Mapping Tags to Seizures

Playing with XML in an InDesign template tonight when I figured out what was causing one of my pettiest pet peeves.

The Problem: When you choose Map Tags to Styles you get a jumpy, flickering beachball/cursor, lasting for a very long time. I’ve waited more than a minute to regain control of the application. And the flickering back and forth between a normal cursor and a beachball is more irritating than a plain spinning beachball.

The Culprit: Preview is checked in the Map Tags to Styles dialog.

This is a sticky application preference, so InDesign will remember if you left it on last time, even in a different document.

My advice is keep Preview unchecked and test out your mapping before opening the dialog box by applying some styles manually. You still may suffer the flicker when you click OK, but it seems to be shorter in length when you map specific styles. It’s almost like Preview is loading every style into memory. And this way, you only flicker if you choose to go ahead with the mapping in the current document. If you do Preview, uncheck it before leaving the dialog.

By the way, my flickering problems were always on a PowerBook G4. The problem may not happen as much on a speedier Intel. I’ll have to check that out when I get a chance.

2 Responses

  1. Why map the distractor tag to the MC_Answer style? Is there a reason to diminish granularity when going to InDesign? If you had an MC_Distractor style as well you could do fancy tricks like showing answers in cyan for a teacher’s edition. Duh.

  2. Good catch. In this document there are separate styles for distractors and answers for the exact reason you mention. Since my point was just to show the Preview button checked, I carelessly took the screengrab without setting up the right mapping. In fact, I’ll replace the screengrab when I get a chance.

    To your larger point, sure, sometimes there is a reason to decrease granularity. Some schema have distinct elements for each entry in a multiple choice list. ExamView uses through for example. If I don’t have a script or XSLT to clean these up, I’d map to the same paragraph style (with the exception of the answer).

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