PDF layout editors?
June 18, 2017 12:08 PM   Subscribe

Is there a PDF editor and markup tool that respects InDesign document structuring, especially with regard to grouped items and text blocks?

My client marks up draft InDesign spreads delivered as PDFs. She get frustrated with the limitations of using Acrobat to do the markup, in particular

a) that she cannot easily select regions of a layout and move the region to another area of the page, instead an image and part of some type may be selected with some degree of randomness


b) that selecting copy blocks (especially headlines) is a crapshoot. She often finds that the component letters of a head have to be individually selected if she wishes to reposition them

I am aware (and to a degree she is as well) that PDF as a format was not intended to support these sort of features, and the workflow works as is. She is resistant to the idea of working directly in InDesign, and frankly I would be hesitant to ask her to work directly with the source files. ID, of course, does address the issues of grouped selections, selecting copy blocks, and the like.

Her operating system of choice is some flavor of Windows, probably Win7.
posted by mwhybark to Technology (4 answers total)
Are you generating structured PDFs? InDesign should be able to output these, and doing so should address the issue.
posted by kindall at 12:14 PM on June 18, 2017

InCopy has its issues and can be a bit cranky at times, but it's typically what the editorial side of the house uses when the powers that be decide that the word people don't need to access/shouldn't touch full InDesign files that the graphics people generate.
posted by sardonyx at 2:13 PM on June 18, 2017

Bluebeam pdf. Its what pros use to markup oddball formats (like 3d renderings of stadiums) etc. Brilliant tool.
posted by chasles at 2:14 PM on June 18, 2017

kindall, good question. I will look into it. I doubt it - while there is extensive and appropriate use of styles in the copy and heads, I work on this project in adjunct to another designer who unfortunately lacks a design and production orientation with regard to rigorous use of design elements including styles and layers. Maintaining good structural discipline for production purposes (a copy later, a photos later, a backgrounds layer, setting up page numbers as elements in the master pages, that sort of thing) was explicitly set aside when I asked about enforcing and maintaining it when I came on board. Hey, it's their money.

That said, I'm a tad skeptical that good structure would resolve the matter - the copy blocks, as noted, do employ good styling for the most part and yet the individual letters and so forth are still primarily selectable and movable as discrete units. I'm not sure what her markup tool is, presumably whatever default flavor of Acrobat she has installed on her system is.

sardonyx, InCopy might be worth looking into, except that it's CC - my client refuses to participate in subscription-model software pricing.

chasles, thanks for the suggestion. I'm not sure I see how applicable it might be, as the project in question is a retail print direct-mail catalog, but I'm sure willing to evaluate the product!

Thanks all.
posted by mwhybark at 12:17 PM on June 19, 2017

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