Typesetting Conventions

The WFDW is based in structure tagging, but the rendering needs of typesets sometimes require modifications to certain elements. ScML conventions allow for this flexibility, as well as accounting for text that applies only to the typeset versions of projects. ScML works in coordination with InDesign’s native features and the Scribe Tools for InDesign to facilitate the creation of print versions while maximizing the ability to export content for archival and future use.

-alt Styles

-alt styles can be used to create rendering variation for styles in a print version that would not be considered structurally different in the archival ScML. If the distinction is to be retained permanently, distinct ScML styles should be applied to those elements.

Any style can have an “-alt” variation, and designers/typesetters can create as many as are needed.

Commonly, numbers are used (-alt1, -alt2, etc.), but text can be used after the trigger of -alt (-alt blue, -altlarger, alt-[ANY TEXT HERE]).

When using the Scribe Tools for InDesign to map content to the sam.dtd for export, the -alt styles will map back to the original style name, thereby losing any distinction (ah-alt1 and ah-alt2 would both map back to ah).

Break Characters

Soft Returns

Soft returns can be used to force a word to the next line. Soft returns retain the integrity of a paragraph while forcing a line break. They are removed when exporting content with the Scribe Tools for InDesign, so spaces should be retained between words when applying soft returns.

Forced Column and Page Breaks

Forced column breaks can be used to force a paragraph to the next column or page. Forced column breaks should appear at the very end of the paragraph, rather than on their own lines.

Combo Styles

Any character style can be paragraph specific by adding the paragraph style name in front of it, followed by a hyphen, as long as that exact paragraph style name is in the paragraph style sheet.

For example, if a project has italics that need to be defined exclusively for blockquotes (bq) because of a specific font need, a designer/typesetter can create a character style called bq-i, and that will map to i automatically when exporting with the Scribe Tools for InDesign.

Custom Styles

ScML includes three custom character styles (ccust1, ccust2, and ccust3) and three custom paragraph styles (pcust1, pcust2, and pcust3) that are available for designers to create unique elements and still control them through InDesign’s style sheets. If more are needed, -alt variations can be created for any style. (Note: -alt variations should only be used if the distinction does not need to be retained for the archival ScML file.)

ScML can accommodate the vast majority of situations needed for a book’s content. Custom styles are typically most useful for decorative elements.

Image Cropping and Placement

Image Cropping

Images should be cropped to the appropriate size, rather than masking the content with the object frame. This enables the same image files to be used and to appear the same way in the typeset as they will appear in other versions, such as e-books.

Color images can be placed in the typeset and output as grayscale when producing the print PDF.

Image Placement

Images can be placed outside of the text flow (commonly, at the top or bottom of pages) in-line with the text.

Text wrap can be used to force text to move around an object.

Note: Text wrap can interfere with vertical justification settings in text boxes.

Images do not need to be anchored. The Scribe Tools for InDesign will anchor images when exporting to .sam. No items are anchored if exporting IDTT.

InDesign’s Style Options

Bullets and Numbering

Bullets and numbers should be literal content when typesetting in the WFDW. Content that has been generated automatically by InDesign is considered a text variable and is not included when exporting text.

Drop Caps, Nested Styles, and GREP Styles

Rendering options can be applied using InDesign’s options for nested or GREP styles. When exporting with the Scribe Tools for InDesign, nested styles are made literal and are retained in the resulting XML output.

Rules, Shading, and Baseline Shifts

It is standard practice to add aspects such as rules, shading, and baseline shifts. Information about this rendering is not retained outside of InDesign.


InDesign layers can be used to hide content from the visible output. Any layer set to be invisible will not be included when extracting content with the Scribe Tools for InDesign.

Manual Overrides

Manual overrides should never be used to apply settings that need to be retained permanently in the archival ScML. Nearly all aspects of rendering can be applied through the style sheets and master pages. The most common manual override in the WFDW is the limited adjustment of kerning to help balance lines and paragraphs. No information from manual overrides is retained when exporting content with the Scribe Tools for InDesign.

Tables and Tabs

InDesign Tables

Tables created in Microsoft Word will import as InDesign tables. Cell styles will import automatically with the names thcell, tchcell, and tdcell. Designers/typesetters can create new cell style names with any name. Cell style names are not retained when exporting content with the Scribe Tools for InDesign.

InDesign tables, including information about column spans, are retained when exporting using the Scribe Tools for InDesign. Borders and shading information are not retained.


Tabs can be used (including specialized right-align tabs) to place content on pages. Most commonly, tabs are used in tables of contents, lists, and notes.

Tabs are retained when exporting content with the Scribe Tools for InDesign. If proceeding to produce an e-book, tabs should be removed from the .sam file before processing to ScML. Tabs should either be deleted or replaced with a space, as needed.

Note: Known tab-spacing patterns, such as tabs around numbers in lists, footnotes, and endnotes, can be changed to spacing appropriate for digital formats automatically by the Digital Hub if the Adjust Typesetter Tabs setting is enabled.

Text Flow

WFDW typeset files should have one major text flow for the main body text. Other items can appear outside of the text flow, such as images, tables, and sidebars. These items will be anchored when exporting .sam with the Scribe Tools for InDesign. No items are anchored if exporting IDTT.

Text Variables

InDesign has the capability of populating fields such as running heads through text variables. Text variables can use custom text or pull from paragraph or character styles. Commonly, book titles (bk), part titles (pt), author names (au), or chapter titles (ct, ctfm, ctbm) are used.

If text is needed that has not already been identified with an ScML style, the rhref style can be applied, typically defined in the style sheet not to modify the paragraph’s rendering.

Note: Text variables cannot retain a mix of character styles. If a running head needs to include both roman and italic text, for example, this should be applied directly onto a master page.

Typeset-Only Styles

rh, rhv, rhr

Running head paragraphs that use the rh (running head), rhv, (running head verso), and rhr (running head recto) styles will automatically be deleted by the Scribe Tools for InDesign when exporting content.


The tocnum (table of contents number) can be applied to the page numbers listed in a table of contents, even if it is not defined with a different rendering from the toc paragraphs in InDesign. Text using this style will automatically be deleted by the Scribe Tools for InDesign when exporting content.


Anything identified with the tso (typesetter only) character style will automatically be deleted by the Scribe Tools for InDesign when exporting content. The tso style can be applied to elements such as thin spaces, hair spaces, or hyphens that have been typed to force a word to break at a particular spot. It should never be applied to content that is meant to be retained in a project’s archival ScML.

Typesetter Spaces

Nonbreaking spaces are retained when exporting content using the Scribe Tools for InDesign.

Hair spaces, thin spaces, em spaces, and en spaces are retained as regular spaces.