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InDesign: 10 Tips for Troubleshooting Files
Illustration by John Hersey

4. Round-tripping to INX and IDML


From:

InDesign: 10 Tips for Troubleshooting Files

with Anne-Marie Concepción

Video: 4. Round-tripping to INX and IDML

Here is another really great troubleshooting technique for InDesign files and it's especially good when you have narrowed down the problem to one bad boy, one problem child file. Your other files are working fine in InDesign but there is something glitchy with one particular file. Now for example, let's take a look at this file and I have found a glitchy file for you to play with. It's inside your Exercise Files for the fourth chapter. It's called FlyingMachine. Now here is the glitch. If you open up the Swatches panel, you will see it just uses black and two Pantone colors but notice the problem is that one is coated, one is uncoated. They are the same thing.

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InDesign: 10 Tips for Troubleshooting Files
1h 1m Intermediate Jun 04, 2009

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

InDesign users might at some point encounter misbehaving files that stop production dead in its tracks. In InDesign CS4: 10 Tips for Troubleshooting Files, Adobe Certified Instructor Anne-Marie Concepción passes on her knowledge of diagnosing and repairing these problems, drawing on her experience from helping hundreds of users. Anne-Marie shows how to rebuild preferences quickly and safely, systematically test for corrupt images and fonts, and even clean out corruption errors by hand-editing INX files. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Using a document's history to work through problems
  • Creating a test user account to check for conflicts with other user settings
  • Round-tripping a file to work out specific issues
  • Locating and disabling third-party plug-ins to reset InDesign
Subjects:
Design Print Production
Software:
InDesign
Author:
Anne-Marie Concepción

4. Round-tripping to INX and IDML

Here is another really great troubleshooting technique for InDesign files and it's especially good when you have narrowed down the problem to one bad boy, one problem child file. Your other files are working fine in InDesign but there is something glitchy with one particular file. Now for example, let's take a look at this file and I have found a glitchy file for you to play with. It's inside your Exercise Files for the fourth chapter. It's called FlyingMachine. Now here is the glitch. If you open up the Swatches panel, you will see it just uses black and two Pantone colors but notice the problem is that one is coated, one is uncoated. They are the same thing.

So normally you would want to get rid of one of these. So I'm going to the Swatches panel menu, choosing Select All Unused and yes, 282 U is not used, so I want to delete it but it won't let me delete it. Now why won't it let me delete it? I mean that color is not used anywhere in this document and you can verify that by looking in the Separations panel or you can just select like obviously this has been colored blue, but it's color with the coated pantone.

You think maybe it's used in the Paragraph or Character Style. No it's not. There is nothing other than the Basic Paragraph Styles. What about this doohickey? Well that's from the Master Pages and this blue is the coated one. So 282 U really isn't used anywhere. Why won't it let you delete it? Well there is a glitch here. So the fix for this particular glitch is called Round Tripping. You export it to like a generic format and then reopen it right back up in the same version of InDesign. In CS4 you have two choices. You can export it to InDesign Interchange, INX, or to IDML, which is the new file format available for CS4 only.

Let's try INX first. So I'll go to File > Export and then under Format, you want to choose InDesign CS3 Interchange. Now it's called CS3 because it's officially for sharing CS4 files with people have CS3. You have to give them an INX file from your CS4 layout and then they could open up their INX file in InDesign CS3 and it would resurrect itself just like this, but a troubleshooting technique that's been around for while is to export INX and then reopen it right back in the same program.

So I'm going to switch to my Desktop and say FlyingMachine.inx out here, save it and then we'll just go ahead and open it. Now remember exporting is just exporting a copy. So you're never messing around with the original document. You don't have to worry about harming it. So let me go to File > Open, go back to the Desktop, locate the INX file and choose Open. It opens up as an untitled document and all the links are intact and all the colors are intact and let's take a look at Swatches. Well the color is still there.

That's not a surprise but let's see if we can delete it now. So I'm going to choose Select All Unused. Oh, but this color still won't delete. Hmmm. Well, actually that's okay because I intentionally set up this file to be a little troublesome, so that I can show you a couple other things to try at this point. But keep in mind that the round tripping to INX and then back into InDesign usually does solve the whole host of problems, just that simple act itself. But another thing that you could try would be to go to the original file and this time export it to IDML format instead of InDesign Interchange Format.

IDML format is a new format for CS4 and you can export to IDML and then reopen that IDML directly back in InDesign CS4 and that will also sometime solve random file glitches. If you want to learn more about the IDML format, because there are cool things you can do to that IDML file outside of InDesign, please make sure and watch my InDesign CS4 New Features title, where I have an entire video devoted just to the IDML format. All right, so we are back here with this INX file where the color still won't delete.

There is one more thing that we can try. Now if you are brave, all right, what you can do is to actually open up that INX file in a text editor. You've exported that INX file, remember? Now I'm switching here to TextEdit, which is the really great default text editor that comes with Mac OS X, and there are other great text editors that come with Windows as well or you can use TextWrangler, BBEdit or something like that. But all you do is choose File > Open in your text editor and select the name of that INX file.

Now I know this trick works with colors that won't delete and sometimes with other glitches as well. But I'm not saying it will solve every problem. In this case, what we are looking for is any instance of 282 U, right. So I'm going to go to TextEdit. I'm going to go to Find and search for 282 U and it found an instance of the color. And then you select the entire paragraph of code. I just triple clicked, which selects the paragraph or line of code in this INX file.

So you see Pantone 282 U and then you delete it. Now when there are color calls inside an InDesign file, they usually occur twice. So I'm going to choose Find Next and there is the next one. Triple-click, Delete. Just in case, I'll see there is anymore. Find Next and there is no more. So then I'm just going to save this again as FlyingMachine.inx, save my changes and see what happens when I open that in InDesign. I wish we had a little Drum Roll effect here but let's see what happens. Ta-da! The color is gone, right. Everything else still works fine but the color has been cleared out.

So just the simple exporting of a file to INX and opening up again I would say at least 50-70% of the time it's going to fix glitchy problems. If not, you can always try actually editing that INX file yourself.

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