Find/Change: search multiple formats, NOT & OR options, multiple changes, drop-downs
I work with books, some of them very long and complex. Because I'm strict about styles and consistency, and because the authors rarely are, I have to use Find/Change a lot. It is by far the part of InDesign that I find most lacking.
1. Instead of clicking to get to find format or change format options, pick from drop-down(s) right there on the F/C dialog. At least for styles (but ideally also for fonts, swatches, etc.).
2. Search multiple styles at once (but not all styles, as happens when you don't select one in the find format area). For example: find any italic text in the Semibold Caption, Semibold Caption Wide, or Semibold Caption Narrow paragraph styles and change it to Semibold Italic character style without having to do the search 3 times. Another example: When there are several paragraph and/or character styles that came in from an older version of the file or from a Word document and you want to make sure they're not still applied anywhere, you could choose all of them in the find format drop-down rather than having to search for each individually.
3. Have a "not" option in searches, so we can search for any text (or whatever) that is NOT a certain color, size, etc. For example, find italic text that is NOT in the Body Italic character style, or find any text that is not black (i.e., has any swatch applied other than Black). Especially when there are a lot of things you don't want, such as colors, having to search each one separately is frustrating and eats up a lot of time.
3b. Add an "or" option. For example, instead of having to search separately for each of several words or characters that need something done to them, be able to enter them all in the search field with something between them that means "OR," or be able to add more search fields, each with something different in it. I'm sure I could use GREP to do this, but if it's only being done once it's not really worth the time and effort. I run into this when there are multiple spellings of a name and I need to make them consistent, or when several different terms throughout a book need to be changed to one other word.
4. ID should be able to remember what's already been dealt with during a search, even if I do something outside the search dialog and then resume. Example: In authors' files there is often text that has italic applied but should not (maybe they changed a word from italic to regular at some point but didn't know the punctuation was still italic) so I can't just have InDesign change all italics to my character style. I have to search the whole document and address each result indivdually, which is fine. I like that level of control. The problem is that if it finds something italic that should not be, I have to skip it (Find Next) because if I click in the text and change the format of that result, when I resume searching ID will, when it gets to the end of that story (or file, if I'm searching multiple files, as in a book) search all the previous results in the story/file before going to the next one.
5. A related request is that there be more than one action possible in the change part of the operation. For example, if I'm searching for italics, I'd like to be able to click a Change-1/Find button to apply my style, a Change-2/Find button to apply None, and a Change-3/Find button to apply my semibold italic style.
6. Each of the buttons in the Find/Change dialog should also be triggered by a key so I don't have to use the mouse every time I don't want to do what I did to the last result so can't hit return/enter.
Thurid Wadewitz commented
And I miss the function “start search at the beginning of the document“ that XPress offered already in the 1990's.
Thurid Wadewitz commented
7. Make the Grep search a little more easier to use for people without programmer's expertise. For example, I find it rather difficult to use the grep search, without at least a few examples. I' ve downloaded several Code tables, but don't know how to combine the commands or don't know why they don't work.