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I'm laying out a book that occasionally has sidebars and footnotes formatted in a box. At the top of each of these boxes, I'd like to have a tiny header that reads 'from the archives'.

I'm looking for a way to automatically include this with the object style for the box, rather than typing or pasting it over 1000 times. Can anyone suggest a possible solution?

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It's sadly not possible to add any kind of content with styles. Neither images, graphics nor text. In that sense InDesign styles are unlike CSS styling. (An exception is Bullets and Numbering, which actually does allow you to add some text content in the beginning of a paragraph, but to use that in this case would be really hacky and cumbersome.)

You don't have to paste the same line 1000 times though!

I don't know how your workflow is, but perhaps you could do one of the following:

  • Instead of drawing a new frame every time or pasting an empty frame, make a frame which already contains the wanted header and paste that every time.

  • Insert all the frames, make sure to use a special paragraph style for the text. Later, when all the frames are inserted, you can copy the wanted header to clipboard and use Find/Change to insert it to every frame. For example like this:

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  • Thank you, I suspected there wouldn't be a an equivilent of the css 'content' property, but it's good to know I'm not going the long way around unnecessarily. Dec 20, 2021 at 20:26
  • You could also put the header in its own little frame and paste that into the main box as an anchored object. That way you won’t have to find/change but can simply paste the box and start typing in it. Dec 27, 2021 at 23:00

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