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Old 08-23-2012, 02:42 PM   #1
Pumpkin Soup
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Streamlining Blank Lines in InDesign

Hello! Apologies if this has been answered somewhere else, but I have a novel I'm turning into an EPUB in InDesign, and some paragraphs need a blank line between them while some don't. I know I can use CSS to add space before/after paragraphs, but the problem is that not all paragraphs require a blank line space between them so I'm not sure what is the easiest way to do this without individually finding each paragraph and signifying whether it should have a blank line after it (and with almost 700 pages this isn't really the best option). I do have [blankline] marked for the blank lines so if there would be a way to do some sort of GREP or Find/Replace that would be helpful, I just can't wrap my head around the most efficient way to do this. Thanks for your help!
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Old 08-24-2012, 01:43 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pumpkin Soup View Post
Hello! Apologies if this has been answered somewhere else, but I have a novel I'm turning into an EPUB in InDesign, and some paragraphs need a blank line between them while some don't. I know I can use CSS to add space before/after paragraphs, but the problem is that not all paragraphs require a blank line space between them so I'm not sure what is the easiest way to do this without individually finding each paragraph and signifying whether it should have a blank line after it (and with almost 700 pages this isn't really the best option).
Using InDesign to create an EPUB is not really the best option either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pumpkin Soup View Post
I do have [blankline] marked for the blank lines so if there would be a way to do some sort of GREP or Find/Replace that would be helpful, I just can't wrap my head around the most efficient way to do this. Thanks for your help!
I am not sure to understand correctly your problem (a piece of the text code will help), but why don't you just define in your CSS a default margin for <p>'s, and a new <p> class "bigSkipBefore", and you S&R your "[blankline]" marker with <p class="bigSkipBefore"> ?

Last edited by AlPe; 08-24-2012 at 01:45 PM.
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Old 08-24-2012, 02:26 PM   #3
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Rework your InDesign styles so that there is no need for blank paragraphs and remove them.
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Old 08-26-2012, 02:38 PM   #4
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InDesign is the best option for me to create epubs. It creates very clean code if used correctly. Not sure what AIPe's problem is with it. Maybe he/she could elaborate.

There is definitely a way to do the search/replace with GREP for this but I'm not even sure you need GREP since you've marked it so well. Just replace all instances of [blank line] with a nonbreaking space (and a hard return before or after to put it on it's own line if it isn't already). Use the special character drop-down to the right of the Change To field. All paragraphs that contain a nonbreaking space are valid in epub and show as a blank line. That would be the easiest way.

If you don't want to use nonbreaking spaces, another way would be to use a script that looks for a style and then changes the style for the paragraph after it based on your input in a dialog box. To use this, you would change all the blank line paragraphs to a "blank line" style. Then use the script to find all of that style and change the one after it to a new style that includes some extra space before.

The script is here. It costs $39. There's a free one out there that does the same thing but the site where I got it is giving a warning message about malware so I don't want recommend it right now.

Also, www.indesignsecrets.com is a great source for using InDesign to make epubs. They have an epub forum and there are quite a few experts there who have helpful advice. One of the sites creators did a great InDesign to ePub video on Lynda.com. Her name is Anne-Marie Concepcion. She posts here occasionally.
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Old 08-26-2012, 03:19 PM   #5
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My apologies in advance for the off-topic.

Quote:
InDesign is the best option for me to create epubs. It creates very clean code if used correctly. Not sure what AIPe's problem is with it. Maybe he/she could elaborate.
Well, paying hundreds of dollars for a tool that:
  1. is not conceived for authoring eBooks,
  2. has the very nasty habit of messing around the code (see Liz Castro's blog to see the hacks that you need to perform to make up for InDesign's deficiencies...), and
  3. needs extra (paid) scripts to perform basic regex S&R
is not really what I would call "optimal strategy", especially considering that I can get the same result using free software and a bit of (basic) knowledge of XHTML/XML/EPUB specs.

But I agree that anyone should maximize her or his own objective function, and, you know, studying is harder and requires much more time* than just paying Adobe.


* In my opinion, InDesign is not really a time-saver, because one should also count the time spent looking for the "hacks" needed to make InDesign produce what you want...

Last edited by AlPe; 08-26-2012 at 03:28 PM.
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Old 08-26-2012, 07:15 PM   #6
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I also apologize for the off-topic post. This is in response to the post above:

Maybe what makes InDesign so ideal for me is that I (a) already have it so it doesn't cost me "hundreds of dollars" and (b) must do a print edition of almost every book I do anyway so I need to set them up in a page layout program to get the professional level typography I need.

I don't "hack" InDesign to get it to do what I want but I do use a text editor when I'm all done to tweak the code. InDesign gets me 90% of the way there. It really speeds up the process.

You do not need to pay for scripts to do regex S&R. InDesign has it built in. Not sure what you are talking about there.

I've never bought a script for InDesign. There are hundreds of free ones out there and new ones popping up all the time to automate various processes. There are even a few people on forums that write custom ones for other users. It's a great community out there.

Last edited by amyg; 08-26-2012 at 09:02 PM.
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Old 08-29-2012, 03:08 PM   #7
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Thanks for thread. I have InDesign, and recently acquired Calibre as translation device for Kindle, which I downloaded as a test reader for things I write. So far "translation" is a murky sea, and I'd love success stories (if indeed such there be) as to inexpensive authoring software that makes layout less of a shoot-in-the-dark. My stuff is heavily dependent on precise placement of graphics and page breaks, which must be as carefully timed as the words I use.
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Old 08-29-2012, 07:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WillAdams View Post
Rework your InDesign styles so that there is no need for blank paragraphs and remove them.
Quote:
Originally Posted by OffMostWalls View Post
Thanks for thread. I have InDesign, and recently acquired Calibre as translation device for Kindle, which I downloaded as a test reader for things I write. So far "translation" is a murky sea, and I'd love success stories (if indeed such there be) as to inexpensive authoring software that makes layout less of a shoot-in-the-dark. My stuff is heavily dependent on precise placement of graphics and page breaks, which must be as carefully timed as the words I use.
WillAdams gives the most important answer. In any word processor you should use styles instead of blank lines to create the proper space. Blank lines is for typewriters, not word processors. There should not be a murky sea between the InDesign and Calibre conversion or other ePub conversions, however you must realize that ePub is like like PDF. It is designed to reflow, it is designed to allow the user to use a different font and other user changes. It is designed for a reading book not necessarily a picture book. If you need precise placement there is nothing better than PDF. It will take a page of Indesign and make an electronic page that exactly matches it. ePub is, by design, not intended to do that. However, there have been some offshoots of ePub by various people called Fixed layout ePub that you can read about in our wiki.

Note that Kindle, except the Kindle Fire, does not support ePub at all and Kindle mobi format has less control. Kindle Fire uses an ePub and then compiles it into KF8. PDF is still your best bet, but for Kindle you need to create a custom size page in indesign so it will look ok.

Dale

Last edited by DaleDe; 08-29-2012 at 07:07 PM.
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Old 08-29-2012, 11:43 PM   #9
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however you must realize that ePub is NOT like PDF.
Oops. Fixed that for you. It's an important distinction that people must understand before they dive into epub creation.
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Old 08-31-2012, 11:17 AM   #10
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Thanks for the feedback, everyone! The reason I needed additional 'blank lines' is because the novelist marked certain passages with additional space between them, and I was trying to preserve that (obviously line breaks are non-functioning, but I made progress with paragraph styles).
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Old 08-31-2012, 11:46 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pumpkin Soup View Post
Thanks for the feedback, everyone! The reason I needed additional 'blank lines' is because the novelist marked certain passages with additional space between them, and I was trying to preserve that (obviously line breaks are non-functioning, but I made progress with paragraph styles).
You don't do section breaks with blank lines. You do it with CSS like this...

Code:
.spacebreak {
margin-top: 2em;
margin-bottom: 0;
text-indent: 0
}
Code:
<p class="spacebreak">The start of the next section</p>
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Old 08-31-2012, 04:19 PM   #12
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It should be pointed out that simply having blank space between paragraphs on an ebook will not sufficiently signify to the reader that there is a scene break if it happens to fall on a page break. You might consider having some characters there to indicate this instead of just blank space. Take a look at some professionally-published books to see how they've accomplished this. Sometimes it's 3 asterisks or bullets or tildes. The reason for this is that you can never know where the pages will break.

Also, realize that in novels, the paragraph after the blank space should not have the first line indented. JSWolf's example has it right (text-indent: 0).
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Old 08-31-2012, 09:00 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by amyg View Post
It should be pointed out that simply having blank space between paragraphs on an ebook will not sufficiently signify to the reader that there is a scene break if it happens to fall on a page break. You might consider having some characters there to indicate this instead of just blank space. Take a look at some professionally-published books to see how they've accomplished this. Sometimes it's 3 asterisks or bullets or tildes. The reason for this is that you can never know where the pages will break.

Also, realize that in novels, the paragraph after the blank space should not have the first line indented. JSWolf's example has it right (text-indent: 0).
I'm not a fan of * * *. Just doesn't look good. There are other things that can be used in a section break. But * * * just looks cheap.
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Old 09-01-2012, 06:08 AM   #14
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[QUOTE=amyg;2204668]It should be pointed out that simply having blank space between paragraphs on an ebook will not sufficiently signify to the reader that there is a scene break if it happens to fall on a page break.[quote]

It is, if the space is done with margin-top instead of margin-bottom. At least if the reader is compliant and does not throw away margins after a soft pagebreak... Otherwise, it can be done with a fixed-height <div> and page-break-after: avoid.

Quote:
Also, realize that in novels, the paragraph after the blank space should not have the first line indented. JSWolf's example has it right (text-indent: 0).
That depends on the novel, I've seen both cases (in paper books published by respected publishers). Note that in some languages other than English, all paragraphs are typically indented no matter what.
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Old 09-01-2012, 09:14 AM   #15
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That depends on the novel, I've seen both cases (in paper books published by respected publishers). Note that in some languages other than English, all paragraphs are typically indented no matter what.
But, in a pBook, they use a marker t show the section break (other then space) if the section break is at the end of the page. You cannot do that for an eBook. so the non-indented paragraph is what works.
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