Can Adobe InDesign import/export PDFs somehow?
January 28, 2004 1:45 PM   Subscribe

Can Adobe InDesign import/export PDFs somehow? I just got 2.0, but when I try to open a PDF, I get the message "Adobe InDesign may not support the file format, or a plug-in that supports the file format may be missing."
posted by weston to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
 
I have the CS version. I can export as a .pdf, I can place a .pdf in a document as an image, but I don't believe there's a way to open a .pdf directly.
posted by jalexei at 2:14 PM on January 28, 2004


You can't open a PDF file as an editable page. PDF files don't include the information necessary to recreate the text boxes and image boxes and other parts of page layout. You can place PDF files as images (even full page-size), and InDesign has excellent direct PDF creation. We use InDesign and PDFSages PDF Enhancer to create issues of our Macintosh journals, and it's a much better solution than anything we had before.
posted by mdeatherage at 2:52 PM on January 28, 2004


PDF files don't include the information necessary to recreate the text boxes and image boxes and other parts of page layout.

While I've observed that this is sometimes true, it isn't always. We have a few single page documents at my office that I've rotated through an .ai -> .pdf -> .ai cycle a few times with no loss of editability. As I understand it, this is because PDF is a vector-based format, and can contain the information. It just depends on how it's created.

I've even gotten editable in Illustrator (if really odd and painful) PDFs out of OS X's Print-To-PDF feature, so I don't think it's just Illustrator.
posted by weston at 3:01 PM on January 28, 2004


might depend also on what program created the PDFs and the various settings you can use. (layers? editable? outlined? etc.)
posted by th3ph17 at 3:15 PM on January 28, 2004


Just to clarify what I think mdeatherage is saying - while some .pdfs can be edited within Illustrator and other software (and certainly acrobat) they don't carry the text and graphic "box" information to allow a true "import" (in the sense that you could edit like a native file) into InDesign.
posted by jalexei at 3:29 PM on January 28, 2004


Yup. Adobe Illustrator's native document format is built on PDF now, just like it used to be built on EPS, and Illustrator (9 and above, I believe) safe extra "Illustrator editing" information in there so you can edit them later. InDesign does not do that, nor does any page layout program of which I know.

I'm not sure any would want to, because if you sent that PDF to anyone, they could completely recreate and edit your document on their system. That's usually not what people publishing PDF want.

Illustrator, by the way, usually can't edit the components of PDF files it didn't create.
posted by mdeatherage at 3:59 PM on January 28, 2004


Sigh. I'd been told that InDesign was like having the good things about Illustrator combined with the good things about Quark... perhaps I was misled. I would love something that let me edit multipage vector documents and do roundtrip conversions with PDFs... even if I had to risk someone else being able to edit the document. Perhaps I should change my question around to ask if anyone knows of a solution like this?

Illustrator, by the way, usually can't edit the components of PDF files it didn't create.

Really weird things happened in the OS X generated PDF I'd opened.... you'd have rectangles, for example, that were actually five rectangles, one for the fill and one for each border. And selection difficulties.

But then again, I was impressed that it was actually quasi-editable vector output rather than a big raster image inside a PDF.
posted by weston at 4:41 PM on January 28, 2004


Hey Weston... although InDesign can't _open_ a PDF, Illustrator can (providing that the PDF isn't rights protected).

Text may be in a strange mess, but it is possible. I do it all the time.
posted by silusGROK at 5:59 PM on January 28, 2004


This may be clunky, but could you keep running edits in an InDesign master file, and just export a .pdf when needed? If it comes back needing edits you'd make the change in InDesign and re-export - I apologize if I'm missing some key bit here...

(and it occurs to me that if you have pre-exisiting .pdfs this really doesn't help)
posted by jalexei at 6:47 PM on January 28, 2004


it occurs to me that if you have pre-exisiting .pdfs this really doesn't help

It is this exact sad state of affairs that has brought me to this thread. :(
posted by weston at 8:53 PM on January 28, 2004


Damn, sorry. Do you have the full version of Acrobat? (not the free reader). That may be the best solution in terms of editing pre-existing files.
posted by jalexei at 5:03 AM on January 29, 2004


I do have the full version of Acrobat, and I can of course open the PDFs in it! Unfortunately, I'm not very familiar with its toolset... so that could be why I'm unable to edit things within it. Or that could be because everything did get flattened into some kind of uneditable form. Pointers?
posted by weston at 9:59 PM on January 29, 2004


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