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In this series, David Blatner and Anne-Marie Concepción, co-hosts of the web's top resource for InDesign tips and tricks, InDesignSecrets.com, share some hidden and sometimes surprising workflow tips that will make working in InDesign more efficient and more fun. The course covers built-in timesaving features such as Quick Apply and auto-expanding text, but also little-known tricks, such as using the eyedropper to copy and paste character and paragraph text attributes and making accurate selections by selecting through or even into objects.
New techniques will be added to the collection every other week, so check back early and often. Find more tips and tricks at indesignsecrets.com.
Anne-Marie Concepcion: We InDesign users don't live in a vacuum. We're usually not the only person who needs to work on a layout file. Often that layout file needs to circulate with their clients or coworkers or vendors, freelancers and they might not be using the same exact version of InDesign that we are. And that causes a lot of angst and consternation because unlike Photoshop or Illustrator or even Microsoft Word, InDesign does not have an actual menu command that says save to an earlier version.
So that's what I want to talk about in this video, how to share your files with people who use earlier versions of InDesign. Right now I'm running InDesign CS5.5, as you can see from the splash screen. Now I am going to open up a document that's this is the latest version as I'm recording this. File > Open. I am going to go to the Desktop and open up a file called goldengate.indd. So it's missing some linked images. That's not a big deal. But the file itself opens up fine. Now I am going to close this and we're going to open it up with the earlier version of InDesign, InDesign CS5.
You can tell that we are in 5 because it says CS5 here. We are going to try and open up that same file that InDesign CS5.5 just opened. And after a little bit of thinking it puts up this strange dialog box called Missing Plug-ins and this is the dialog box that you'll get regardless of the version that you're using to open up a later version indd file. If you're using CS3 and you try to open up a CS4 or CS5 file, you're going to get a dialog box. It doesn't say "you're using the wrong version, dummy." You are going to get a dialog box that says Missing Plug-ins with different kinds of Plug-ins listed here, which I think is a mistake because I get e-mails all the time from people saying, "How did I lose a plug-in do I have a virus? I need a plug-in.
How can I replace this plug-in, do I need to reinstall the program?" No, all this is saying is that a later version of InDesign has a plug-in that ships with the program, because InDesign is essentially a bunch of plug-ins that work together as a team. And here is one of the new ones that your version doesn't have. So if you see this, the chances are 95% that it's not an issue of a missing plug-in. It's that the version that you're trying to open is a later version. Unlike Photoshop or Illustrator or Word, an InDesign file is like a database and with every new version that InDesign comes out with, it's like a new kind of database.
So a later version can open up an earlier version without a problem. It will just go ahead and convert it and it will say converted when it opens it up. But it doesn't go the other way around. If I am in InDesign CS5.5 and I need to share this goldengate.indd file with somebody who has version 5 what can I do? You can't go to File>Save as earlier version, which I really think they should. Instead, you need to export it to a certain format. You will want to export it to the format called IDML, for InDesign Markup Language.
Now this is kind of like an interchange format that they introduced with CS4. But unlike its earlier predecessor, INX, which was actually called an interchange format, the IDML format is human readable XML files. And that means that when we export to IDML from 5.5, not only will InDesign CS5 be able to open this up, but also InDesign CS4 will be able to open up the same IDML file. We don't have to go through the rigmarole of opening up the IDML in CS5 and then exporting that out to IDML so CS4 can open it up.
That's what we used to have to do with INX. So thank heavens, InDesign team switched to IDML back in CS4. I've already exported this file to IDML and we'll go ahead and open it up in InDesign CS5. We get the same message about missing links to images. Now when you export to IDML, the export does not include image previews. So if you do have missing images, when the person with the earlier version InDesign opens it up they'll just see gray placeholder boxes for those images.
So that's something to keep in mind. You need to send along the images along with the IDML file, kind of like making a little package. It opens a copy of that IDML file as an untitled document and any CS5.5 specific features aren't supported of course in CS5. It doesn't know about them. But everything else comes through decently. You will have a rewrap of text because with every version of InDesign, even the dot releases like 55, they tweak the text engine a little bit so you need to expect that.
I want to show you something very interesting here on the Desktop with this IDML file that's sitting here. We can actually peek inside it. If I drag and drop it to something like TextWrangler that shows the contents of archives you can see that here's the goldengate.IDML file and inside here we have all sorts of things like the master spreads. These are all XML files that you can sort of make out yourself and in fact these are completely editable. If we made changes here and saved it and then opened up the IDML file we might get a different result. We could change colors, we could change fonts, we could even change text and stories. Look at this.
Every single text frame was exported to an XML story file. So if I go, let me find a one that's kind of long, I am looking at this little guy here. Here is the intro text here, so I could actually change this if I wanted to. So in other words the InDesign team has opened up the InDesign file specifications so that scriptures and plug-in developers and other automation specialists can actually create an InDesign file just by knowing how to put together all these component files of the IDML file. That makes InDesign much more flexible and powerful as we go on to future versions and for people who are were just using InDesign to actually create layouts, that means it makes it a lot easier to share layouts with people with different versions.
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