel and Nisus: Mellel assumes you are beginning from scratch, whereas Nisus doesn't care how far you've got in the creation process.

DavidH
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Re: How to quickly assign Auto-titles to bold paragraphs?

Post by DavidH » Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:45 pm

Since Icelander asked, the tool I use for tasks of this sort is Keyboard Maestro. It’s my impression that various other apps could do this particular job equally well. But I haven’t done enough with any of them to make competent comparisons.

If what you want to do is navigate public domain books from Gutenberg, Bartleby, and the like for reading purposes, their HTML (online) and EPUB (offline) versions have built-in navigational aids these days. I wouldn’t myself import a book into a word processor simply in order to navigate it more comfortably as I read. If your creative purposes go beyond reading, I’d review the Terms and Conditions on the relevant websites.

I don’t find Icelander’s account of the assumptions behind Mellel and Nisus Writer Pro at all persuasive myself. I use and admire both applications. They conceive and implement functions like outlining and Search and Replace very differently. But as far as I can tell, neither one provides for the direct addition of styles, bookmarks, etc. to imported text via Search and Replace. Neither one can “auto-populate” its own navigation pane. I could be missing something, but if I had to turn bolded headings into Bookmarks or TOC entries in NWP, I’d end up resorting to the same basic steps I outlined in my previous message. And once I’ve made an Auto-Title, I can do things with it I can’t do with a mere bookmark.

Icelander
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Re: How to quickly assign Auto-titles to bold paragraphs?

Post by Icelander » Sat Sep 09, 2017 7:10 am

DavidH wrote:
Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:45 pm
If what you want to do is navigate public domain books from Gutenberg, Bartleby, and the like for reading purposes, their HTML (online) and EPUB (offline) versions have built-in navigational aids these days. I wouldn’t myself import a book into a word processor simply in order to navigate it more comfortably as I read.
You are right, if that were the only purpose. The final goal, however, is not only navigation, but it's a comprehensive and thorough interpretation of the text. For such an in-depth analysis I use a combination of styles, comments, footnotes, multiple colored inline comments, bookmarks, new subject titles added by me to reflect the content, etc. I also create a concordance and an index to quickly find certain topics and words in the text.
My comparison of the Bible and the Koran may perhaps best illustrate what I have in mind. When, during the reading process, I come across topics that I find interesting (such as the inferiority of women, which both texts never get tired of trumpeting), I use the above mentioned methods to *group* related topics and make sure I will be able to easily find those text portions again. If my editor asks me to write a newspaper article about the question whether Islam (as opposed to Christianity) is a peaceful religion, I use Nisus macros to instantly extract the pertaining passages from both books; that gives me the opportunity to have systematically all the relevant stuff in one place, when I need it.
But as far as I can tell, neither [Nisus nor Mellel provide] for the direct addition of styles, bookmarks, etc. to imported text via Search and Replace.
Neither one can “auto-populate” its own navigation pane
This isn't quite correct. If you have a text like this (view a screenshot here):
http://www.mediafire.com/file/264vut64i ... graphs.png

you can “auto-populate” the Navigator in Nisus by running this simple one-step macro:

Find All "(AnyParagraph)", 'eau'
Heading 1

If you want bookmarks instead, you would run:

Find All "(AnyParagraph)", 'eau'
Add Bookmark

or you can run the "Select With Same Attributes" macro in Nisus to select all bold paragraphs (= chapters) and then click Heading 1 in the style pane. This amounts to two steps. The same applies to the sub-headings (in the screenshot they are 'Beginning', 'Middle', and 'End'.) If you want to do this in Mellel I think you must wait till the cows come home.

I have a question. Based on your experience with both word processors, which one would you choose and why if you were working on a similar project as described above?

Thanks.

DavidH
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Re: How to quickly assign Auto-titles to bold paragraphs?

Post by DavidH » Sat Sep 09, 2017 8:52 pm

Tried to offer some specific help with a specific task. I'm done.

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