Both Typefi Fields and Adobe InDesign text variables are content placeholders. For example, you can use them as placeholders for metadata, or data about data. While both are placeholders, they function differently.
First, Typefi Fields values are stored externally from InDesign, in Content XML. Storing Typefi Fields externally from the InDesign template means Field values can be carried through to other output formats, like EPUB or JATS, in an automated publishing workflow (see our EPUB and JATS workflow plug-ins).
Second, Typefi Field and InDesign text variables have different value types. Typefi Field values, which exist in the Content XML file, can be either text-based or a counter. InDesign text variables are "symbols"—that is, they are treated as a single chunk of content and cannot be split into smaller pieces. InDesign text variables can be based on a range of different values, if it exists in the InDesign file itself. For example, an InDesign text variable could be a placeholder for the filename or the creation date.
Because Typefi Field values are either text-based or a counter, they can wrap to the next line if needed. Furthermore, Typefi Fields can be manipulated with GREP or nested styles. In contrast, InDesign text variables cannot wrap to the next line, or be manipulated with GREP or nested styles.
Finally, Typefi Fields do not resolve to their values if you:
- Disable Allow Master Item Overrides on Selection (Pages panel menu → Master Pages),
- Lock its containing text frame, or
- Lock the layer containing the text frame.
In contrast, InDesign text variables resolve to their values regardless of whether the page item is overridden from the master page, or if its frame, or the layer containing it, is locked.
In summary, Typefi Fields and InDesign text variables differ in the following ways:
|Typefi Fields||InDesign text variables|
|Must be either text or counters. For more information, see Typefi Field types.||Based on a range of different values. There are ten types of InDesign text variables:
|Can wrap to the next line if needed.||Cannot wrap to the next line.|
|Can be manipulated with GREP or nested styles.||Cannot be manipulated with GREP or nested styles.|
|Represented by the
||Only exist within InDesign.|
|Typefi Fields do not resolve to their values if you disable Allow Master Item Overrides on Selection (Pages panel menu > Master Pages), or lock either its containing text frame or the layer containing the text frame.||InDesign text variables resolve to their values regardless of whether the page item is overridden from the master page, or if its frame, or the layer containing it, is locked.|
Not sure whether to use a Typefi Field or an InDesign text variable? Generally, the two are interchangeable, but if you want to reuse Fields for other workflows, or manipulate them with GREP or nested styles, use Typefi Fields.