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    Russell Viers is a Transition Expert in the publishing world. Since 1997 he has helped newspapers and magazines adapt to changes in the industry. Read more...

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  • InDesign CS3: Multi-file Place and InDesignInDaInDesign

    April 5th, 2007 by Russell Viers

    What’s the big feature in InDesign CS3?
    You know the one I’m talking about. Everytime Adobe releases new software there’s that one new thing that, when demonstrated, makes everyone in the room sound like their at a fireworks display… “ooh…aaahh!”
    For me it’s a combination of the Multi-file placement feature and the ability to place InDesign documents inside other InDesign documents.
    Big stuff.
    First, the Multi-file plac-a-lizer.
    Watch the video
    So here’s the scenario: You’re at your desk, you just finished putting frames on an 11” x 17” spread for a product brochure you’re doing and just as you’re done, the photos and text come in. “Finally,” you mumble under your breath.
    All you have to do to finish this bad boy up and hit the road is drop in 20 photos, a couple of text files and a few logos…and thanks to InDesign CS3, you can go File> Place and select the whole shootin’ match and you’ll see a thumbnail of each graphic, text, etc. so you know where to drop ‘em. Click, click, click and a bunch more clicks later you’re on your bike heading home to catch the game, or movie or whatever you do after work.
    And just like any new feature release, it only takes 15 minutes before someone says “Yea, but will it do this?”
    Thus is the case with Jeremiah Shimshak with the Winona Post in Winona, MN, who writes:

    “I do alot of Real Estate ads which of course have many graphic frames that I have to place photos of houses into. I’ve got the photos saved by the MLS number, such as (2921234_55 E 2nd St.psd). Now, using CS3 I can select all the photos to place at once, and see a preview of the photo next to the cursor. But that really doesn’t help me. What I really need is to be able to see the Filename instead of the preview, so that I can make sure I get the correct photo with the corresponding description in the ad. Is that possible at all?”

    Uhhh…No…not that I’ve found, but I’ll bet it will be in the next version. Great suggestion, thanks.
    As for putting an InDesign document inside another InDesign document, is this a dream come true?
    Watch the video
    Now you can keep ads or parts of a design you want to use in multiple projects editable all the way through the project. No more making a PDF, placing it on a page, seeing a typo, finding the original file, editing it, re-PDFing it, hoping you rename it correctly so it overwrites the old one, etc.
    Wow…good stuff.
    There is a dark side, however, and one we should all be aware of. You can’t embed fonts into an InDesign document. So if you are working alone or in a controlled environment like an agency, you should be fine. But if you start sending InDesign documents in lieu of PDFs outside of your four walls, you may have some problems.
    And even though you can embed graphics in an InDesign doc, I only recommend it for specific instances…and I’m not sure, yet, if this is one of them.
    Until I get a little more live production time with it, I see this feature as a huge collaboration tool with people on the same network, with access to the same fonts, graphics, etc.
    Designer A works on a part of a design that is going to drop into many different magazines his company produces. By placing an InDesign document instead of PDF or other format, designer A still has the ability to edit up until the page or pages are going to be output or packaged for press. In theory, designer B could drop the InDesign document on the page while it’s nothing more than a blank space, and as A works on it and saves, B will get a Modified File notice in his links palette. When B updates, he can see the current state of A’s work. In fact, since A’s work is placed in many different magazine, when the document is updated, it will be changed automatically for designers C, D, E, F & G, as well.
    For a lot of what I do, Snippets and Libraries are still the answer. Why, you ask? Because you can’t edit the InDesign doc inside the other InDesign doc. Not a big deal as you can opt/alt + double-click on it to open it in InDesign and edit it, but it’s a different way of working.
    This is yet another example of where the new tool is really nifty and powerful, but it won’t replace all the old ones. There will still be value in Libraries, Snippets and PDF. This is just one more new tool to tackle a different need.
    Together, the Multi-file place and InDesign in InDesign, or perhaps InDesignInDaInDesign feature, are a powerful new way to get to deadline quicker.

    6 Responses to “InDesign CS3: Multi-file Place and InDesignInDaInDesign”

    1. Deborah Says:

      Can you place mutliple page indd’s into a document. I only get the first page of a two page document I tried to place.

    2. admin Says:

      When placing a multi-page ID document, after you select File> Place and choose the file you want to place, click Show Import Options. In the next window you’ll be able to click through the pages in the document to find the one you want.
      RV

    3. Mark Says:

      I have an issue with placing an .indd file with transparent .psd files into another .indd file, though. Whenever I do this, it works fine on screen, but as soon as I try to print or pdf the file to pdf/x-1a:2001, the .psd file gets sliced and stretched in wierd ways. The whole thing gets quartered, and each quarter gets pulled and stretched. Any input on how to tackle that?

    4. admin Says:

      Can you send me the file in question so I have something in front of me to reference. I think for now just the PDF would be a good start so I see the output problem you are.

      From that I’ll try to reproduce the problem on my end and maybe we can see what’s going on.

    5. KD Says:

      a client has submitted us 200 single indesign documents with all fonts and links for their book we are to publish. They have also submitted 1 indesign document where they have placed all 200 of their single indd files into. We are trying to process the 1 indd so we don’t have to open all 200 docs to process. We have converted all of their links from RGB to CMYK, so the links have been modified; when we go into the combined file, it will not allow us to update the links. How can we update the links?

    6. admin Says:

      KD:
      First of all, you didn’t have to convert those files from RGB to CMYK as ID will do it for you on the output.
      Second, you can’t. Unfortunately, the way ID works, if you have place ID files in another ID file, you can’t update links in the HOST ID file. Bummer.
      I would probably look at using the Book feature for output (File> New> Book). Compile all the 200 ID files into the book and manage that way. Much easier.
      Sorry so slow in replying to your question…I feel like I live in an airplane lately.

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