InDesign: JavaScript and GREP links and other useful resources

The list here contains some publications and sites that are useful resources for GREP and scripting.

(e)Book publications

Scripting

There are surprisingly few books on scripting InDesign with JavaScript, and those that are available are pretty much dated, making reference in their titles to InDesign versions CS3, CS4, and CS5. Nevertheless, their content is basically still valid since the principles of scripting InDesign haven't changed. Fellenz's book is up to date. (My own beginner's guide will appear in a new edition in November 2018.)

InDesign automatisieren: Keine Angst vor Skripting, GREP & Co (Gregor Fellenz; in German). Available in print and as an EPub (now in a 2nd edn) (see the title's dedicated site). The book is in German, but the site has an English section on useful JavaScript tools. This original book introduces JavaScript and GREP, showing how the combination of the two makes for a powerful tool for typesetters and graphic artists alike.

– Grant Gamble wrote InDesign CS5 Automation Using XML & JavaScript, which is a good guide to JavaScript and especially to scripting XML. It also has a good primer on XSLT.

InDesign CS5 JavaScript. This is the same as above but without the XML chapters.

Automating Adobe InDesign CS4 with ExtendScript (Shirley Hopkins). Though it has CS4 in the title it is still useful for recent CC versions of InDesign.

Scripting InDesign CS3/4 with JavaScript. For absolute beginners. It was updated to CS6. To be re-published in an updated version in Spring 2019.

– A guide to ScriptUI, the module included in the ESTK to write dialogs for all CC applications.

GREP

There are many books on GREP (regular expressions) in general. The best title on GREP in general is Friedl's book. To my knowledge there are just three titles dealing with GREP specifically in InDesign: Gregor Fellenz's book (see above) and the two mentioned below.

Mastering Regular Expressions (3rd ed.) (Jeffrey Friedl). The best general book on GREP. Not always easy, but excellent.

Grep et InDesign CS3/CS4: Rechercher, remplacer et formater en un clic (Laurent Tournier). An excellent book (in French) containing a wealth of examples and tricks.

GREP in InDesign. An in-depth guide to using GREP in InDesign.

GREP in InDesign 3rd edition

Web sites

– Adobe's scripting forum is one of the best places to get help on scripting matters. This is also a good place to turn to when you need help on GREP matters, though for GREP queries you could also go to Adobe's InDesign forum.

InDesignSecrets.com has a section on scripting and a separate section on GREP. There's also general InDesign and scripting forums.

HilfDirSelbst.ch is a general InDesign forum, but there are many queries and solutions involving GREP. This is the forum to head for with your German GREP queries – though speakers of English too are most welcome there.

HilfDirSelbst.ch also has a special section for scripting (Skriptwerkstatt, 'script workshop'). Like the general forum, this one is conducted in German but most people there are happy to answer English questions.

Stefano Bernardi produced a useful list of scripts at https://redokun.com/blog/indesign-scripts.

– Harbs has a number of scripts free of charge, in addition to his well-known plugins and suites.

– Gregor Fellenz created an alternative to the ESTK's object-model browser for those who don't like the latter.

– Laurent Tournier has a site dedicated to GREP here. His blog (in French) contains a section on scripts as well. You'll find amazing examples of GREP styles on his site. It hasn't been updated for a while, but the material is still topical.

– Marc Autret has two sites, one is a repository with scripts (mainly in French), the other is a more blog-like site (in English). Fabulous scripts there. The blog discusses intricate InDesign topics at a high level.

- In that second list, Marc has a separate list with script and GREP resources.

– Kasyan Servetsky's site provides lots of his useful scripts. Kasyan also has a list which presents various scripts (not just his own) by category.

scriptopedia.org is a bilingual (French and English) repository for most aspects of automation of InDesign, PhotoShop, Illustrator, and Acrobat, using any of the three programming languages and Actions where they apply. The site appears to lean towards JavaScript and Indesign, but that's bound to change.

– Loïc Aigon's blog covers InDesign, Illustrator, PhotoShop, and Acrobat; his InDesign archive is here.

Marijan Tompa (aka Tomaxxi) maintained a blog with many interesting and useful scripts and snippets. The site is no longer maintained but still accessible.

– Harbs's website offers mainly paid-for plugins and scripts, but he has some free goodies as well. This is one of the sites to turn to when you need a script written for you.

– Rorohiko has a nice on-line GREP tutor (English). They also do the APID developer kit, a powerful tool for developing scripted plugins.

InDesignScript is an excellent site with scripting examples, tutorials, and its own forum dedicated to JavaScript. The site has a good collection of links. (German)

– Dave Saunders's general site and his blog have good information. The blog hasn't been updated for a while but the material there is still useful.


Questions, comments? Get in touch