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Synchronize Text

Synchronized text is text that is designated to remain "in synch," across multiple layouts within the same project, or even among multiple text boxes within the same layout. (I discuss projects and layouts in Chapter 4, Building Documents.) When synchronized text is changed in one place, it automatically changes in every other place that it appears. For example, let's say you synchronize the addresses in three layouts in a project: a letterhead, an envelope, and a business card. Then when you change the address in the letterhead, the address also changes in the other two layouts, too. Since XPress 6 supports both print and Web layouts in a project, you can even synchronize text between both print and Web pages.

Synchronizing text is kind of like storing text in a library (see "Libraries," later in this chapter). You first have to create one instance of the text and add it to the Synchronized Text palette; then you can drag it out of the synchronize palette for each instance where you want the text (see Figure 3-57).


Figure 3-57 Synchronizing text

Synching and Unsynching Text

Before you can synchronize text in two or more text boxes, you have to add it to the Synchronized Text palette (select Show Synchronized Text from the Window menu to open the palette). Select any text box or text path with text in it and click the Synchronize Text button on the palette. (You can also choose Synchronize from the Style menu or the context menu). XPress will ask you to give this block of text a name; you can use any name you want, as this text just appears in the palette as a label representing the block of text. When you click OK, the label name appears as a new entry in the middle section of the palette.

You can store many blocks of synchronized text within the same project. The Synchronized Text palette displays a label name for each block, and also displays the names of the layouts where the synchronized text is used.

Inserting text. Once you've got text in the Synchronized Text palette, you can use it in another text box by clicking an insertion point in any text box or text path on any layout in the same project, selecting a label name in the Synchronized Text palette, and clicking the Insert Text into Text Box button. Similarly, you can simply drag and drop the label name over the box or path. Now the text is "synched." If you've already got text in the box or path, XPress asks if you're sure you want to replace the contents. (Synchronized text has to be the only thing in a text box or text path.)

You can recognize text boxes or text paths that have synchronized text because their handles look like they've been electrified (they have little lightning bolts in them).

Editing text. When you need to change synchronized text, just select it in any of the boxes or paths where it's used and edit it as usual. (There is no "master" box; any synchronized box will do.) It changes immediately in all of its instances—even several times on the same page if you've used it more than once.

Note that only the text (the actual letters and numbers and symbols) is synchronized. The text formatting is not synchronized. When you first synchronize text it copies the formatting of the original, but you can reformat the text in each text box for a different look, and it'll still remain synchronized. For instance, you might want some text to appear in one font and size on a brochure (print layout) but in a totally different font and size in a Web page (Web layout).

Editing the text label. You can edit the name of the synchronized text label at any time. Simply select the label name on the Synchronized Text palette, and either click the Edit Name button or choose Edit Name from the context menu (Control-click or right-button click on the label).

Unsynchronizing text. Sometimes you might need to "unsynch" either one instance or all the instances of a synchronized text block. For example, if you've synchronized addresses in all your layouts but the address for the business card has to be listed in a more condensed way. Since all synched text blocks must share exactly the same content, you'll have to unsynchronize that box on the business card layout; the other instances remain synchronized. To do this, select the text box or text path with the Content tool. Then choose Unsynchronize Text from the Style menu or the context menu.

If you want to unsynchronize all instances of a synchronized text block, select the label name in the Synchronized Text palette and then either click the Unsynchronize All button, or choose Unsynchronize All from the context menu. The label name remains (in case you want to use it again), but all the instances of the formerly "synched" text can now be edited independently. (If you need to resynchronize the text again, just drag the label name over one or more text boxes.)

Removing the text and label. Synchronized text remains saved in the Synchronized Text palette, whether it's used or not, until you remove it. To remove the text from the project, select the label name for the synchronized text, and click the Remove Item button (or choose Remove Content Item from the context menu). This both removes the label from the palette and unsynchronizes all the text boxes, so you can now edit them independently.

Limitations of Synchronizing

While you'll find many useful ways to use this feature, you should also be aware of its limitations. The synchronize text feature always includes all the text in the text box. You can't include just part of it. Each instance of the text must be exactly the same (except you can change the formatting in each instance).

Text on a master page can't be synchronized, nor can text with anchored items. There is also no way to synchronize text between different projects (all the layouts that use the text must exist within the same project).

I wish that Quark had also included the ability to synchronize graphics as well as text. Maybe we'll get that in the next version.

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