Find Change From Spreadsheet

Script for Adobe InDesign
Latest update 6/16/2022, version 4.8

The script reads a spreadsheet of find/change pairs and replaces each instance of matching text in the active document. A virtually unlimited number of find/change pairs are performed in a single operation rather than countless visits to the InDesign Find/Change dialog.

  • Match whole words only
  • Ignore case
  • Keep capitalization
  • Confirm each change
  • User-configurable localization

To find and replace using GREP, see GREP Replace From Spreadsheet
For processing multiple documents, see Find Change Multi Doc
For Illustrator, see Find Replace From CSV

Find Change From Spreadsheet

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How-to Video

Before using the script

The script requires a spreadsheet of find/change pairs, saved as Comma Separated Values (CSV format). The spreadsheet must have at least two columns, one for the text to find, and another for its replacement.

Find Change from Spreadsheet data example

The first row is the header, which identifies the contents of each column. In this example, the column headers are Find and Change. Using this data file, the script changes colour to color, afternoon is replaced with evening, and every instance of dog becomes cat.

These columns could just as well be labeled “match” and “replace,” or any other desired labels. The precise column labels, or their order, are not important, and there is no harm in extra columns. Which column is the text to find, and which is its replacement, are selected in the script interface.

How to use the script

The interface is divided into two sections: Data file and Options. Click the File button to select the CSV file, set the options as desired, and click the OK button to begin. The user is notified when processing is complete, or if an error occurs.

Data File (CSV)

Delimiter — the character that separates columns of the data file. The default is comma, normal in the United States. Some European countries use semicolon rather than comma. Select the delimiter relevant to your region of the world.

File — select the CSV data file, then the column drop-down lists (next) are loaded with the columns discovered in the data.

Column find — select the column of text to find.

Column change — select the column of replacement text.


By default the script includes changes on hidden and locked layers. Use the next two options to ignore either if desired.

Ignore hidden layers — when enabled and a match is found on a hidden layer, the text is ignored, and no change is made. When disabled and a match is found on a hidden layer, if the option Confirm each change is enabled, the layer is made visible and the confirmation dialog appears as normal. Otherwise the change is made and the layer remains hidden.

Ignore locked layers — when enabled and a match is found on a locked layer, the text is ignored, and no change is made. When disabled and a match is found on a locked layer, if the option Confirm each change is enabled, the layer is unlocked and the confirmation dialog appears as normal. Otherwise the change is made and the layer remains locked.

Whole word — text matches only when whole words. If disabled, text matches also when words contain the text.

Case insensitive — text matches regardless of upper or lower case, or any combination of either.

Keep capitalization — available when the option Case insensitive is enabled. When the text found is capitalized, the change is capitalized even if not capitalized in the spreadsheet. If the text found is not capitalized, the spreadsheet data is used as-is. This is useful for words that are normally not capitalized, but could appear at the beginning of sentences, requiring capitalization. Without this option, such cases require two separate find/change pairs, one capitalized, another not, and processed with the Case insensitive option disabled, otherwise risk the beginning of sentences becoming lowercase.

Confirm each change — if enabled, the display is magnified to the value for the option Zoom (next), to better show the changes to confirm. A confirmation dialog appears on screen, described in the next section.

Zoom — the percentage to which the display is magnified when processing begins. This allows the user a closer look at selected text to better judge if changes are acceptable.

Confirm each change

Each match is selected in the layout, and a confirmation dialog displays the proposed change above a series of buttons:

Find Change from Spreadsheet confirm

Zoom: - / + — click minus to decrease zoom and show more of the page. Click plus to increase zoom for closer inspection of the change to confirm.

OK — the selected text is changed as indicated, and the next proposed change is selected.

OK all — the selected text and all remaining matching instances are changed without further user intervention. This applies only to the current find/change pair. When the next find/change pair begins processing, the confirmation dialog is again displayed. This repeats until all find/change pairs are processed.

Skip — the selected text is not changed, and the next proposed change is selected.

Skip all — the selected text is not changed and all remaining matching instances are ignored. Processing resumes with the next find/change pair and again the confirmation dialog is displayed.

Cancel — processing ceases without further changes. Any changes previously accepted remain. If desired, the Edit menu item Undo restores the document to its state prior to launching the script.

The confirmation dialog appears centered on screen and near the top of the window. If the dialog obscures the layout, it may be moved to another location on screen, even to a secondary display. The dialog will maintain its new position until the next launch of the script.

If any story has overset text, it is not possible to show the proposed change because it is hidden off-screen in the overset text. In this case, a warning is displayed and the user has the option to continue regardless, or decline and remedy the overset text before trying again, the recommended choice. Then each change is visible and can be confirmed.


By default the script language is US English, which does not require further download or configuration. To have the script interface display other languages, choose from the available languages below. Download and copy the .i18n file to the script folder alongside the script. When launched, the script detects the language file and displays interface text in that language. If your language is not listed, download the English file and translate it. The file is plain text formatted as JSON, containing interface text in English, and a second value for its translation, which for the English file is the identical text. Copy the file and rename it to replace “en” with the relevant code for your language, then edit the file to change each line’s second value to the translation in your language. For more detailed instructions of how to edit and install i18n files, see How to Localize Scripts.


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Find Change From Spreadsheet

License details included in download

For help installing scripts, see How to Install and Use Scripts in Adobe Creative Cloud Applications.

Also available for hire to program custom solutions. Contact William for more information.

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