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Tags vs. Structure

So far you’ve learned how to access and use both the Structure pane and the Tags panel. You’ve seen how the Tags panel works like a grocery list, showing you all the essential parts of your XML workflow. You’ve seen how the Structure pane works like an X-ray device, revealing how the elements are put together. Although they serve completely different purposes, their features overlap in some important and helpful ways.

Identifying Elements from the Structure Pane

Open xml_interface_4.indd from the Chapter 2 folder (Figure 2.41).

In Figure 2.42, we matched up the XML content to its display in the Structure pane. Even if you knew nothing about XML it’s easy to see the similarities. Can you see how each line in the Structure pane relates directly to the structure of the XML file? Can you figure out the element names? Can you identify the attributes?

Click the first artist icon in the Structure pane (Figure 2.43). See the tag name highlight in the Tags panel. Also notice that the icon for this element indicates that it has been placed in the layout. Because the icon and the actual content on the page are the same thing, you can use the Structure pane to identify these elements in the layout. Double-click the first artist icon in the Structure pane (Figure 2.44).

To identify XML graphic elements in your layout using the Structure pane, double-click on the first portrait element in the Structure pane (Figure 2.45).

Observe the other child elements within the first artist element. You can use the Structure pane to select them individually, too. Figure 2.46 shows how to select a single element using the Structure pane. See how each icon relates to the placed content in the layout? This connection between the Structure pane and the layout will come in very handy in our upcoming lessons as well as in your own XML workflow.

Identifying Structure from the Layout

An important aspect of the relationship between the Structure pane and the layout is that it is a two-way street. Just as you used the Structure pane to identify elements in the layout, you can use layout elements to help identify the structure (Figure 2.47).

Untagging Elements from the Structure Pane

Earlier you learned how to untag elements using the Tags panel. The Structure pane can be used to untag elements, too. Figures 2.48 through 2.50 show you how to untag a placed graphic element, untag a text element, and untag multiple elements at once, in that order.

Deleting Elements Using the Structure Pane

Placed (and/or unplaced) elements can be deleted using the Structure pane. Figure 2.52 shows how to delete a placed object, and Figure 2.53 shows how to delete multiple elements at once.

Formatting XML Content Automatically

One of the most powerful features of InDesign’s XML tools (and one of our favorites) is the ability to apply Paragraph, Character, and Table (CS3 only) styles to imported content automatically. It means that, potentially, with the right template, you could create instant documents completely formatted from scratch with a few clicks of the mouse.

Open xml_interface_5.indt and have a look at Figure 2.54.

Tagging Text Elements Automatically

If we can style text that’s already tagged, wouldn’t it be nice if you could tag text that was already styled? ’Nuff said. InDesign can do that, too! Open xml_interface_6.indt and check out Figures 2.55 and 2.56. For a detailed description on how to do this properly see Chapters 9 and 10.

Exporting XML

InDesign’s XML export interface may be your last stop in an XML workflow. To export your structured layout to XML, select File > Export. Give the file a name, choose XML from the Format pull-down menu, and click Save.

The Export XML dialog (Figure 2.57) is responsible for creating the exact type and structure of XML file you want. Take a minute to familiarize yourself with the possible settings (Table 2.2). We demonstrate what they do in detail in upcoming chapters.

Here are some brief descriptions of the XML export options:

XML Export Options





Include DTD Declaration

Includes the name and path of the DTD used within your structure. This option is only selectable when a DTD has been loaded by you or referenced by your imported XML content.

View XML Using

Select the program in which you wish to view your XML after export. You can choose any program capable of viewing XML, including compatible browsers and HTML editors, such as Adobe Dreamweaver. Deselect if you do not want to view the file.

Export from Selected Element

Allows you to export XML starting from a specific point within your structure. To use this option, you must first select the element you want to export using the Structure pane. Then choose this option within the dialog.

Export Untagged Tables as CALS XML (CS3 only)

Converts untagged tables into CALS-compatible markup. For this option to apply in InDesign, the table must sit in a tagged frame but contain no tagged elements itself.

Remap Break, Whitespace, and Special Characters (CS3 only)

Exports breaks, whitespace, and special characters as code entities, which we describe in Chapter 1. See “Wasting Spacing” in Chapter 3 for additional information.

Apply XSLT (CS3 only)

Applies an XSL stylesheet transformation to the XML upon export. As described in Chapter 1, an XSLT can reformat, filter, sort or perform some other desired transformation to the data.


Choose among UTF-8, UTF-16, or Shift_JIS encodings for the exported data. Check what type of encoding your desired application requires before exporting. For most applications, UTF-8 or UTF-16 is fine.





Copy to Images Subfolder:

InDesign can export tagged images within the document for use in an XML workflow. The images will be exported along with the XML markup into an Images Subfolder.

Original Images

Exports tagged images in their original formats.

Optimized Original Images

Exports and converts tagged images within the layout to JPEG or GIF formats.

Optimized Formatted Images

Exports images to JPEG or GIF formats that have been transformed within InDesign. Among the transformations supported are cropping, rotation, and skewing.

Image Conversion

Select the image format you want, GIF or JPEG. Automatic allows InDesign to select the type of format itself based on the image properties, such as color, quality, and so on.

GIF Options





Select from the available GIF color palettes.


Prepares images to download in alternating rows of pixels, which allows images to appear in a browser more quickly at slower connection speeds.

JPEG Options




Image Quality

Choose between high-quality, large file sizes and low-quality, small file sizes.


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