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Is there any value in ID's Wildcard S&R ? - Adobe Indesign Windows

I can think of no scenerio in which a wildcard search should not return the initial value of the searched character. As it works now, a wildcard S&R either deletes the searched character or replaces it with the code used to search for it. Of what use can that ever be? I thought the whole idea of a wildcard search was to eliminate the necessity of redundant searches: i.e: search ,1 replace with .1; search ,2 replace with .2; search ,3 replace with .3; etc. Am I missing something or is not this feature as ID implements it completely useless?...

  1. #1

    Default Is there any value in ID's Wildcard S&R ?

    I can think of no scenerio in which a wildcard search should not return the initial value of the searched character. As it works now, a wildcard S&R either deletes the searched character or replaces it with the code used to search for it. Of what use can that ever be? I thought the whole idea of a wildcard search was to eliminate the necessity of redundant searches: i.e: search ,1 replace with .1; search ,2 replace with .2; search ,3 replace with .3; etc.

    Am I missing something or is not this feature as ID implements it completely useless?
    M_Blackburn@adobeforums.com Guest

  2. #2

    Default Re: Is there any value in ID's Wildcard S&R ?

    M--

    It's useful when you need to search for something and apply formatting to the found text. For example, search for $^9^9.^9^9 and apply formatting for a price (a character style would be good).

    There are really four ways to use find/change:

    1. Find a string and replace with another string.

    2. Find a string and apply formatting.

    3. Find formatting and apply formatting.

    4. Find formatting and replace with a string (it's very rare that you need to do this, but I have seen it come in handy).

    Note, also, that the wildcards don't work in the Change To field.

    Thanks,

    Ole
    Olav_Kvern@adobeforums.com Guest

  3. #3

    Default Re: Is there any value in ID's Wildcard S&R ?



    Note, also, that the wildcards don't work in the Change To field.




    Ole,

    That is the fact that led me to suggest that ID's wildcards are useless, and looking at your example uses for wildcards I'm not exactly inspired.

    1. Find a string and replace with another string.

    In what kind of situation would someone want to find any and all dollar values from $11.11 to $99.99 and replace them with a single value? I'm certainly not going to be applying that idea to any Financial Statements that I do.

    2. Find a string and apply formatting.

    I use change/find all the time to apply formatting, but including a wildcard character in the search negates the ability to apply any changes selected in Format Settings. Therefore it's quicker and easier to do multiple specific searches rather than using any wildcards. This second way to use wildcards should really read "Find a string (period)," and that's not really all that empowering.

    3. Find formatting and apply formatting.

    This doesn't relate to wildcards searches at all. To find formatting and apply formatting you leave the input fields blank: you do not use wildcards.

    3. Find formatting and apply formatting.

    Again, wildcards aren't used here, you would leave the Find Field blank. Even if wildcards could somehow be employed in finding formatting, again, the second half of the statement is overstated and misleading. You're talking about leaving find/change and manually applying the formatting after each find.

    To date, I have not found one practical use for wildcards in ID. I suppose this post should actually be a feature request:

    I would like wildcards to work in the "Change To" field.
    M_Blackburn@adobeforums.com Guest

  4. #4

    Default Re: Is there any value in ID's Wildcard S&R ?

    Look up GREP. It's a powerful, and comlex, search and replace routine. Your could find text in a range of legths using wildcards, and limit that text to a range of characters (like numbers only or all uppercase or only vowels). Best of all, you would apply a numerical tag in the search field, then use that tag in the replace field, lettign you change what you want changed, and keep what you want kept.

    Not that this is a practical example, but you could use it in a table to replace all quantities of oranges less than 100 (but not other fruits or quantities) to the same quantity of grapefruit. In one go.

    I have an issue with the wildcard section of ID's doentation. As it is stated, the fact that the wildcard character can only represent a single character (so "s^?ng" will find "song" but not "string"). This is not clearly stated in the manual.

    I have requested GREP search ability, or some simpler system that is superior to what we have now. At the very least, a wildcard string, maybe "^$".
    Scott_Falkner@adobeforums.com Guest

  5. #5

    Default Re: Is there any value in ID's Wildcard S&R ?

    Scott,

    Others here have mentionned GREP. It sounds like overkill for me and I don't understand how it can be used with InDesign. I don't even know what form GREP would come in: isn't it a type of programming rather than an application or a plug-in? I did a quick search on the net but all I found were text editors and such with GREP capabilities, and most of them seemed to have quite specific uses.

    What I want is really very simple: I would like to put ^9 in the Find box and in the Change box so that a S&R would find every number and not change any of them. That would open all kinds of possibilites and it seems like how wildcards should be expected to work.
    M_Blackburn@adobeforums.com Guest

  6. #6

    Default Re: Is there any value in ID's Wildcard S&R ?

    I just did a test. I searched for "sn^9^9^9^9" and entered nothing in the Change To field. I changed the formating in the Change Formatting section to change the colour only of the text. Then I clicked Change All. The text remained, but changed colour. Is that what you are looing for? Only drawback is that the length has to be spcific.

    With GREP, you could change the letters "sn" to something else, yet leave the numbers unchanged. I used in in BBEdit on a Mac to optimize a website. I changed all the GIF images to smaller PNGs, then used GREP to replace all ".gif" with ".png", but only within HTML tags (leaving any text within the pages intact).
    Scott_Falkner@adobeforums.com Guest

  7. #7

    Default Re: Is there any value in ID's Wildcard S&R ?

    Thanks Scott,

    No, that's not quite enough. Actually, I knew that works and that kind of negates my criticism of Ole's second point (my apologies Ole, I was still thinking in terms of mixing wildcards with hard searches).

    What I need is what you describe in your second paragraph. A couple of specific searches I would like to be able to do are:

    [find] ,^9 [replace] .^9
    [find] ^p^9 [replace] ^n^9

    I saw BBEdit in my web search, but I didn't think it could be used with ID's search and replace. Does it? I don't understand the implications of your example dealing with HTML tags (of which I know nothing) Maybe I'd better take another look.
    M_Blackburn@adobeforums.com Guest

  8. #8

    Default Re: Is there any value in ID's Wildcard S&R ?

    Took another quick look. BBEdit is Mac only, but even then it looks like it doesn't work inside InDesign. Is that an accurate assessment?
    M_Blackburn@adobeforums.com Guest

  9. #9

    Default Re: Is there any value in ID's Wildcard S&R ?



    Took another quick look. BBEdit is Mac only, but even then it looks like
    it doesn't work inside InDesign. Is that an accurate assessment?




    Not quite accurate. You could export text (one story at a time, though) in ID's tagged format, and run that through BBEdit. That search could be done on multiple files.

    About the HTML tags: The site had dozens of pages, some of which reviewwd programs or provided instructions for making web pages. Somewhere in the text on those pages would be the word "gif" or a reference to a gif format file. I didn't want that text to change, but I did want to chagne the html references (like "<IMG SRC="images/logo.gif>").

    I don't remember the phrasing (haven't used BBEdit in some time), but I was able to create on search and replace pattern that only affected text surrounded by "<IMG" and ">", and only changed the strign "gif" to "png". Worked perfectly, and could be applied to an entire directory of text files with one click.
    Scott_Falkner@adobeforums.com Guest

  10. #10

    Default Re: Is there any value in ID's Wildcard S&R ?

    Remember that when exporting/importing tagged text that inline frames don't round-trip (I'm not sure what happens to tables; away from my own computer right now so I can't experiment).

    Dave
    Dave_Saunders@adobeforums.com Guest

  11. #11

    Default Re: Is there any value in ID's Wildcard S&R ?

    Scott,

    Exporting, editing, and replacing, isn't an option for me. But, thanks to your input (and Ole's of course) I have been inspired with a solution.

    1. Make a character style named temp based on the text to be changed.
    2. [find] ^p^9 [change] (leave blank, but format) temp
    (The character style should be empty of any values, so at this point nothing has changed and were I to delete the temp character style, the file would be exactly as before.)
    3. [find] ^p (with format-temp) [change] ^n
    4. Delete the temp character style.

    This works for both my examples and the idea can be expanded to include more complex scenerios. I would still like ID to include wildcards in the change box, but this does the trick.

    marc
    M_Blackburn@adobeforums.com Guest

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