I'm trying to get an InDesign script that works like this: "In the currently selected text, whenever a Paragraph Style B appears after a Paragraph Style A, change that Paragraph Style B to Paragraph Style C."

If there's a way to do it with Find/Change, that would also work.

AI was able to write a functional script that does this globally, but failed to write one that works only in the current selection. Here's the failed attempt, for reference:

var selectedPars = app.selection;
for (var i = 0; i < selectedPars.length - 1; i++) {
    if (selectedPars[i].appliedParagraphStyle.name == "Paragraph Style A" && selectedPars[i + 1].appliedParagraphStyle.name == "Paragraph Style B") {
        selectedPars[i + 1].appliedParagraphStyle = "Paragraph Style C";

And here's the script that runs globally, working as intended, also for reference:

var allPars = app.activeDocument.textFrames.everyItem().paragraphs.everyItem().getElements();
for (var i = 0; i < allPars.length - 1; i++) {
    if (allPars[i].appliedParagraphStyle.name == "Paragraph Style A" && allPars[i + 1].appliedParagraphStyle.name == "Paragraph Style B") {
        allPars[i + 1].appliedParagraphStyle = "Paragraph Style C";

Any help is appreciated!

  • I think the problem is that app.selection will be a different class depending on what you have selected, but the script assumes that it's an array of paragraphs. Try running a script with alert(app.selection) with different things selected. Selecting a text frame will alert object TextFrame, a whole paragraph: object Paragraph, a single letter: object Character, a selection across paragraph: object Text, a whole column: object TextColumn etc. You need you script to differentiate between these.
    – Wolff
    Commented Sep 29, 2023 at 16:06
  • This is a good documentation of the ExtendScript API. I've tried using ChatGPT (which I assume you've used here) to help me write scripts for InDesign. It's useful for inspiration I would say, but it always misses details about how the object model works. Uses methods/attributes that doesn't exist, simplifies too much and so on.
    – Wolff
    Commented Sep 29, 2023 at 16:09

1 Answer 1



app.doScript(main, ScriptLanguage.JAVASCRIPT, undefined, UndoModes.ENTIRE_SCRIPT, "Set Answer Styles");

function main() {

    var questionStyle = app.activeDocument.paragraphStyles.itemByName("Paragraph Style A");
    var answerStyleA = app.activeDocument.paragraphStyles.itemByName("Paragraph Style B");
    var answerStyleB = app.activeDocument.paragraphStyles.itemByName("Paragraph Style C");
    var answerStyleAParagraphIndex = 1; // first answer (change to 2 for 2nd answer, etc.)

    app.findTextPreferences = null;
    app.findTextPreferences.appliedParagraphStyle = questionStyle;
    var myResults = app.activeDocument.findText();
    // iterate over each found questionStyle paragraph
    for (i = 0; i < myResults.length; i++) {
        var myParagraph = myResults[i];
        var paragraphIndex = 1; // counter

        // iterate over the non-question-style paragraphs directly after the question
        while (myParagraph.isValid) {
            myParagraph = myParagraph.parentStory.paragraphs.nextItem(myParagraph);
            if (!myParagraph.isValid || myParagraph.appliedParagraphStyle === questionStyle) {
                // is either invalid (doesn't exist) or it's another question

            // use index of paragraph to set styles
            if (paragraphIndex == answerStyleAParagraphIndex) {
                myParagraph.appliedParagraphStyle = answerStyleB;


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