Element Preferences

There are a number of options that you can choose to manage the behaviour of each Element in a Paragraph.

Open any element and go to the Preferences tab:


Data Formatting

In this area you can specify the styling and formatting of the Element.

Character Style:

If you want a particular Element styled differently to the rest of the Paragraph, you can choose a Character Style. For example, let's say you want to create a "price" line like this:

Price: $123.55

Note that the word "Price:" is set in bold, and the actual price is not. We'll assume that the Paragraph Style selected for this Paragraph sets the text in Arial 12 pt, plain. You would choose a bold Character Style for the "Price:" text element. To create a new Character Style, click the pencil icon next to to the Character Style dropdown. (See the Character Styles tutorial for more info.)

Number Format

If the Element will publish numeric data, you can specify how the number will be formatted. Click the Number Format button to see the options:


In this example, the currency symbol is a £ sign. To change the default currency symbol, go to Admin->Preferences->Localisation, and enter the desired symbol ($, €, etc.) into the Monetary Unit field.

Date Format

If the Element is a Date type of field, you can choose the format for the data from this dropdown:



Element Name:

When data is published from CatBase to an XML file, each XML Element must have a name. CatBase automatically creates a default name for each Element; you can modify it if you wish, but be sure to stick to XML naming conventions (no spaces allowed).


Use the List Item Description

"Lists", in this context, refer to your custom Choice Lists. Each list item has a name and can also (optionally) have a Description. For example, a list item may be "N AMERICA" and the Description might be "USA and Canada". Select t hios checkbox if you want top publish the Description rather than the list item name.

See the Choice Lists tutorial for more info about Lists.


There are lots of additional options for publishing Elements in this area:


Omit Paragraph if this Element is blank

This option provides a very easy way to manage Paragraphs that may or may not contain content. A typical example might be a "Special Offer" option. For some products, there is a special offer - eg "Buy two, get one free". If the SPecial Offer field is populated, you want to include that text; if it isn't, you do not want to publish an empty paragraph. So select this checkbox and if there's no Special Offer for a product, that Paragraph will be omitted when it is published.

Omit Paragraph if it is otherwise empty

Similar to the Omit Paragraph is this Element is blank option, but it depends on all other Elements within the Paragraph being unpopulated.

Index this Element

Most publishing destinations support indexing. Select this option to add an index tag to the Element when it is published. You'll then be able to quickly build an index in the final publication. See the Building Indexes tutorial for detailed info about creating simple and complex indexes - this example uses InDesign, but the principles are similar for other publishing destinations.

Unique Group Entry

This option provides an easy way to organise data into groups with headings. For example, if you're publishing a directory you may want to group the listings by their first letter, so that you have a heading for each letter followed by the listings that start with that letter. To accomplish this, you'll have a field that contains the first letter of each listing, add that as the first Element in the first Paragraph, and select the Unique Group Entry option for that Element. For a detailed description of how this works, please see this Blog post.

Replace spaces with non-breaking spaces