Compiled Collection Missing its Headers

I’m trying to share a collection of research with some colleagues. I’ve put all the research into a collection and I would like to compile this collection into a .pdf. I need the compile to include headers which list the title and a meta-data field for each document.

I’ve set the correct placeholder tags in the “headers” section of the compile window, but when I compile the collection into a .pdf the headers don’t appear. I just get the placeholder tags. (I also tried compiling as .rtf. In that format, the headers didn’t show at all).

Just to clarify, you seem to be using the term “headers” for what I would refer to as titles (merely to disambiguate between page headers, not that you are wrong, they are in fact called headers as well as titles!). From your statement it sounds like that is what you are looking for. You want the title of the document and its meta-data below that title, then the content of the document. However you refer to having added placeholders to the “headers” section of the compile window, which is where page headers and footers are configured—stuff like the name of the book and the page number. Not all of the placeholder tags will work up there, especially not the document specific ones, since page headers and document components might have little to do with each other (consider a page that is composed of five short binder items).

If what you want is titles in the document, then you want the Formatting pane instead. You in fact do not need to use any placeholders at all for this. You can just use checkboxes to enable Title and Meta-Data output for all types of binder items within the collection (just turning them all on is okay to do if you are unsure).

Also, you might want to install something that can read RTF files a bit better, as it sounds like whatever you are using (maybe TextEdit?) isn’t parsing the file. The headers are probably there, the display program you used just doesn’t know what to do with those codes. Word, Mellel, Nisus Writer (Pro), and LibreOffice/OpenOffice all do a good job of opening RTF files. TextEdit, Bean, Pages, or anything else based heavily upon the cocoa text engine will likely not. They drop other features as well, such as illustrations and footnotes.

Yes, I was referring to page headers. And now that you point out the problem with using document titles, I can see how that would be a problem. (I had used page breaks to separate the documents, so the problem didn’t occur to me).

Thanks for the suggestion. This worked very well. The only downside was that it included all the meta-data, and I only needed one particular custom field. For my purposes, this was fine. But it might be nice to have a way for the user to select which meta-data s/he wants to include. It would be a handy option for those who use a lot of custom meta-data in their projects.

Instead of using the “Meta-Data” column in formatting, you could do this with title suffixes and specific placeholder tags. In that Formatting pane of compile, select the row you want to modify (e.g. the Document Level 1+ row if the files in your collection are all single documents), then click the “Level Settings” button just below the table on the left. Here you can set a title prefix or suffix; in the suffix area, add a few carriage returns if you want to separate your title from the metadata, then use the placeholder tag <$custom:Penguins> to insert the specific custom meta-data you want (where “Penguins” in the tag is the name of your meta-data field). The tag will be replaced with just the text in that field, so you may want to front it with some static label text, e.g. “Has Penguins? <$custom:Penguins>” so that in your print out you get something like “Has Penguins? Yes”. Add another carriage return or two to separate the meta-data line from the body text in the document, then click OK. You can click in the preview area on the meta-data line to format it however you wish (by default it will use the formatting for the title, but you might want to tone it down a bit).

Once you’ve done that, you can use Cmd+C and Cmd+V in the format table to copy and paste your settings from one row to another if you need to. (Note of course that if you have intentionally set different formatting for folders and for single documents, you won’t want to do this since it would wipe out your original settings–just follow the steps above to add the meta-data to each row individually.)

Also, if you do want the title in the actual page header, and are using page breaks between each section, then you can use the <$sectiontitle> token. This, currently, only works in the PDF/Print outputs as it is quite a bit more complicated to do sectional headers in an RTF, but that’s something Keith has been working on improving. The <$sectiontitle> token prints the name of the last section that had a page break, so it will continue to use that name until a new section break is encountered. But the meta-data placeholders won’t work up there for the same reason. They are document specific and so less predictable than items which cause page breaks. They are safe to use in multi-format output, as they fallback to the abbreviated project title if supplied, or the project name in formats that don’t support this option.

Jennifer’s example is the best way to insert a custom meta-data block that doesn’t dump out everything like the Meta-Data option does. Pretty much everything but the References table has a placeholder. Check out the “Document Variables” section of the placeholder tags list, in the Help menu, for all of them. You can get pretty creative with this using a combination of paragraph breaks and tab stops. Here is an example with a hierarchal numbering prefix, the binder title, the status of the document in parentheses after the title, a paragraph break, and then the revision number (calculated off of number of snapshots) and then a right-tab setting the modification date on the right side of the page:

The suffix has been formatted slightly smaller, italicised, and with a bottom paragraph spacing of 18pts to push the main text block down a bit.