Pretty straightforward, as in the title.

Our University paper's staff sometimes doesn't have the manpower to even Search for Lorem Ipsums, and often times other basic omissions occur, like updating the Issue number, changing contributor's names copy-pasted from past documents, et cetera.

Obviously I'm able to fix these all myself but that's not always an option, due to time constraints or not being present.

I wonder, is there a way to flag specific elements of documents in such a way that the file cannot be exported or printed without a warning or a prompt, asking to confirm that the element is updated? Or is there a way to not allow export until blank elements are properly filled in?
(In the event that it's relevant, we ship PDF/X-1 normally)

Really hopeful here :)


Well, there's no Intelligent Proofreader plug-in that I know of. :)

What you're looking for is less an InDesign feature than a bit of workflow organization with some assistance from the program.

Here are a couple of ways you could use the built-in preflight to help prevent the more egregious errors:

  • If you've ID CS4 (iirc, certainly CS5) or later you have live preflight. Set up a custom preflight profile to watch for images that are low-res placeholders.

  • The default preflight profile already checks for overset text, so you can always add some random text a bit wider than the frame (so it wraps), highlight it and set it to No Break from the Character Panel flyout. It will always be overset, since it can't display in the text frame. Use the story editor to remove when the text is final.

Both of these will alert when trying to make a PDF.

A couple other possibilities, which won't explicitly flag on Export but will at least give very obvious visual cues:

  • Use Lauren Ipsum's wonderful trick (scroll to her answer) of setting character/paragraph styles for placeholder or unresolved text that colors it 100% magenta and very hard to miss. She'll likely chip in with sage words here, as she has a similar repeating-item workflow.

  • As a general indicator, set an Object Style that applies a 30% magenta fill to the default text frame (you can do this in your template) and a "Done" object style that removes it. Insist that the Object style is changed only after the text has been proofed. Do something similar for the default graphics frame (a stroke, though, rather than a fill).

Finally, proofread! (There ain't no substitute. Really.)


In addition to Alan's excellent answer, and my original suggestion of coloring dummy text or last issue's text magenta, you could try the following:

  • When you start a new document or duplicate the previous issue to create the new one, either color every box 30% magenta, or create a magenta box and slap it on top of every copy box and every photo. You have to delete the box to update the copy. If you haven't, when you print it or make a PDF, this big honkin' pink box will catch your eye.
  • Call your default layer "Not Updated." Create a new layer called "Updated." ONLY when you update each item, move it to the "Updated" layer. Turn off the "Not Updated" layer before you print or export. If it's not there, it's not updated yet. If you duplicate last issue to make this issue, the first thing you do is move every item back to the "Not Updated" layer.
  • Proofread. Seriously. You can't get around it. If you don't have the time or personnel, then something is wrong with your setup, and you need to go to your faculty advisor and/or your general editor and insist on some changes.
  • 1
    Thank you for the excellent reply! You and Alan both deserve the credit for the Answer here. Thanks! :) – scott_karana Sep 5 '11 at 4:04

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