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Create a “Clear All” Find/Change Query

When you do a lot of Find/Changes in InDesign – or even just a couple – you’ve probably noticed that the dialog box retains all your settings from one search to the next. If you keep running the same Find/Change over and over again, I guess you could consider this a feature. (But I smell an oxymoron in there somewhere …)

Book designer and InDesign professional Ariel Walden does make heavy use of Find/Change, but usually he’s running different Find/Change queries each go-round. So like the rest of us, he has to first tediously clear out all the old settings before entering new ones almost every time he uses the feature.

But unlike the rest of us, Ariel came up with a fix! Lacking a “Clear All” or “Reset” button, he suggests you create the equivalent as a custom Find/Change query. “It’s saved me dozens of clicks already!” he says, and I agree!

To create your own, open up Find/Change and (if necessary) clear the decks manually. Here’s what mine looked like when I started, revealing my most recent Find/Change (which was from a few days ago):

To completely clear it back to the default settings, do this: click in the Find What field, Select All, delete, tab to Change To, delete, deselect all Filters (those icons under the Search: menu) except for Include Footnotes, and if you have any Formatting options enabled, click the trashcan icons next to the Find Format and Change Format fields.

Oy – that’s a lot of clicking! But it’s clicking that you’ll never have to do again after you do the next step.

Save this cleaned-up Find/Change query by clicking the disk icon at the top of the dialog box. You might want to name it “Clear All” or “Ariel You’re So Clever.” I called mine “Clean Text” (thinking I’ll do the same for the GREP tab later and call it “Clean GREP”).

That’s all there is to it. The query is saved on your hard drive and is available in the Find/Change query menu for any document you open in InDesign from then on.

Now, the next time you open up Find/Change and see a bunch of old information from your previous use, just choose the “Clear All” query you saved. Everything is reset to the defaults, ta-da!

Interestingly, the “search scope” choice you make in the Search menu is not saved in the query, so you’ll still have to double-check that on your own.

Thanks Ariel!

Anne-Marie Concepcion

Anne-Marie Concepcion

Anne-Marie “Her Geekness” Concepción is the co-founder (with David Blatner) and CEO of Creative Publishing Network, which produces InDesignSecrets, InDesign Magazine, and other resources for creative professionals. Through her cross-media design studio, Seneca Design & Training, Anne-Marie develops ebooks and trains and consults with companies who want to master the tools and workflows of digital publishing. She has authored over 20 courses on on these topics and others. Keep up with Anne-Marie by subscribing to her ezine, HerGeekness Gazette, and contact her by email at or on Twitter @amarie
Anne-Marie Concepcion

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5 Comments on “Create a “Clear All” Find/Change Query

  1. I suggest an alternative approach: assign a keyboard shortcut to this simple script which clears settings in all four tabs: text, grep, glyph and object.
    app.findTextPreferences = app.changeTextPreferences = null;
    app.findGrepPreferences = app.changeGrepPreferences = null;
    app.findGlyphPreferences = app.changeGlyphPreferences = null;
    app.findObjectPreferences = app.changeObjectPreferences = null;

  2. You’re welcome!

    I called mine “ZZZ Clear All”. That way you don’t have to search for it because it will always be at the bottom of the list.

  3. i notice that i had to make two: one to clear GREPs and one to clear options in TEXT. the reason being is if i made the CLEAR ALL change while doing a text search, and then was using GREP and wanted to clear the GREP to start again, i’d find that once i went to CLEAR ALL in the dropdown field i’d be taken back to the TEXT find fields, and that the GREP wasn’t clear at all.

    at the same time, because the dropdown sorts the saved searches alphabetically, the way to make the CLEAR ALL option available quickly is to follow ariel’s own suggestion of calling the save “ZZZ Clear all”

    Still, it’s a great workaround until adobe makes that magical “CLEAR ALL” button.

    In the meantime, Kasyan’s script works well and have made it a KBSC.

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