Hidden Characters

This topic contains 7 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  David Blatner 1 month, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #110401


    For the past years, I have been using this script that allows me to update prices.

    In an Excel, we have 2 columns: “Unique key” and “Price”
    The script reads out the key from InDesign, looks for this key in Excel and places the corresponding price from the inside InDesign.

    This script has been working without a problem untill recently.

    After looking into this issue, I managed to find what causing the problem. When i turn on hidden characters, i see the following:


    The script works on the top cell (#) but not on the cell below (#::). The fact that there are :: is what stops the script from running.

    I noticed that the hidden character (#::) only shows up when I add a new row to a table or when I use tab.
    A newly created table (#) does not give any issues.

    So far, I found 2 solutions for the issue: Either copy the “working” cells over the cells that got issues (so the ones with #::) or create a new table with the correct amount of cells and copy over the hidden keys.

    Is there any other solution to fix this problem? Sadly the script is encoded and the developper changed jobs.

  • #110408

    # means a empty cell, buth with ::# the cell isn’t empty. If you add new cells, they are empty. The : is a hidden character for everything, that has no own hidden character in InDesign. This can be a mark, but also a character that comes during an import.

  • #110409

    Hi Kai,

    Thank you for you feedback. However, I just don’t understand how Indesign thinks that the newly created rows/cells have any tekst inside.

    Even when I add a value 1 : keeps showing up:


    I have deleted my preferences but that didnt help me out. What i do find strange is that i dont have this error on my pc at home.
    Both have the same Indesign version 13.1 (unless there’s a difference in a minor version but i couldnt figure out how to find this exactly). The only difference is that i got EeasyCatalog installed on 1 pc

  • #110419

    Peter Kahrel

    > unless there’s a difference in a minor version but i couldnt figure out how to find this exactly

    Help > Ctrl+click ‘About InDesign

    > The only difference is that i got EeasyCatalog installed on 1 pc

    That’ll be the one where you see that : code, right? That code indicates a text anchor, which is probably placed there by EasyCatalog. You can verify that by uninstalling EasyCatalog and see if that makes a difference in InDesign.

  • #110423

    Hi Peter,

    Thank you for the help.

    I checked the InDesign version that I got installed at home and at work but both of them are version
    Then I verified with my colleague and her version is, however she has the same problem with the :

    As I didn’t know what would be the impact if i deïnstalled EC from my pc, I decided to install the free EC reader on the other pc. My colleague also got this installed

    Turns out its EC that adds the extra : to the table. After removing the plug-in, the table was back to “normal”.

    Now, is there anything from my end that i can do to fix this or would my best shot be contacting 65Bit, the creator of EasyCatalog, and explain the issue?

  • #110424

    Peter Kahrel

    65Bit surely puts those anchors there for a reason, but you could ask what the purpose is and whether it’s safe to remove those characters. On the other hand, maybe it’s safer to redefine your script’s notion of what constitutes an empty cell. Instead of saying ‘a cell is empty if its text is an empty string’, say ‘a cell is empty if its text is a (: character) or an empty string’. And add your content to the cell’s content.

  • #110426

    I contacted 65Bit and asked them what the use was of the :. It turned out that they used the : to store cell related options. Recently they made a change, so the : only appears when necessary.

    After updating the plug-in with a pre-release version, the : stopped showing up. There’s also a solution for the cells that were created before.

    I agree that it changing the script would have been a much better/easier solution. However, the developer (external partner) encoded the script and on top of that, he changed jobs.

    I’ll see if I can get in touch with him, so when a similar issue arises, we can fix it here internally.

  • #110428

    David Blatner

    Yes, that “:” character is typically the invisible character, which is often used by plug-in developers… and Adobe, too! For example, if you make an index entry, you may also see that.

    Both Peter and Kai are expert scripters, so if you do need to rewrite the script to redefine what “empty” means, I’m sure someone here can help. :-)

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