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By Colleen Wheeler | Thursday, August 30, 2012

InDesign Secrets: Revealing the secret history of an InDesign document

In this week’s unlocked InDesign Secrets video, Anne-Marie Concepción shows you a useful trick for revealing the hidden history of your InDesign document, using the Component Information screen. By holding down the Command (Mac) or Ctrl (Windows) key and choosing About InDesign (under the InDesign menu on a Mac, or the Help menu in Windows), you will reveal more information about your document than is normally available. This can be useful if you’re troubleshooting a problematic document.

A breakdown of the Component Information screen in an Adobe Indesign document

At the top left, you’ll see the current technical information about the build that you’re working with. This can be helpful in the event you’re speaking to tech support or colleagues in an InDesign forum, where you might be experiencing known issues with your particular version. On the right is a list of information about the plug-ins that were used to create the document. Don’t worry over the ominously named Missing Plug-ins list. It just means whomever created the document had those plug-ins installed, not that they are critical to opening your document.

But the juiciest bit of history is presented in the lower left area. Here you can read all about which version of InDesign your document was originally created in, whether the document had ever been recovered from a crash, and all the times that the document was saved using Save As, and more.

So if, for example, your text wraps were behaving oddly, you could find out that you’re working from a document that had been created in InDesign CS2 and thus might get a clue as to why your CS5 document wasn’t honoring text wraps correctly despite showing all signs that they should. (This really happened to me in my book-editing days; we had been updating a book—about InDesign, ironically—from previous editions for so long that we’d outgrown the way the program constructed text wraps.)

Anne-Marie notes that if you want to keep pesky task-mastering editors and other technical folk from knowing your complete document history, you can export your document to an IDML file and erase all traces. For lynda.com members, check out InDesign Secrets episode 010, where David Blatner describes the INX/IDML conversion process.

Meanwhile, for this week’s exclusive InDesign Secret, David Blatner has a video episode in our library that shows you how to create custom running heads based on section markers. Since section markers aren’t an outwardly facing element of your final document, this is a handy tip for automating your running heads behind the scenes.

David and Anne-Marie will be back in two weeks with more InDesign Secrets.

Interested in more? • The entire InDesign Secrets biweekly series • Courses by David Blatner and Anne-Marie Concepción on lynda.com • All lynda.com InDesign courses

Suggested courses to watch next:• InDesign CS6 New FeaturesInDesign CS6 Essential Training• Creating Long Documents with InDesign

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