Thanks for coming to, the world's #1 resource for all things InDesign!

Free Video: 10 Things to Know About GREP

GREP, GREP, GREP, they’re always talking about GREP!

That’s what some of you are thinking, I know. But there’s a good reason, we talk about it all the time. It’s magic.

GREP allows you to do things that can’t be done any other way in InDesign…well, except for doing a ton of manual work. So if you like things like having weekends off, beating deadlines, impressing your boss/client, etc, there’s no better ally to have than GREP. The only problem is, using GREP involves learning some code, and not everyone enjoys that. Fortunately, David Blatner created a wonderfully user-friendly introduction to the topic in his course, 10 Things to Know About GREP.

Here’s the course description:

With its ability to find and replace character patterns in documents, GREP helps designers and editors work quickly and efficiently. Over the course of InDesign: 10 Things to Know About GREP, David Blatner demonstrates how to use GREP codes to improve workflow. He teaches GREP search techniques using patterns of numbers or letters or strings of words. David even shows how to use text patterns within a document. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:

  • Using pre-built find/change expressions
  • Reordering names in an exported list from a database
  • Working with GREP and fonts
  • Establishing character formats with GREP style
  • Using escape characters to customize code
  • Accessing the fly-out menus to specify search commands
  • Applying global conditions using GREP

In the free video below, David covers GREP basics for finding text. Check it out!

GREP basics: Using codes to find text

For members, if you are currently signed in to your account, you can also check out these videos from the series.

Not a member?
Get 10 days of free unlimited access to

Using GREP for styles

Escape characters

Finding how many and how long

Mike Rankin

Mike Rankin

Editor in Chief of, InDesign Magazine, and Author of courses on InDesign and Illustrator. Husband. Dad. Dog walker.
Mike Rankin

Latest posts by Mike Rankin (see all)

  • - November 30, -0001
Related Articles

8 Comments on “Free Video: 10 Things to Know About GREP

  1. I love GREP but am far from mastering it. I’d love to take David’s course but…

    I hate eating at all-you-can-eat buffet restaurants, not because the food isn’t good, but because my frugal gene means I eat too much and leave feeling bloated for hours afterward. And I’d never get a monthly subscription to one for the opposite reason. I’d cut back on my eating to avoid that overeating, yet hate the feeling that my money was being wasted. Indeed, I’d resent the restaurant for forcing me into such a bind.

    Lynda’s plans leave me with similar unhappiness. Reading “Unlimited learning from all 5,901 courses” leaves me feeling I’m at a buffet restaurant where the food line stretches out of sight. “Too much food, too much food,” I think. You can talk until the cows come home about what a great deal that is. But even the $20 basic plan doesn’t appeal to my budget. And yes, Adobe does the same. $20 for one app (ID), or $50 for so many I’ll never even learn the basics of most of them. Insane, particularly since ID has remained virtually unchanged since I joined CC.

    Because marketing people regard us as stupid,they think such schemes are clever. They believe we’ll say, “Oh my gosh, look what I’m getting,” while failing note what really matters—what we’re actually using. My cellular plan is that way. It gives me 100,000 text messages a month. Ever figure out what it would take to send that many? That’s sending about one every 20 seconds, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. My broadband options are similar. They want to charge too much for just broadband, but excuse that by claiming, “But look what you’d get if you signed up for all our other plans for only $20 more.” Yeah, but I wouldn’t use them. I see enough commercial-cluttered television at the homes of friends to know that I’d rather have a root canal without anesthesia than that.

    Lynda is doing the same offering those 5,901 courses. What would make me happy would be something along this line.

    — A $5/month plan, perhaps billed every three months.

    — A modest number of courses per month for that $5. Make it an amount I might actually use.

    — Rollovers, meaning that if that if I don’t use my monthly allotment, it rolls over to the next month.

    — Offline viewing. Given how common mobile devices are, it’s ridiculous to make that an option. It’s a bit like an automobile retailer claiming “Oh, you want tires on your car. Well, that’s an extra cost option.”

    And keep in mind that I’m a great fan of Lynda. Were I young and planning to go into the design field, I doubt I’d attend a pricey art & design school. I’d get the full CC suite and Lynda, for a total cost of about $80 a month, teach myself, and save a heck of a lot. But I’m no longer a student. I’ve got more to do than I have time for and only study what I need to know for any particular task. That’s why I have little time for or interest in Lynda’s buffet feast.

    In a nutshell, I don’t like this forced choice between just David’s GREP course, which all I might want to watch in a given month, and those 5,901 courses.

    –Mike Perry

    • Michael, think about what you’re saying here:
      First, you’re saying that you don’t think that taking my course — a course that I spent a long time preparing and recording, and which LDC spent a long time editing, proofing, and publishing — is worth no more than $5 to you. In fact, you’re saying that for $5 — the price of a fancy coffee — you want to be able to take multiple courses in a single month! I’m not sure how you expect me, as an author, to feel about that.

      In the “old days” if you wanted to learn something, you would quickly have shelled out $20 or so for a single book, right? But now the value of learning something has, for you, dropped so precipitously, that you’re not willing to spend $20 in order to get a wealth of information at your fingertips.

      You create books. I assume that you sell them for 50 cents each, right? Why would you possibly expect anyone to pay more than that?! No, you charge much more, because the book has value.

      The transaction is simple: If you think learning something will help you save $20, or make $20 that you wouldn’t have otherwise, then you should sign up. If you don’t believe you’re going to save or earn the money, then don’t. It’s as simple as that.

      So let’s see: If you value your time at say $50/hour, then ask yourself: Will I save myself 20 or 30 minutes by spending this money?

      Finally, why are you complaining to us about this? You should go talk with Learning about your issues.

  2. Re. offline viewing: At least on Mac, provides an app for that. (Haven’t checked Windows, but I’m guessing also.)

  3. As usual «Free Video» is pretty relative: what you get is just the intro, no 2minutes long. So that’s not really free, that’s just a teaser that you can get with ANY of the courses anywhere…

    • Actually, Olaf, you should not only get that two minute introduction but also the first video below that one. It’s a very good introduction with some simple, but useful, Grep codes. I’ve used Grep in the past and this video made a few things more clear for me. Looks like a very good course.

  4. David, I certainly agree with you, but I have a different suggestion. I purchase points from clip art sites, and use them as needed. How about purchasing viewing time without an expiration date? I’d buy the amount of hours to cover your grep course! After viewing the first free session, this is the first time I actually understand how it’s done.
    I just presented this idea to Lydia, but I’d love to hear your opinion.

    • Civi: I think it would be cool if did that. But I’m not holding my breath that they’re going to change their business model. In general, I really do think that their monthly fee is incredibly worth it. (Plus, I found out recently that some libraries now subscribe, so if you have a library card you can even watch the videos through their log-in for free!)

Leave a Reply to Steve Grey Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *