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Often the very last step in a long- document workflow is to archive all the project assets so they can be easily retrieved and reused for the next version of a project. Let's take a look at how we can do that. InDesign has features for gathering all the assets needed to output a project. These are found in the Package commands, which are in the File menu, and also here in the Book panel menu, under Package Book for Print. The original intent of these features is to collect all the files needed to print a job, so you could send them off to a print service provider. But nowadays it's a lot more common that you would output PDFs and supply those to a print service provider rather than a bunch of InDesign files, art, fonts, and so on.
But even if you never send an InDesign file out for printing, you can still make use of the Package commands as a means of archiving your projects. So here I am at the end of my workflow, I've delivered my final PDFs to the printer, and I'm ready to move on to the next job. But before I do that, I'm going to spend a few minutes packaging out my finished files and archiving them properly. And for my archive, I want two things. The first is a project manifest, which is a text file listing each and every asset I used to create the final version of this project. The second thing is a folder containing those assets.
I'll use the Package command to create both things. So in this case I have my files gathered together in an InDesign book, so I'll use the Book panel menu to choose Package for Print. InDesign runs a quick preflight, and hopefully it doesn't find any problems, because at this point, the files are out the door. When you're packaging a book like this, the first thing to notice is the summary right at the top, and make sure it says Entire Publication, because you want to get all your assets. If it says Selected Documents, that means you had some documents selected in the Book panel menu before you ran Package.
If you don't want that, you need to cancel out of here and deselect the documents in the Book panel so you get the whole publication. In the other panes of this dialog box, I can see lists of Fonts, Links and Images, Colors and Inks, Print Settings, and External Plug-ins that were used. One thing to consider at this point is how detailed the manifest you want. Just running the Package command will give you a list of InDesign files, fonts, and third party plug-ins, but it won't give you a list of all the links and images. If you do want a truly complete manifest, then click on Report and save this file.
So I'll just call this Cheeseimages. I'll double-click, and I can see my publication name, a date, but what I'm really after is that list of images. So I'll scroll down past FONTS, and here I have LINKS AND IMAGES. So 66 links were found, and for each one I have the full information. So the name, the type of the image it was, even resolution.
So with this in hand, we'll switch back to InDesign and click on Package. This opens the Printing Instructions dialog box, which you can use to include job details about the client and a few notes at the bottom in the Instructions area. At the very top is where you enter the name for your manifest file. So I'll leave the .txt extension, and I'll drag over Instructions, and I'll call it Cheese Manifest, and click Continue.
Then you advance to the Create Package Folder dialog box, and we'll choose a name for the archive and a location for the package of assets in the manifest. So I'll just leave it on the Desktop for now, and I'll call it CompleteBookofCheese-Archive, and I'll select all of the options here on the left to make all these check boxes checked. So we'll get all our fonts in the package. We'll get all our links. The links will be updated. We'll use Document Hyphenation Exceptions to make sure they'll be no reflowed text if the next time we open these files there are changes in our dictionary or hyphenation settings.
And we definitely want to include Fonts and Links in Hidden and Non-Printing Content, and we want that report open as soon as it's generated, because we're going to edit it. So I'll click Package and I get a warning about copying fonts. But in this instance I can just ignore it, because I'm not providing these assets to anyone else; I'm just saving them in an organized manner for myself. I'll click OK, and the packaged folder is being created. New copies of each InDesign file are being put in there, also with the links gathered and updated.
So here's my manifest, and I can see from the title that I've just sort of hijacked the Package for Print command here. I can just ignore that or change it. So I have the PUBLICATION NAME, which is the name of my archive. I have the number of documents, my date, and I can scroll down and see any external plug-ins that we used. I have a list of fonts, colors and inks, and then in LINKS AND IMAGES, I have Missing & Embedded Links Only.
That's why we created that other document with all the detailed information about the links and images. So let's go to this document and we're going to copy all this information about our links. And I'll copy it, go back to my manifest, and I'll paste it right over the LINKS AND IMAGES section. And now I have a complete manifest listing all the fonts, images, links, InDesign files, third party plug- ins, everything for this project.
There are few things to note about items that won't be gathered by the Package command. First, let's go up to the Fonts section of the manifest, way past all the images, until we find the fonts. So here's Fonts Packaged. If I had any embedded fonts, I would have to collect them and put them in my archive manually. The same goes for protected fonts. Those can't be embedded in PDFs and so they're not collected by the Package command. The second thing I want to note is if you have third party plug-ins listed in your manifest, like here, you have to go and collect those manually too; the Package command won't do this for you.
In fact, it might be a better idea to keep a separate archive of your third- party plug-in installers and serial numbers since copying plug-ins themselves might not be enough to get them properly reinstalled at some point in the future. The third thing that's not shown here is InCopy assignments. Since it gathers links, the Package command will happily gather all linked InCopy files, but it will not collect the assignment files that those InCopy files belong to. There may also be other things you want to put into your project archive. First of all, you probably want to include your outputs.
So here I have folders for my PDF Prints that I've delivered, interactive PDF of the whole book, and JPEGs that I had to provide as well. Also, things like production manuals, snippets or libraries, even templates, and design prototypes. Also consider if there's any key correspondence you want to include-- basically, anything that someone who needs to work with this project in the future might need. The whole idea of the project archive is that you don't have to rely on memory to be able to use these files.
You want to be organized so you can get up and running on the next version of the project as quickly and smoothly as possible. The Package feature won't do all this for you, but it will give you a great start.
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