Batch Find/Replace and Find Clips

Request new features or suggest modifications to existing features of Atlantis.
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:51 am

Batch Find/Replace and Find Clips

Post by the-silverware »

Hello, thought I'd shoot a couple of ideas that came to me as I worked with the Find/Replace pane.

Premise: I work both as a regular writer and as a gamebook creator, so I understand my use case is a bit peculiar. I have chosen Atlantis over a specific software for this task because of its search, clip library and style management features.
The panels that came out in the previous months have proven to be very beneficial to my work. But, while putting together my gamebooks, I found myself at odds with the need to search and replace a huge number of paragraph hashtags with numbers.

Picture this: I have a gamebook with several paragraphs, which in draft mode are identified by #hashtags#, such as 1#start#, 2#choosepath#, 3#battle# etc. The names are unique and are essential to let me understand what the paragraph is about. The titles are autonumbered but there are also the "go to" references in the text. Such as:

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"You won the battle. Go to #battlevictory#.
So my book looks like an Instagram post when I finish it. :lol: After mixing up manually the text blocks (which is pain enough already), I now have to replace the hashtags with paragraph numbers.

While I have managed to eliminate all the titles with a single Find/Replace operation, I have absolutely no way to replace all the references in the text body with the corresponding paragraph number. Which means I have to do it manually, one by one. A daunting task when you think there are 806 paragraphs in my next gamebook. It also feels kinda stupid to do it by hand because it's a repetitive task with rules, which a machine would be great at.

A Batch Find/Replace dialog would totally solve my problem, cutting down loooong hours of work to a single operation.
Once a template is defined, the software should be able to find and replace all instances of a list of input values to the corresponding output values.
Say I have two columns in Excel with my index:

COLUMN A = Paragraph #hashtags# (all mixed up)
COLUMN B = Paragraph numbers. (1, 2, 3... 806)

With a Batch Find/Replace feature, I could simply copy/paste this LONG list of #hashtags# and tell Atlantis to replace them all with the corresponding paragraph numbers. And also apply a format, if I need to. So:

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Find: {hashtags list}
Replace with: {paragraph numbers} and format the output as BOLD.
Input might come from a CSV file or a table, too.

You might think this is a case specific to me (ok, it... kind of is), but this feature might be beneficial to all those who need to find and replace not just one word at a time, but a possibly long list of words in a document, or more commonly, want to find a list of words and apply a format to all of them.
Picture a thesis filled with scientific names of animals. When the work is over, the author decides he wants to make them all italic. But there are many different animals in this list, so he needs to find them one by one. Instead, input the list in Batch Find/Replace -> format all the instances of the entries in this list to italic inside the current document. That would save a lot of work.
Another example? Search for a given list of phone numbers with no recurring pattern from a longer list of contacts and highlight them in red.

Another cool feature would be to be able to search a document for Clips that you inserted. Text clips can be easily found, but in clips you can also put images or mix different elements. If I put in the document different images as clips, there's no way to tell them from one another, they are just presented in the text inspector as images. Instead it would be more organized to be able to identify and search for specific clips that you saved in your library. Although this would probably require a database of some sort to index the clips! :P

Best regards
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