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7.4 Atomik Box Ordering

The Atomik Box Ordering palette provides a visualization of the order that boxes in each spread will be extracted by Atomik Xport. In the Atomik Box Ordering palette a picture of the current spread is displayed with numbers superimposed on it to indicate the order boxes will be processed given the Box Ordering options.

The numbers displayed superimposed on the boxes indicate the box ordering, per spread, that will be used. If you move the boxes on the layout you will find that the position of the boxes in the preview will change and that the numbers in the boxes in the preview may alter.

The Box Ordering options are specified in the Box Ordering dialog which is invoked by pressing the button on the top-right of the Atomik Box Ordering palette.

The Box Ordering options from Atomik Tools override Box Ordering options from an Atomik Xport ruleset (unless the ruleset has been specifically configured to ignore Atomik Tools Box Ordering options). To revert to using Box Ordering options from rulesets, rather than document-specific Box Ordering options, simply uncheck “Author Box Ordering in to Document” in the Atomik Box Ordering palette and close the palette.

Atomik Box Ordering palette

Box Ordering Options

The Box Ordering dialog, invoked by the top-right button in the Atomik Box Ordering palette, or by the “Document Default Box Order” menu item, contains box ordering settings for the document. Also in this Box Ordering dialog is a checkbox “Override for Current Spread“ which can be used to override the box ordering options for the current spread only.

All the Box Ordering settings that are available for the document can also be overridden for the current spread, allowing different box ordering settings to be used for different spreads.

Using Atomik Tools it is thus possible to use different box ordering options on different spreads. For example, the majority of a book could use “Default” box ordering but the title pages could use “Reverse by Page” box ordering.

Box Ordering Settings

The various box ordering settings are now considered. Each can be applied to the document as a whole, or overridden on a spread-by-spread basis.

Default Box Ordering

The most important box ordering setting is whether to use “Default” or “Reverse, By Page” box ordering.

“Default” box ordering is appropriate for a wide range of publications. Default box ordering causes Atomik Xport to navigate through documents, starting with the box in the top left hand corner of the first page. When it has either extracted the content from that box or has not found any content to be extracted, Atomik Xport then moves to the box directly below.

It will continue to move from each box to the one below until it reaches the bottom of the page. Once it has reached the bottom of the page, it will move one column to the right and start navigating from the box at the top of the page downwards (as in the previous column). If there is no column to the right, it will start navigating from the top left of the following page of the document.

Comparisons between text boxes are performed using the top-left hand corner of each text box. Comparisons between image boxes are performed using the middle of each image box. A comparison between a text box and an image box is performed using the top-left corner of the text box and the middle of the image box.

Reverse, By Page

“Reverse, By Page” box ordering causes Atomik Xport to start with the top left text or image box, and then to move to the box immediately to its right. It continues moving to the box to the right until it reaches the end of the first row of the page. It then moves to the next row down, starting with the box on the left-hand side of the page. Once it reaches the end of the page it will continue in the top-left corner of the following page or spread.

Comparisons between text boxes are performed using the top-left hand corner of each text box. Comparisons between image boxes are performed using the middle of each image box. A comparison between a text box and an image box is performed using the top-left corner of the text box and the middle of the image box.

Box Position Tolerance

Both “Default” and “Reverse, By Page” box ordering can be adjusted with a tolerance value, in points, which allows some latitude to take account of boxes not always being perfectly aligned.

If your boxes aren’t perfectly aligned, you will find that the boxes aren’t read in perhaps the order which you might expect.

This is because the box ordering is calculated on the left-hand edge of text boxes for Default box ordering, and the top edge of text boxes for Reverse box ordering. So if the left hand edges of the boxes aren’t aligned on the page (accurate to 0.01 points), then the boxes with the left-most position will be read first:

This can be resolved by ensuring all the boxes are perfectly aligned on the page - but, of course, this isn’t an ideal solution. So, the additional preference, “Box Position Tolerance”, allows you to specify a “margin of error” for box alignment. Boxes which are positioned within the specified tolerance from one another will be considered in alignment.

The example above shows the box ordering if the box position tolerance is set to 6pt - any boxes less than 6pt out of alignment with their peers will be considered part of the same “column”. Boxes which are further than 6pt out of alignment are considered as a separate column.

A default value of 10pt is recommended for Box Position Tolerance.

Follow Text Chains

In general it is highly recommended that “Follow Text Chains” is checked since otherwise paragraphs may be split where text flows between boxes.

Follow Text Chains on to the Pasteboard

Boxes which are on the pasteboard and which do not overlap any page are not usually processed by Atomik Xport. However where a box on the pasteboard is an “overflow” box for a text chain on the page then the “Follow Text Chains on to the Pasteboard” option can be checked to ensure the content from this overflow box on the pasteboard is indeed processed by Atomik Xport.

Note that if “Follow Text Chains” is not checked then the “Follow Text Chains on to the Pasteboard” option will not be available.

Follow Groups

A feature of InDesign is the ability to group items together on the page, whether they be text boxes, lines, image boxes or anything else. There are user design advantages to doing this but there are also content advantages as well. Some companies make a point of grouping together everything that belongs to a specific entity in their publication, for example they group together all items in a completed article or an image with its caption.

By using the Follow Groups setting in the Box Ordering dialog, you can use this grouping information to influence the order in which boxes are processed by Atomik Xport.

With the Follow Groups setting checked, when Atomik Xport encounters the first member of a group of boxes on the page, it will extract the content from all of the other grouped boxes before it continues through the document, thus overriding the principle box ordering. Within the group of boxes, Atomik Xport will still use the principle box ordering (“Default” or “Reverse”).

For example, if the Follow Groups setting is checked and “Default” box ordering is in use, then for groups, Atomik Xport will identify the first member of the group and when it gets to the end of this first box, it will look for the next box below, within the same group of boxes. If there is no box below which is in the same group, Atomik Xport will look to the right for another box in the group. Only when Atomik Xport has processed content from all the boxes in the group will it move on to boxes outside of the group.

With the Follow Groups setting checked, Atomik Xport will process content from each of the boxes within a group, before proceeding to the remainder of the document

Insert Overlapping Boxes

If a text or image box is anchored in a text flow then its contents will always be processed by Atomik Xport in this anchored position. Moreover, as content is added in the text flow before the anchored box, the position of the anchored box will change because it “moves with the text”.

However, where a box exists which is not anchored but floating, possibly with a text-wrap or wrap-around enabled, and where this floating box overlaps a text box, then Atomik Xport can attempt to insert it into the correct position in the text flow. Atomik Xport does this if the “Insert Overlapping Boxes” setting is checked and if more than a certain percentage of the box overlaps (this is the “Overlapped at Least” percentage value).

When the “Insert Overlapping Boxes” setting is checked then Atomik Xport will consider floating boxes and consider firstly whether they are smaller in area than the text box they are overlapping and secondly whether the percentage area of the floating box overlapping is greater than the “Overlapped at Least” percentage tolerance and if so, it will treat it as if it were “inline”. Images and tables which it determines are “inline” will be inserted automatically at the end of a paragraph. Text which it determines is “inline”, such as a drop-capital drawn as a floating box with wrap-around, will be inserted exactly where in the text flow it visually appears, unless the “Always Insert between Paragraphs” setting is also checked in which case text from overlapping boxes will also be inserted at the end of paragraphs, just as images are.

The “Insert Overlapping Boxes” setting is useful for boxes that are floating, overlapping and which have run-around enabled since the option will effectively cause Atomik Xport to treat these overlapping boxes as if they were anchored boxes.

Overlapped at Least

The “Overlapped at Least” percentage tolerance is only applicable when the “Insert Overlapping Boxes” setting is checked. It specifies how great the percentage overlap (of the overlapping box) must be before Atomik Xport determines to treat it as “inline” and attempts to automatically insert it in to the text flow it overlaps.

This tolerance enables the user to control what Atomik Xport classifies as an “overlapping” box. The tolerance number is expressed as a percentage and refers to the percentage of the area of the box that has to be covering the underlying text box if the box is to be classified as overlapping. For example if the tolerance is set to 80% and only 10% of the area of a box is covering the underlying text box, Atomik Xport will not treat this as “overlapping”. However if, with the same tolerance setting, the box is moved so that 90% of the box covers the underlying text box, Atomik Xport would treat this as overlapping. In most layouts a value of 80% would be normal. In summary and to define this more mathematically, Box 1 is considered overlapping to Box 2, if:

  1. 1 The area of intersection of the two boxes is greater than the area of Box 1 multiplied by the tolerance (e.g. tolerance of 60% equals 0.6).
  2. AND
  3. 2 The area of Box 1 is less than the area of Box 2

Always Insert between Paragraphs

The “Always Insert between Paragraphs” checkbox is only applicable when the “Insert Overlapping Boxes” setting is checked.

Images which Atomik Xport has determined are “inline” and which it has determined it will insert automatically in to the text flow, these will always be inserted at the end of a paragraph.

Text which it determines is “inline”, such as a drop-capital drawn as a floating box with wrap-around, will be inserted exactly where in the text flow it visually appears, unless the “Always Insert between Paragraphs” setting is also checked in which case text from these boxes will be inserted at the end of a paragraph, just as images are.

Insert Floating Images in to main Text Flow

This is an advanced option where Atomik Xport attempts to insert images which are to the left of, above, below or to the right of the main text flow, into the main text flow.

The “main text flow” is defined as the largest text box on the page which is part of a text chain. If no text box on the page is part of a text chain then the system will consider there is no main text flow and this option will have no effect.

This option is not concerned with images that are overlapping text boxes (that is handled by the “Insert Overlapping Boxes” option) but only with images that are not overlapping. Images which Atomik Xport inserts as a result of this option will always be inserted at the end of a paragraph.

For example, in the page layout below, if the “Insert Floating Images in to main Text Flow” option is checked, then the rabbit image will be inserted at the end of the paragraph that begins “The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel“, in other words after the paragraph that starts at the bottom of this page. Whereas, if the option were not checked, then the image would be extracted after the entire main text flow, which for books would typically be at the end of a chapter of text.

Insert Floating Images example

Insert Floating Text Boxes in to main Text Flow

This is an advanced option where Atomik Xport attempts to insert text boxes which are to the left of, above, below or to the right of the main text flow, into the main text flow.

It is similar to the “Insert Floating Images in to main Text Flow” option but for floating, non-chained, text boxes rather than images.

The “main text flow” is defined as the largest text box on the page which is part of a text chain. If no text box on the page is part of a text chain then Atomik Xport will consider there is no main text flow and this option will have no effect.

This option is not concerned with text boxes that are overlapping text boxes (that is handled by the “Insert Overlapping Boxes” option) but only with images that are not overlapping. Text boxes which Atomik Xport inserts as a result of this option will always be inserted at the end of a paragraph.

Marking Boxes as belonging to one or more Articles

Awaiting documentation.

Overriding the Box Order

Awaiting documentation.