I'm doing a data merge for a letter. In the data file there is a column for "title" (Mr., Mrs., Dr. etc.) So I set up my InDesign document with:<<title>> <<first>> <<middle>> <<last>> with spaces in between each. However, some of the names in the mailing list do not have a "title" so when the merge is completed, it leaves the space that would be between "title" and "first" like this:

 John Doe
1234 Anystreet
Anytown, USA

I need to remove the space at the beginning of the name line so it will line up with the address. I felt like this would be a good use of GREP, but I don't have a lot of experience with writing expressions. It doesn't seem like it would be that difficult. Can someone help me?

1 Answer 1


Set Find What to ^ (a ^ followed by a space), leave Change to empty and press Change All.

^ starts a selection at Beginning of Paragraph and a space simply selects a space. This way you select all places where there is a beginning of a paragraph followed by a space.

If there can be multiple spaces you can keep running the search until there are no more matches or add a + after the space like this:

^ +

The + means One or More Times. So this will select all places where there is a beginning of a paragraph followed by one or more spaces.

(If you can't remember these symbols you can insert them by pressing the @ button to the right of the Find what field.)

  • Thanks Wolff. I'll give that a try.
    – user162391
    Commented Apr 8, 2021 at 17:04

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