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When will we be able to open and edit PDF documents in Indesign?

Feb 9, 2012 3:46 AM

Tags: #pdf #files #open #indesign #in

Hi

 

It would be nice if Indesign could open PDF files.

 

When will this happen (without a plugin)?

 

Today I need to open the files in Illustrator. The customer prefers to use Indesign, so even though Indesign can export pdf documents I will have to tell the customer and the program can not open pdf files. This I find really weird.

 

Hopefully opening and editing pdf files in Indesign will happen real soon.

 

Have a great day!

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 9, 2012 5:27 AM   in reply to Paal Joachim

    Hopefully never.

     

    Even opening any random PDF in Illustrator doesn't work, and I'm 100% sure you already found that out the hard way. PDFs are simply not meant to be edited in general.

     

    If you want to get an approximation of an existing PDF into InDesign, purchase PDF2ID -- http://www.recosoft.com/products/pdf2id/ (I deliberately call this an "approximation" because even though Recosoft does wonders, they cannot do miracles).

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 9, 2012 5:44 AM   in reply to Paal Joachim

    Markzware is also curently testing a plugin for opening PDFs in ID and one for Quark, as well. I tried to sign up for the public beta, but alas they develop for Mac and only port to Windows at the end of the process.

     

    Given their excellent track record with the Q2ID Quark conversion plugin, I have pretty high hopes, but as Jongware points out there are such vast structural differences in the formats (not to mention within PDFs created bay the myriad converters and applications with PDF capabilities, not all of which necessarily adhere to the specs) that It is pretty much inevitable that these files will be only starting points for heavy editing. PDF just doesn't carry a lot of the information that is used in ID -- styles, master pages, swatches... -- so a converter either has to ignore those things or make them up based on guesses derived from some sort of pattern in the file, not an easy task.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 10, 2012 5:48 AM   in reply to Paal Joachim

    In fact it probably isn't enough of a demand to divert Adobe resources when there is already one, and soon to be another, third-party plugin available. It's pretty unlikely, too, that Adobe would deliberately include as part of the program any feature that could only read some PDFs. This is not quite the same as, for example, not reading Quark files version 5 or higher (due to a change in format and legal restictions against decryption) because PDF is a standard and is intended to be read by any any application that reads PDF regardless of what application produced it, if the producer and reader both conform to the standard. We hear a lot of complaints about Mac Preview and complex PDF. Imagine what would happen if ID failed to open 75% of the files, or even just one very important one -- yours.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 10, 2012 11:48 AM   in reply to Paal Joachim

    Paal, can you be our test pilot to examine if this project is feasable? E.g., first learn the internal structure of a PDF (it's actually very straightforward), then write a program that is able to read *anything* out of a PDF file. If you succeed, go on to discern pages, text frames, columns, continuing paragraphs, individual characters, and formatting.

     

    Post back here when you got to that point -- I have a backlog of really challenging PDFs for you to dive into.

     
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  • John Hawkinson
    5,572 posts
    Jun 25, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 10, 2012 10:57 PM   in reply to Paal Joachim

    Paul, I'm not sure if anyone pointed it out, but Acrobat Pro will let you do (limited) edits on InDesign-produced PDFs without a mess.

    It's just that the limitations are quite limiting.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 12, 2012 4:00 AM   in reply to Paal Joachim

    Paal, I'm sorry for that little out-lash. There is nothing wrong with inquiring the feasability of a new feature. The problem is that PDF has been an "output intended format" from the very beginning.

     

    An Illustrator file (from a fairly modern version) also is a PDF file, for all intents and purposes. You can rename an .AI file to .PDF and use it anywhere, with any software that supports PDF (so that's excepting Apple's Preview, probably ;-) ). Moreover, you can still open and edit this PDF with Illustrator and get all of your objects, symbols, layers, paragraph styles, and guides back!

     

    That's because in fact this file *contains* all this extra information in a data block marked "For Private Use Only". Other software, if adhering to Adobe's PDF specs, will simply ignore this (and thus my little jab at Apple's Preview). Does that mean you can edit such a PDF with *any* software? No -- the Illustrator data is "proprietary", and the details are not published to use by other software developers. Similarly, one could envisage InDesign to do the same. Yes, it would lead to *huge* files -- but hey, you would be able to open THAT file into InDesign and edit it. But not with any other software!

     

    The meta-problem is that an extremely large amount of this private data would be *extremely* dependant on the software that was used to create it with. What would an Illustrator file do with InDesign's GREP styles? What would InDesign do with Illlustrator's brush styles, or symbols? Illustrator allows slanted guides, InDesign does not.

    And let's not focus purely on a combo of ID and Illy; Photoshop *also* outputs PDFs, and its graphic data has yet another set of requirements.

     

    So all of Adobe's software would need to be able to parse *every others' data* to some degree. Well, it's still not "unconceivable" as all of this would need to be done in one office (note that in that single office there are still vast differences in something as straightforward as a User Interface across the CS suite). But there are lots of other software developers out there, and they *all* want to write out PDFs, all with their own internal data! (Think of the different requirements between an architectural app and one for graph plotting.)

     

    A *possible* solution would be to add "more" metadata to a PDF without crossing into the realm of "every single bit". Article tagging is an example of this -- it tells software that wants to know in which order *plain text* is to appear, and as such it serves as meta-data for plain text content. But the mind reels thinking of what more to add -- a list of used GREP styles per paragraph would probably be useless to anyone else.

     

    But such an idea will not solve the problem, as 1. this meta-data is optional (lazy programmers would be allowed to say "nothing to see here, move along"), and 2. this data would only get added to *newly created* files, and it would not retroactively make older PDFs editable ...

     

    (Now that's just the *short* version :-) h

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 18, 2012 6:06 PM   in reply to Paal Joachim

    Hello Paal -

     

    We've been creating PDF conversion software for about 10 years. We pioneered PDF to InDesign conversions by releasing PDF2ID. The tool that everyone uses to convert PDFs to editable InDesign files. We even create PDF to Office (Word, Excel, PPT) and PDF to iWork (Pages, Keynote, Numbers) solution.

     

    PDFs come in various flavors. There is no such thing as a standard "PDF". There is a "PDF" standard but its not something everyone adheres to (we've had the experience over the years to build in many exception cases into our PDF conversion technology). A PDF is an archive format. Its fixed layout with many "high-level" properties missing (paragraphs, line layout, tables, Drop caps, Drop shadow, columns etc just to name a small list out of maybe a million). Just think of a PDF file containing object with nothing but else but an x,y location and width, height.

     

    Any PDF to something converter has to "guess" how to structure things on its own. Our tools have an advanced "Contextual Analytics" engine that accomplishes this process (its 10-years in making thus its evolved quite a bit). But alas its not perfect. The best way to get a PDF into an InDesign format, is to use PDF2ID (I use it everyday). It wont work 100% but it gets you close enough. We have trial versions and you should see it for yourself what it can accomplish.

     
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  • John Hawkinson
    5,572 posts
    Jun 25, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 19, 2012 5:45 AM   in reply to Paal Joachim

    Paal Joachim wrote:

    I took a look at Adobe Acrobat Pro, but prefer to use Indesign if possible or Illustrator. Acrobat Pro ilooks totally different then the other Adobe software.

    Let's be perfectly clear.

    Of all the tools discussed, Acrobat Pro is the only one that is designed for this problem and can non-destructively edit PDF files without loss of quality or compromise. (Yes, PDF2ID is designed for this, but no, it does not give you exactly the same output that you started from.)

     

    Maybe in your case your edit is straightforward enough that this doesn't matter.

     

    But in the general case, you should use Acrobat Pro. Yes, it is different. Yes, it is limited. But it is the right tool for the job, and avoiding the right tool because your are unfamiliar with it is not a good idea.

     

    Best of luck!

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 30, 2013 2:53 AM   in reply to John Hawkinson

    In my case (and many other case)

     

    I have a lot a big PDF with 10 to 50 pages

     

    I have to edit the pdf by changing Logo or contact-infos

     

    ON EVERY PAGE.

     

    So doing it in InDesign seem logical, since I can use MASTER PAGE, and apply it to all the pages,

    not doing it one by one...

     

    I don't know a lot about Acrobat X Pro, I used some of its feature for editing, but I didn't see something like InDesign for editing. (master page/gabarit, layout etc)

     

     

    ---

     

    And while reading other thread in forums.adobe.com,

    I've seen a lot of people saying : using indesign for editing pdf is like using photoshop to do it

     

    well no... InDesign does Keep the vector attribut of the graphic... so no GigaBytes of PDF in 300dpi.

     

     

    ---

     

    I thing it's stupid that Indesign allow you to "import PDF" when you have created a New document in InDesign and then place them one by one

     

    Why not doing it just by finding the edge/size of the PDF pages, and then batch-import them rapidly...? "a one click import"

     

    NO... YOU HAVE TO DO IT ONE BY ONE... and that stupid.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 30, 2013 3:35 AM   in reply to Asurani

    I don't kow what's behind or surrounding the logo, but if it's amenable to having a frame with a filled background and a new logo placed over it to block out the original you can certainly do this in ID using a master page.

     

    Use Scott Zanelli's wonderful script to place the PDF in a new file (InDesignSecrets » Blog Archive » Zanelli Releases MultiPageImporter for Importing both PDF and INDD Files) then add a new layer above and on the master page put your new logo in it's filled frame in position.

     
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