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Repeat After Me Supercharges Your Production with Single Step Action

Okay, so you’ve laid out your document? it’s beautiful, but you just realized you need to make all the text frames a half-inch shorter. Before you tear your hair out, remember that InDesign can sometimes repeat the last thing you’ve done!

For example, in the case of changing the size of an object, you could immediately select another object on the page and choose Object > Transform Again > Transform Again. That applies the same transformation to the newly selected object. Or, you could transform an object (“transform” means moving, rotating, scaling, or shearing) and then select more than one object on that spread or any other spread, and then choose Object > Transform Again > Transform Again Individually. The “individually” part means perform the same transformation to each of these selected objects, one at a time (rather than to the whole group, as though the group were a single object).

Transform Again

So let’s say you have a 300-page book and you’ve changed the height of the frame on the first page. Now you want to change the height on every other page. Does that mean using Transform Again hundreds of times? Well, it depends. If your text frames are all touching margin guides, then you could turn on Layout Adjustment, and the text frames would change when you change the margin guides. But if your text frames are not touching margin guides? In that case, yes, you’re going to be using Transform Again a lot?

?unless?

Repeat After Me

The folks at Rorohiko have come up with an amazing little plug-in, called Repeat After Me. The concept is simple: You do something to one object, then right-click on it (or Control-click with a one-button mouse), and choose “Repeat After Me For Items With Similar” from the context menu:

Repeat After Me

As you can see above, you can choose from a list of similarities. For example, if you choose Height, then the plug-in will change every object that has the same height. (That is, the height the object was before you did something to it.) 

With Repeat After Me, you could change all the text frames on every page of that 300-page document in the blink of an eye!

Other examples:

  • Apply a background color to a frame and then use Repeat After Me to apply the same color to every other object on the same layer, throughout the document.
  • Apply Fill Frame Proportionally to one image in a document and then use the plug-in to apply it to all your other image frames, too.
  • Change the color of a frame’s stroke and then apply that same change to all the other text frames that have the same first paragraph style in them.
There are some limitations at this time. The first one is that it’s just a single step — and you can’t save that action to apply later. That means this is certainly no Action Panel (which many InDesign users have asked for). Also, it doesn’t currently apply everything you can do to objects. For example, I just tried applying a text wrap to an object and it would not apply that same text wrap to other similar objects in my document. But right now I’m using the 1.0 version, which means that I’m sure it’ll soon be getting better and better.

Repeat After Me is a pretty darn nifty, and it can certainly save you a lot of time. It’s only $19, which means it could pay for itself if you use it even just once on a big job.

David Blatner

David Blatner

David Blatner is the co-founder of the Creative Publishing Network, InDesign Magazine, and the author or co-author of 15 books, including Real World InDesign. His InDesign videos at Lynda.com are among the most watched InDesign training in the world. You can find more about David at 63p.com.
David Blatner

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7 Comments on “Repeat After Me Supercharges Your Production with Single Step Action

  1. Do you think it would find inline objects? I have a devil of a time trying to select objects that have been anchored or placed inline.

    • I downloaded the demo and tried it, the answer seems to be no. So if you need to change the size for example of any items that are inline, the plugin doesn’t seem to be able to see them.

  2. @Salieri: I received an email from the developer yesterday saying that this was helpful info, because they’re trying to figure out what else it needs to be able to do.

    @Lenny: not sure what you mean. Many people have asked for a way to put dimension in object styles, but there is no good way to do that. There are some workarounds, though, such as:
    http://indesignsecrets.com/make-an-object-style-specify-frame-width.php
    and
    http://indesignsecrets.com/creating-a-fixed-height-frame.php

  3. Hi David,
    Thanks so much for this review. It is still early days for RepeatAfterMe but we are very keen to make it more powerful!

    @Salieri. Good observation, I’ve just uploaded a new version to the Rorohiko website(1.0.4) that allows you to use it to apply action to inline objects. Hope this helps..

    I also added a few more actions it will copy including applying textWrapping options, changing stroke type, and changing corner options.

    Note it also happily will apply object styles, so this is a quick way of cleaning up a messy document that should have been using object styles in the first place.

  4. The idea is great. In word you can do that for a long time with ctrl Y. But the problem with this plug-in is that it repeat an action over the whole document. It would be more useful if it also offered the possibility to do just where you decide to do it.
    I just won’t be able to use it for text changes. Too bad …

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