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Apparently nobody knows for sure, or your question scrolled by too fast. My understanding is that with most plugins you either only need them to create the content or they throw an error when the file is opened that the plugin is missing when you need them to continue working. You probably should check with the PowerMath plugin vendor, though. Looks like http://www.phsoftware.com/pages/powermath_indesign.html
Thanks Peter. As you say, nobody seems to know for sure.
PowerMath was very prompt in getting back to me, though didn't readily know the answer themselves. They mentioned something about exporting to text and searching for [& then &] but after pestering them too many times (I guess) I hadn't heard back from them about further details on that method. I'll post back if I do hear from them regarding that.
We're PC based and have our "token" Macintosh onto which I loaded PowerMath. I then opened the file there and saved it as an INX into which, I was told by PowerMath, the PowerMath objects would be saved. Opening the INX back on the PC I no longer received the warning for the plug-in.
I can only assume this means there were no PowerMath objects in the file.
PowerMath did tell me that at one time if a PowerMath object was added to a file and later deleted the reference to the plug-in stayed in the InD file. I'm thinking this was the case here.
So, unfortunately, I didn't really get an answer to my original main question about plug-ins. Maybe in an future rev. of InD we'll have something.
It may also mean that you only need the plugin to CREATE the objects originally, but once in place they can be read by unencumbered versions. I think a lot of plugins work that way.
Yes, the gent at PowerMath wasn't sure whether I would see the equation or an empty box on a computer without PowerMath loaded.
Addendem: Didn't even need to save as an INX, simply saved from the Mac, with PowerMath loaded, to another InD file and opened on the PC without getting the message.
So, the lastest PowerMath plug-in seems to have removed the "false" reference to the plug-in.