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Finding Empty Text Frames in InDesign

RC wrote:

How can I find an empty text frame in InDesign?

I’m not sure if you’re asking how to find them, or how to delete them… but here are two answers:

Find

First, you can find an empty text frame using the Find/Change dialog box. First, click the GREP tab, and then type \A\Z in the Find What field. That code (backslash-A-backslash-Z) will search for a frame that contains a story with no text. (In the case of multiple frames threaded together, but with no story, it will find only the first frame in the thread.)

In this case, it places the text cursor inside the frame. If you want to delete it, you’d have to press Esc (to select the frame) and then the Delete key.

Script

Another option is to use a script. For example, Harbs at In-Tools.com wrote a short script called DeleteEmptyFrame.jsx that will delete all empty frames in a document.

(If you need help installing scripts, see this post.)

Of course, a text frame with a single blank space it in is no longer “empty,” so the script won’t find it. Another thing the script won’t find is a frame that has xml tags in it but no text. I assume that’s because the xml tags are probably some kind of invisible or hidden text in the frame. I saw an AppleScript here that looks for frames that have zero words in them, that apparently works.

Plug-in

The Blatner Tools plug-in from DTP Tools (yes, I did have something to do with this one) includes a plug-in called Quality Assurance (or QA) which can find empty frames, as well as lots of other possible problem areas of documents.

(Note that QA and BT haven’t been released for InDesign CC yet. Any day now, though!)

I hope that helps!

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8 Comments on “Finding Empty Text Frames in InDesign

  1. I checked out Blatner Tools for the first time and I’m impressed. I’ll probably get it when the CC version is released. It should easily pay for itself in time saved.

    One question though. Watching the overall video and looking at the feature list, the current tool seem print oriented. There are some additional checks that’d be useful for digital books.

    I’m using ID to create ePub ebooks for Amazon and Apple and both companies have different image size requirements that can result in a rejected submission. That’s not just for images in the body of the book, it’s also for the cover image placed inside the ePub. Amazon doesn’t like body images to be very large. Apple is very picky about that cover image. That’s not a minor thing. It’s been my #1 hassle with uploads to both, in part because their error messages are cryptic. Looking through dozens of images to find one that’s off-spec can be a time consuming hassle.

    Any chance the CC version could include:

    1. Checking links for images greater that a certain file size or not a certain file type (jpg, tif or png)

    2. Checking for images with an effective DPI (after enlargement) below a certain user-set point. That’s easy to miss when you have dozens.

    3. Checking that ePub cover image for certain specs and perhaps the necessary meta-data.

    Personally, I’d love to see different sets of checks that could be selected. One for print with a greater DPI expected for images. One for Apple that allows larger images. One for Amazon with woefully small image sizes. It’d also be great if Tools came from your developers with Amazon/Apple’s current specs in place but changeable by the user.

    Then I could run the print check and do the PDF. Then do the Apple check and save Apple’s ePub. Then run the Amazon check and do the ePub I rather stubbornly send them.

    All these different specs and getting the right each time drives me mad. Adding more digital checks should help sell Blatner Tools to all those who, like me, are going digital but wishing it wasn’t so messy.

    –Michael W. Perry

  2. I feel that a DISCLAIMER at the start of this article should be there, given that an empty text frame may still contain:

    * a stroke;
    * a fill;
    * type on a path around it;
    * a text wrap

    So a well-intentioned script such as Harbs’ script may delete more than just what the user thinks it will delete.

    I did produce a script with lots of help that removes empty text frames only if all the criteria are met, but rather than plug my own blog :D, will point to all the behind-the-scenes working on the adobe forum: http://forums.adobe.com/message/5949035#5949035

    • @Anita, well, that’s a cool feature, but it doesn’t necessarily just delete empty pages from throughout the document. It’s connected specifically with Smart Text Reflow.

  3. Hi David;

    I am trying to print out my 252 Hebrew page book to pdf but one spread isn’t printing out (the running header and number footer are also not showing on the spread when viewing it through indesign),

    Any idea what the cause?

    thank you

  4. I have heard about a script that converts Empty Text Frames to Unassigned Frames, instead of deleting them.
    Some frames/boxes with Fills/Outlines are part of my layout but has been double clicked and converted to text boxes by some user.
    Now I want those empty text frames to be just frames.

    Anyone remember the script, please

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