An Introduction to Flows

What is a Flow?

A Flow is a list of steps that you give InDesign to save time when performing repetitive tasks. If you do a lot of work in InDesign, you’ve probably found yourself doing similar steps over and over again. If you can instruct another person on how to perform these steps, you can translate them into a Flow so Fuga can perform them for you. Once a Flow is created, you can use it and over again in projects that follow the same or similar steps.

An example of a complex flow.

How to Create a New Flow

A new flow in the Fuga Hangar panel.

To create a new Flow:

  1. Open the Fuga Hangar panel if it isn’t already by going to Window > Fuga Hangar.
  2. Click the New button on the bottom of the Fuga Hangar panel.
  3. Double click on the flow name to open the Flow Options panel to rename your flow or add a description.

How to Edit a Flow

An empty Flow in the Fuga Workshop panel

To edit a Flow:

  1. Select the flow you would like to edit in the Fuga Hangar panel if it isn’t already.
  2. Open the Fuga Workshop panel if it isn’t already by going to Window > Fuga Workshop.
  3. The selected flow automatically appears in the Fuga Workshop panel, and is ready to edit.

What are Actions?

The Select action selected in a flow and its parameters.

Actions are the individual steps that you insert into the Flow for Fuga to preform. There’s an action for just about every task you would want to do in InDesign. There are actions associated with most basic tasks in InDesign, like the Select, Move, and Place actions, as well as actions for more specific tasks like the Move To Layer action and the Select from Data Cell action. There are also more complex actions that help you tell the flow how to preform other actions. For example, there is the Loop action, which tells the Flow to repeat the actions underneath it a certain number of times, and the if action, which tells the flow to perform the actions underneath it if a certain condition is met.

What are Action Parameters?

Each action has parameters that specify exactly what the action should do. For example, the Move action’s parameters specify if the object should be moved to another object, or if the object should be moved by a certain amount and what that amount is. Some of these parameters can be left blank, but normally you have to fill them out in order to use the action correctly.

What are Actions Categories?

The Object actions category menu.

Actions to insert into the flow are grouped into Actions Categories, in a similar way to how they’re grouped in the InDesign menu bar. For example, the Save, Open, and Print actions are under the File Actions Category. Another way to think about Actions Categories is that they group actions by the level that they work on. For example the actions that work on the object level, like the Select, Rotate, and Move actions are in the Object category, and the actions that work on the layout level, like the Move Layer, and Set Active Page actions are in the Layout category.

How to Insert Actions Into the Flow

To insert actions into a Flow:

  1. In the Fuga Workshop panel:
    1. Select the Actions Category for the action you would like to insert into the flow.
    2. Single click the action to insert it into the flow.
    3. Fill out the parameters that appear in the Actions Parameters area.

How to Edit An Actions Parameters

As soon as an action is inserted into the flow it’s parameters appear in the Parameters area, however to edit that action’s parameters later:

  1. If the flow is not on the begin action, press the Stop button.
  2. Single click on the action in the flow.

How to Select Multiple Actions in the Flow

Selecting multiple actions is the same as selecting multiple items in most other software. To select multiple actions in the flow:

  1. Select the first action
  2. Do either of the following:
    • Command/Control click to select other actions.
    • Shift click to select other actions and the actions in between them.

How to Move Actions

To move actions in the flow:

  1. Ensure that the action or actions to move are selected.
  2. Drag the actions to their desired location in the flow.

How to Duplicate Actions

To move actions in the flow:

  1. Ensure that the action or actions to move are selected.
  2. Do either of the following:
    • Press Control/Command and Drag the actions to their desired location in the flow. The green plus sign indicates that they are being duplicated.

    • Copy and paste them in the Workshop Panel Menu (this option allows you to move actions between different flows as well).
      • Open the Workshop Panel Menu in the top-most right corner of the Workshop panel and select Copy Selected Actions.
      • Select the action to paste the actions under in the flow.
      • Open the Workshop Panel Menu in the top-most right corner of the Workshop panel and select Paste Actions.

Performing Flows

The Stop, Step, and Play buttons in the Flow Controls in the Fuga Workshop panel.

How Do I Perform My Flow?

There are three ways to perform the flow when you want to test it out or when you’re ready to create your final document.

Step

Move through the actions at your own pace. Each click performs one action in the flow.

How to Step Through a Flow

To step through a flow you can do either of the following:

  • Click the Step button in the Flow Controls area of the Fuga Workshop panel.
  • Click the Step menu item from the Panel Options menu in the uppermost right-hand corner of the Fuga Workshop panel.

Play

Playing the flow moves through each action while updating the InDesign after each. This means you can view the changes being made to the document as the flow is performed. When you want to pause the flow while playing (so you can resume it again from the same location) click Step.

How to Play a Flow

To play a flow you can do any of the following:

  • Click the Play button in the Flow Controls area of the Fuga Workshop panel.
  • Click the Play menu item from the Panel Options menu in the uppermost right-hand corner of the Fuga Workshop panel or Fuga Hangar panel.

Stop

Stopping a flow moves the flow back to the begin action while playing or stepping through the flow. To edit a flow it must first be stopped.

How to Stop a Flow

To stop a flow:

  • Click the Stop button in the Flow Controls area of the Fuga Workshop panel.
  • Click the Stop menu item from the Panel Options menu in the uppermost right-hand corner of the Fuga Workshop panel or Fuga Hangar panel.

Pause

Pausing the flow stops the flow on the current action while it’s playing, this way you can see the status of the document, variables’ values, and action’s parameters at a specific point. You can then continue stepping through or playing the flow from that point. You can not pause a flow in run mode, only cancel it. After canceling the flow in run mode, a pop-up will ofter to revert the file to it’s condition before the flow was run, or to leave the document as was when canceled.

How to Pause a Flow

To pause a flow you can either:

  • Click the Step button in the Flow Controls area of the Fuga Workshop panel while the flow is playing.
  • Add a break point to the action you want to pause on before running the flow. You can add a break point by clicking the Break Point check box on the ! tab of the action’s parameters.

Run

Running the flow moves through the actions at full speed, when you do not need to see what each action is doing.

How to Run a Flow

The Run button on the bottom of the Fuga Hangar panel.

To run a flow do either of the following:

  • Click the Run button on the bottom of the Fuga Hangar Panel (this button looks like a play button).
  • Click the Run menu item from the Panel Options menu in the uppermost right-hand corner of the Fuga Hangar panel.

How Do I Undo A Flow?

When you’re testing a flow to make sure that it works, chances are that you will want to return the document back to how it was before you ran the flow. When stepping through or Playing the flow, we recommend saving the document before you perform it, performing it, then reverting the file before you make any changes to the document or the flow. If you are using the run command, you can use a normal undo to easily undo the whole flow.

How Do I Export My Document After Performing A Flow?

You can export your document at any point by using the normal InDesign export or one of the export actions in the Workshop, however after performing a flow any pages the flow modified will need to be unlocked to remove the Fuga watermarks.  Unlocking pages uses the money on your Fuga account.

How to Unlock Your Document

To unlock your document:

  • Create a Fuga account if you haven’t done so already by going to http//www.fuga-tech.com/sign-up.
  • Verify or insert your Fuga account information in License tab on the Fuga Preferences Panel, which can be opened from the panel menu in the upper-most right-hand corner of the Fuga Hangar or Fuga Workshop panels (pictures A and B below).
  • Click the Unlock menu item from the Panel Options menu in the uppermost right-hand corner of the Fuga Hangar panel (picture C).
  • Note: If you do not wish to save your account information, you can leave license tab of the preferences panel empty and insert the information each time you click the Unlock menu item.

A. The preferences panel can be found under the Fuga Hangar or Fuga Workshop panel menus.

B. The license tab is where you store your Fuga account information for unlocking pages.

C. To unlock your document, select Unlock from the Fuga Hangar panel menu.

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