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Exporting to PDF. Why can´t Indesign overwrite pdf when pdf is open when Illustrator is able to?

Apr 23, 2012 7:59 AM

Tags: #illustrator #pdf #export #indesign

This is something i encounter quite often. This happens when I work in an InDesign document and after exporting to pdf and mailing to the client i usually get feedback from clients so that i have to make changes to the indesign file and export again. If i leave the pdf document window open, or if the pdf file is active in any microsoft program(ie. Word, powerpoint, or as an attachement to an entourage or outlook mail that is not yet sent, but waiting for me to press the send button), InDesign will give me an error saying : Unable to save "filename" to the specified location. The file may be damaged or corrupt, or it may already be open (or sometihnig similar). .. the solution is often simple, as it only requires that i close the pdf file in acrobat. The irritating aspect of this is that sometimes it doesn't help to close the pdf at all, and all i am able to do is to save to another filename..


All this is ofcourse something i can understand could be a adobe/apple communication problem or something to that effect, and could've been something i would be able to endure..


The question that pops into my mind is that illustrator manages to save to pdf without me having to close anything at all, so for me it seems as if Adobe has done things right with the Illustrator to pdf export but this hasn't been done in the indesign to pdf export...


Is there any hope that Adobe will try to fix this problem?


i work on a Mac OSX 10.6.8 and Adobe CS 5 software..

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 23, 2012 8:06 AM   in reply to AEvangelist

    The funny thing is that it can also do this for images in photoshop - any file format, it will ask you if you want to up date the currently open image.


    It's very strange, the only difference I can see for InDesign vs Illustrator is that Illustrator "Saves to PDF" and InDesign uses "Export" - so might be something in how the programs function.


    As Illustrator can OPEN a pdf - where InDesign cannot, so it needs to Export to a file format that it cannot open directly - thus it can't overwrite that file once it's opened in Another Application.

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    Apr 23, 2012 8:46 AM   in reply to AEvangelist

    Well the Illustrator file is now a PDF - and it's being viewed in Acrobat. You can make changes to the Original in Illustrator and Acrobat recognises it has been updated and reloads the PDF.


    If you Export from InDesign, it's creating a completely new file, and it causes data loss in the PDF (styles etc are stripped), which you can view in Acrobat. If you try to Export from InDesign to the same file, then InDesign warns you that Acrobat is already reading that Data.



    The difference really is that Illustrator can save to a PDF - and it has the PDF open as an editable file. When Acrobat opens it to view it it can recognise it's still open in it's parent program. InDesign PDF does not have a Parent program that it can be open in, so Acrobat can't recognise that. So InDesign warns you that the File you're trying to save to is in use by another program.

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    Apr 23, 2012 8:47 AM   in reply to Eugene Tyson

    For the record, I'm not a "software" guy, and I don't really know if this is how it works, but that is my interpretation of how I see things. It's an interesting discussion, I'm sure there are others that have more intimate knowledege on the difference.

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