InDesign tip : #32

it’s amazing the stuff you’ll find sometimes just by poking around in a program. it seems that if you hold the command key while selecting InDesign > about InDesign you’ll get this panel :
InDesign Component Information Panel

it contains all kinds of gobbledegook — the top section of the panel relates to the InDesign application, the bottom section is about the current document.

no doubt this stuff is useful to professionals who know what’s what, but the bit that’s probably most informative to us amateurs is the document history in the bottom left corner. if you scroll down in that panel you find a blow-by-blow rundown of what’s happened to the document since it was first created in InDesign :
Indesign Document History 01
this one shows a document that was originally converted from a QuarkXpress file back in 2009, has been ‘saved as’ several times, and went through a conversion this morning when it was opened on a different machine in a different version of InDesign.

the listed dates may well help you track down earlier versions of a document but it’s particularly good at letting you know when a file might be getting a little tired (before it finally falls over and refuses to budge).

there are two ways to quickly build a fresh version of a failing file. the first way is the ‘authorised’ technique : save or export your file to the idml format, then open and save. the advantage of this method is that you get an exact duplicate of the old file (with ALL styles, swatches, etc.). the new document history will look something like this :
Indesign Document History 02

but way back in tip #05 we looked at a different method. it basically involves moving pages to a new document :
Move Pages dialog

this is a superior method in several respects : it’s faster, especially as documents get bigger (‘converting’ an idml file can often take some time) ; it also strips out all unused styles, swatches, master pages, etc. so you basically end up with a cleaner file. and the new document history will look something like this :
Indesign Document History 03

have a look and add a comment if you find another cool use for the Adobe InDesign Component Information panel.

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InDesign tip : #05

before launching into the latest tip — here’s a funny little story… imagine someone, a friend, is interested in automating workflows and uses applescript to achieve quite astonishing time savings. this friend regularly deals with old dodgy files which no longer behave correctly and has to rebuild them by copying all the content across to a new, fresh file (inx and idml are no good because most links are broken at this stage of the workflow). no worries, applescript should be able to handle the problem easily. and it DOES. our friend is chuffed because he needs to use this script about five or six times a year to recover failing files. got all that? cool.

now imagine this friend discovering that InDesign can already copy all the content from one file into another. the function is already there — no scripting required — works perfectly. talk about laugh.

ok, so the story is not THAT funny, unless you’re a geek (because they don’t get out much). anyway, here’s the tip…

salvage a recalcitrant file — duplicate its contents to a fresh file :
create a new file with the same dimensions as the original
the new file only needs a single page
go to your original file and select every page in the pages panel
from the pages panel dropdown menu, choose ‘move pages…’
select your new document from the ‘Move to:’ dropdown menu
delete the first page from the new document and save

pages panel dropdown screen grab
move pages window screen grab

unfortunately this functionality is not available in CS2 — not sure about CS3 — definitely works in CS4 and later.

in fairness to our friend, it should be mentioned that the original script was written for CS2 — when the ‘move pages’ command did not support inter-document transfers. you’ll be pleased to know that the script is still useful.
a modified version was used just this week, apparently, to copy the contents of only two layers of a 55 page file across to four other existing files which needed the same content added to the same pages.

if you are interested in having a play with the original script…
you can get a copy of DupDoc.applescript here

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