Scribe Tools for InDesign Documentation

Scribe Tools for InDesign is a suite of integrated scripts that makes it easier to typeset Well-Formed Document Workflow books and to export adaptable content.

Install or Update Scribe Tools

Unzip the file. Open the Scripts panel in InDesign. In the Scripts panel, use the Reveal in Finder/Explorer option to find the User folder. Copy the ScribeTools folder into the Scripts Panel folder. (On a PC, the correct ScribeTools folder might be within a folder with the same name or with an “scr-” prefix.)

To Install Scribe Tools

Expand the ScribeTools folder in InDesign’s Scripts panel. Select and run the scr-install.jsx file. Restart InDesign. A Scribe Tools menu will display along the top of the application.

Once installed, the Scribe Tools folder will be found in the following location:


[DRIVE]:\Users\[USER]\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\InDesign\Version [VERSION #]\en_US\Scripts\Scripts Panel\ScribeTools


[HDD NAME]\Users\[USER]\Library\Preferences\Adobe InDesign\Version [VERSION #]\en_US\Scripts\Scripts Panel\ScribeTools

To Update Scribe Tools

Replace the current ScribeTools folder with the updated one and restart InDesign. If the tools do not update, rerun scr-install.jsx and restart InDesign.

Using Scribe Tools for InDesign

File Information

Get Character Code

Returns the character code of the first character in the text selection and provides a link to more information online. Also available from the context menu.

Get File Information

Returns file statistics for the active file, all open files, or files selected from a directory.

Export XML

See Export .sam from InDesign for information on the use of these tools.

Export IDTT

See Export IDTT from InDesign for information on the use of these tools.


Add Cover Page

Inserts selected cover image onto its own page “Cov-1” in a new section at the front of the book. If you do not select a file, a blank page Cov-1 will be inserted.

Links toc paragraphs to the page number indicated on the table of contents line. For the link to be generated, the page number must be located at the beginning or end of the line and separated from the rest of the line by a tab. Page numbers in toc paragraphs must be digits or lowercase roman numerals.

Add Bookmarks

Adds bookmarks based on where chapter, part, and unit header styles occur (e.g., cn, pn, un).

The tool will ask you whether you want to add words like “Chapter” and “Part” before your bookmarks. Select “Yes” if your book uses numerals (“1”) or spelled-out numbers (“One”) for cn and you would like for the bookmark to be “Chapter 1” or “Chapter One” instead.

The tool will also ask you whether you want to create bookmarks for ah elements. Typically, the answer to this is no.

Before placing the bookmarks, you will have the opportunity to review and edit the bookmarks in an interactive window. You can add or remove bookmarks, change the page where they should be placed, or change their name. You can even use GREP searches to make global replacements within the bookmarks if you need to format the bookmarks differently.

When you are ready, click “OK” to insert the bookmarks into the document.

Set Metadata

Sets title and author metadata for the file. A convenience button tries to select this text automatically from the content of the book. However, this should be reviewed to confirm content has not been missed.


For information on the use of Add Endnote Page Ranges, see Endnote Page Ranges.

Increment Selected Endnotes

Adds one to each endnote number or endnote reference within the selected text. This is useful when a note has been added, deleted, or moved. Also available from the context menu.

Decrement Selected Endnotes

Subtracts one from each endnote number or endnote reference within the selected text. This is useful when a note has been added, deleted, or moved. Also available from the context menu.

Creates hyperlinks between endnote numbers and endnote references for use in web-ready PDFs. (This procedure is not related to linking in e-books, which is handled within the Digital Hub.)

The a-heads used to divide endnotes must be named consistently for -alt variations. When selecting the style in this tool’s interface, select the main ah style rather than the “aft” variation.

Scribe recommends naming the a-heads in Notes sections in one of the following ways:

  • ah / ahaft
  • ah-alt / ahaft-alt
  • ah-altbm / ahaft-altbm

Note: After running the tool, links will be listed in the Hyperlinks menu. If any are missing, check that the file has section breaks in the expected locations and that the a-head text corresponds with the chapter number and/or title of the body section.

Add Pages to Endnotes

Adds page numbers to the start of linked endnotes corresponding to the location of the appropriate enref. This tool can be used to set up blind endnotes. While blind endnotes are strongly discouraged in the Well-Formed Document Workflow for a number of reasons, this tool can be used when such treatment is absolutely necessary. The full workaround for handling blind endnotes is described on its own documentation page.

Tabify Endnotes

Adjusts tab settings to accommodate long endnote numbers.

Embed Endnotes

Embeds en and subsequent note paragraphs into the text at existing enref spans.

In InDesign 2018, Adobe introduced embedded endnotes. Scribe does not yet recommend using these, as the options to renumber endnotes by section are limited, and the ability to import and export this data is still problematic. The above endnote tools do not work with embedded endnotes at this time. The Embed Endnotes tool is available as a general utility for embedding endnotes already tagged with the appropriate ScML styles. This tool should only be used at the beginning of the typesetting process, as using it can cause significant reflow throughout the document.


Place Single Image

When selecting an image callout, inserts the unanchored image onto the pasteboard. Alternate text in image callouts are saved in the image’s object export options.

  • If the image is present in the subdirectory “[project-name]-images,” the image will be placed automatically. Otherwise, a file dialog will open from which the file can be selected.
  • If the image is larger than the width or height of the page trim, it will be scaled proportionately to fit within the trim.
  • Any selected figcap or figh paragraphs will be pulled from the source text flow into a new text box.
  • Also available from the context menu.
  • Object styles are applied to anchored figures and figure caption text boxes. Figures are tagged with “figure-textbox” while captions are tagged with “figh-textbox.” If the figh-textbox style hasn’t been previously defined, it will receive a default inset based on figh or figcap paragraph style leading.

Place All Images

Places all images at locations indicated by Scribe image queries. Anchor type, alignment, and scale can be set for each image. The option “rescale oversized images as needed to fit within the page margin” will scale down images proportionately to fit within the trim. Alternate text in image callouts are saved in the image’s object export options.

Image queries ({~?~IM: insert [image name] here.}) can be added in Word using the SAI’s Insert Queries tool.

URLs and Linking

Rebreak URLs

Applies Chicago Manual of Style URL-breaking rules to url-scribed text.

Finds potential URLs, email addresses, and Twitter handles and generates hyperlinks for them. Do not run if the document contains a large number of URLs that should not be linked. Check the Hyperlinks panel for correctness of URLs; in cases where a full URL is not supplied, the generated link may be incorrect. Also available from the Hyperlinks Panel menu.

Removes some extra hyperlink data that is difficult to remove using InDesign’s interface. This is used to troubleshoot certain issues that come up in projects with PDF linking but is not required for most typesets.

Creates hyperlinks for internal references (i.e., “see Chapter 2 for more information”) that will be maintained into e-book or web PDF outputs. Check the Hyperlinks panel for correctness of links; false positives are possible, particularly if a book contains references to other books.

Checks hyperlinks for known issues that interfere with exporting XML. InDesign will fail to map styles if it encounters the following scenarios:

  1. Hyperlink that contains a paragraph break
  2. Hyperlink that contains more than one character style (including [None])
  3. Hyperlink that overlaps a character style that extends beyond the text of the link

The tool will indicate hyperlinks that fall into one of these categories so that they can be checked for misapplied character styles and paragraph breaks. Running the tool is recommended for any document that will be exported to .sam if the document contains any hyperlinks. Also available from the Hyperlinks Panel menu.


Ungroup Paragraph/Character Styles

Moves any styles from groups into the main style area and deletes the groups. Alerts the user if any styles appear in more than one group. Also available from the Styles Panel menus.

Unbase All Styles

Removes the “based on” connections between styles so that changes made to one no longer affect others.

Set Up Language Styles

Changes the language of Hebrew and Arabic character styles so that combining characters display correctly. Applies the “Adobe World Ready Paragraph Composer” to paragraph styles with an “-altworld” attribute. This paragraph style setting is required for paragraphs that include text from right-to-left languages—without it, characters will not be interpreted and displayed in the correct order.

Text Direction

For information on this feature, see Text Direction.

Review Paragraph Style Sizing

Shows the font and leading size for all the paragraph styles in the document. Copy the results from this report into a spreadsheet or text editor for easier reading and to spot potential inconsistencies in a document’s design.

Review Based-On Settings

Reports the “based-on” hierarchy of paragraph, character, and object styles in a tabbed format. Use this report to check which styles are based on other styles throughout InDesign’s style sheets. Copy the results from this report into a spreadsheet or text editor for easier reading.

Modify Styles in Bulk

Finds all styles with a particular attribute and value (e.g., all paragraph styles with first-line indentation of 12 pt) and changes them throughout the entire document to a new value. This modifies all matching styles, so pay attention to the list of styles the tool adjusts.

The following attributes can be modified using this tool: space before, space after, first-line indent, left indent, right indent, point size, leading, and tab position. If modifying the leading or point size, paragraph and character styles will be adjusted. Otherwise, only paragraph styles are changed by this tool.

Preview Styles in Text Frame

Creates a text box on the pasteboard beside the current page containing samples of all paragraph and character styles formatted with the style applied.

Report All Style Issues

Runs List Unmappable Styles, Review Centering Settings, Review tocnum, Review Style Construction, and Review Nested Styles as described below.

List Unmappable Styles

Lists any styles that will not be removed or mapped during Export .sam from InDesign or Export IDTT from InDesign.

Review Centering Settings

Reviews your document’s paragraph styles for centered styles that may not be truly centered within their text frames. Such paragraphs may have a first-line indent or unequal left and right margins.

Review tocnum

Cross-references numbers scribed as tocnum on the TOC page against the pages to confirm whether the expected chapter-opening paragraph style is present. The tool does not check that the TOC text matches the chapter header, merely that the page number indicated by the TOC contains a chapter head. The tool will also report tocfm paragraphs with an Arabic numeral tocnum and several toc styles with a Roman numeral tocnum.

When run as part of the Report All Style Issues group, it will cross-reference chapter headers, including part headers and unit headers. When running the tool individually, additional options are available to cross-reference the following:

  • tocill lines against table or figure head styles (th, figcap, figh)
  • subheads (ah, bh, ch, etc.) against tocnum in toc sublevels (toc1, toc2, toc3, etc.)
  • chapter toc lines (ctoc) against subheads (ah)

Review Style Construction

Checks several aspects of a style and potential combinations of character/paragraph styles and reports potential issues in the setup and interaction between styles. Issues that are reported on each style include the following:

  • styles with both superscript/subscript and baseline shift
  • styles with italic and skew
  • styles with automatic numbering or bullet rules

Issues reported on the interaction between paragraph and character styles include the following:

  • italic character styles used in italic paragraphs (formatting distinction is invisible)
  • small-caps character styles used in small-caps paragraphs (formatting distinction is redundant)
  • mix of italic and skewed styles
  • font weights between the paragraph and character styles don’t match (only reported in certain cases)

Review Nested Styles

Searches for text with multiple character styles in place through some combination of applied, nested, line, or GREP styles. All but one of the character styles will be lost when running the Export tools, so any such conflicts should be resolved prior to its use.

Because of the potentially high frequency of conflicts between the enref/fnref styles and nested styles, those will not be displayed. These styles are given special consideration when nested styles are localized during the export process. In addition, Export can handle bold, bold italic, and italic versions of embedded styles, so these are not listed as conflicts.

In order to find the nested style conflicts, some minor changes to rarely used style properties are made and then reversed during the process. This may cause the document to have “unsaved changes” after the tool is run.

Typesetting Adjustments

Apply Breaking Rules

Inserts nonbreaking spaces and/or “no break” text format based on the options chosen.

Center on Longest Line

Indents selected left-aligned text so that the longest line is centered in the text frame. (It makes no change to text that is already centered or right-aligned.) Commonly used for poetry or epigraph formatting. Also available from the context menu.

Center All Poetry on Longest Line

Identifies blocks of poetry based on senseline (sl) paragraph styles and applies the Center on Longest Line feature to each block.

Center and Decimal Align Cell Content

Indents text in selected cells so that the longest line is centered in the text frame and the other lines are decimal-aligned relative to that line. Can be run on an entire table or on selected columns or cells. Also available from the context menu.

Apply Center/Right-Aligning Tabs to Paragraph Style

Clears all preexisting tab stop information from the selected style and adds two tab stops.

  • The first is center-aligned to the exact center of the text frame.
  • The second is right-aligned.

This tool is particularly useful for running heads but can be used for any style that requires a center-aligning tab and a right-aligning tab. All text frames or text columns that contain paragraphs of this style must be the same width; otherwise, the tool will not run and a warning will appear.

Note: This tool does not add tab characters to paragraphs.

Tabify Selected Dialogue

Adjusts tab settings for the selected dialogue to accommodate long names. This feature is meant to be used on dialogue paragraphs that use a right-aligned speaker and left-aligned speech format.

Tabify All Dialogues

Identifies blocks of dialogue based on dialogue (dia) paragraph styles and applies the Tabify Selected Dialogue feature to each block.

Add tocnum Placeholder

Adds 000 to the end of paragraphs using toc styles.

Highlight Missing Soft Return Spaces

Highlights potential missing soft returns with a review-soft-returns condition. The tool identifies cases in which soft returns may be missing the required space before them or the space is on the wrong side of the soft return.

Highlight Stacks

Highlights potential word and character stacks with a review-stacks condition. The tool identifies potential word and character stacks at the beginning and end of lines. The highlighting is done on the word level, so even if it is a character stack, the whole word will be highlighted.

Several configuration options are available to mark potential stacks according to your project’s requirements:

  • Character stacks: The number of rows in succession that must have the same character for a character stack to be highlighted. Set this to 0 to mark word stacks only.
  • Word stacks: The number of rows in succession that must have the same word for a word stack to be highlighted. Set this to 0 to mark character stacks only.
  • Words per line required to match: By default, a word stack is evaluated based on a single word per row. If you only want to mark instances where multiple words in each line are repeated between lines, you can change this value.
  • Ignore case differences: If selected, stacks are determined without regard for the case of the text.
  • Include partial word stacks at start of line: If selected, word stacks at the beginning of words will be considered stacks even if they have different endings (e.g., run and runs would be considered a word stack). This option will catch more potential stacks but may also cach some false positives that are not truly part of the same word family, especially with short words.

This tool will find most stacks, but not all. It won’t find a stack between two footnotes, for example. It will also list some false positives, like stacks in indexes that don’t matter.

Running this tool a second time will remove all stack highlighting before highlighting the current stacks. A Remove Stack Highlighting button is also provided in the tool to remove highlighting without running the tool again.

Highlight Widows

Highlights potential line widows with a review-widows condition. The tool identifies certain paragraph junctures where the last line of one paragraph doesn’t clear the first-line indent of the next paragraph.

Several configuration options are available to mark potential widows according to your project’s requirements. The more of these that are marked, the more paragraph-ending lines will be marked as widows:

  • Treat punctuation as whitespace: If selected, punctuation at the end of the previous paragraph will be treated as whitespace. If the paragraph only overlaps punctuation of the last line of the previous paragraph, it will be marked.
  • Require last character to completely clear indent: If selected, the last character of the previous paragraph must overlap the beginning of the next paragraph by a full character width. The paragraph will be marked as a widow if it only partially overlaps.

Running this tool a second time will remove all widow highlighting before highlighting the current widows. A Remove Widow Highlighting button is also provided in the tool to remove highlighting without running the tool again.

Increment Selection by Style

Adds to (or subtracts from) each instance of a number in the specified styles within the selected text.

Batch Find and Replace

Performs several case-sensitive, whole-word replacements on an entire file.

Corrections must be listed in a text file, with each find/replace pair on its own line, each find term and replace term separated by a tab.




Note: This tool performs a replace-all action throughout the entire document. It cannot have its scope limited, and it cannot be undone.

Set/Reset sam DTD Location

Allows for resetting the saved DTD location.

Go To Documentation

Opens this documentation in the browser (requires an active internet connection).

Check Online for Scribe Tools Updates

Checks your version of Scribe Tools against the latest update (requires an active internet connection).

InDesign GREP Searches

Included in the Scribe Tools download is a series of GREP searches. Details about the included searches and instructions for installing them are on the InDesign GREP Searches resource page.