9 Replies Latest reply on Jun 28, 2013 6:17 AM by Izac R...

    link pages between documents (is it possible?) CS6

    Izac R...

      I've acquired the task at my new job of redesigning parts lists and operators manuals. i'm somewhat knowledgeable in indesign you could say more than the average person. (i'm learning more and more everyday). But on to my question as stated above. Is it possible???


           I've made templates for the manuals i'm creating but i always find myself changing a design aspect on a page or two and trying to keep all the documents looking nice and uniform i have to open each one up and make the same changes to match. Well as i get more and more manuals to redo, opening and making changes to all these documents gets a little daunting and monotonous. Now as long as i have like say my back cover page for example that does not change at all from document to document, is there a way to link it to all of the other back covers so that if i change something on one it changes all the back covers for all the linked documents?

           Also i may be getting ahead of myself but i have a few pages where all that differes is like a few words (i like to think of them as variables) such as the name of the product the manual is for. If its possible to link pages would it be possible to tell ID to "ignore" a peice of text say inbetween two character sets? IE: "this is the best" (variable) "in the world".


      I may just be dreaming but if theres any function or tool to do this that anyone knows of (or even a script someone has made) please feel free to share it with me!


      Thanks for your time!

        • 2. Re: link pages between documents (is it possible?) CS6
          Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

          I'm not sure exactly what you are looking for, but I suspect ID can't really do it. What ID can do, though, is synchronize master pages in a Book, so perhaps adding your various files to a Book would get you closer.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 3. Re: link pages between documents (is it possible?) CS6
            Joel Cherney Level 5

            Well, for your question no. 2, yes, there are text variables in InDesign that do exactly what you ask. Type menu -> Text Variables -> Define.


            For question no. 1: you can place one InDesign document into another as an image, so if you have perfectly identical pages you can place that way. If you need the textual content to be identical but the presentation format to change, I'd suggest keeping your text in Word or Google Docs and looking into WordFlow or DocsFlow from Em Software. Lastly, the most complicated, least use-able option is to include your documents in a Book file and use Sync Master Pages to cause changes in one master page to cascade to your other files.


            You can get much fancier with Q no 1, in the form of structured authoring, content management systems, et cetera, but I think that placing InDesign files into other InDesign files is pretty much exactly what you're looking for.

            • 4. Re: link pages between documents (is it possible?) CS6
              Joel Cherney Level 5

              I knew that I should have refreshed before posting. Book files are useful but can be risky - spend some time playing around with it, don't immediately try to use 'em in your workflow.

              • 5. Re: link pages between documents (is it possible?) CS6
                John Mensinger Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                I have pages and elements linked all across a body of technical documents just as you describe. The Content Collector/Placer function, placed pages, and thorough forethought are really all you need.


                There are many benefits, but be cautious. If anyone else has occasion to work with your files, there may easily be confusion and/or breakage. And, any migrations or changes in folder structure must be done with careful planning and a few low-impact tests up-front.

                1 person found this helpful
                • 6. Re: link pages between documents (is it possible?) CS6
                  Izac R... Level 1

                  thanks everyone for the fast replies! All of the suggested methods sound like they would be feezable options to achive some of my goal. I will look into them and see what works the best for me. However here's to hoping Adobe adds a feature/ui for this (data management between multiple docs) in the future, i have a feeling i wouldnt be the only one to benefit from that.


                  p.s. i just thought of another way to explain what im looking for by compairison:


                  Im a CAD guy by profession so if anyones ever used the program solidworks then they would know what im talking about IE: having multiple assmbelies that use the same part. Now Lets say that part needs its size or tolerances adjusted. you can go into that part file change what needs to be changed and the assembilies that its in will update when opened the next time accordingly.


                  • 7. Re: link pages between documents (is it possible?) CS6
                    Joel Cherney Level 5

                    Hey there CAD-guy-by-profession,


                    I'm a translation/DTP guy by profession, and I have many times worked on projects where the CAD guy/gal and the tech-writer guy/gal all had to use a workflow that I'd set up. So I do know a bit about Solidworks. And TBQH, the best way to get the "assemblies" you're looking for is to use a tool that sits on top of FrameMaker. Frame itself has some structured authoring tools that let you define chunks of text as "assemblies" via XML. But it's not nearly as straightforward as you'd think, coming from Solidworks.


                    You can do something similar with placed documents or linked text documents in InDesign, but you get only one "layer" of depth, and they only update upon opening the document, and there are other limitation as well. But InDesign is a design tool, not a writing tool or a document management tool.


                    It is possible to use Data Merge to do some of what you're talking about - you store your text in CSV, and can then automatically build documents with placeholders.


                    It is also possible to store your text and images in a database, then export XML from the database, and build InDesign docs in a way that is pretty close to automatic.


                    However, there are so many different document management needs in this world that the chances that Adobe will build one that looks like what you want are slim at this point in the game. Look at Arbortext or SDL Global AMS. In the end, the thing you want is currently not a single-seat tool but a massive enterprise-grade management system. If you want a single-user document content management system... I'd say that you'd be best served by boning up on Javascript and writing your own scripts for that purpose in InDesign.

                    1 person found this helpful
                    • 8. Re: link pages between documents (is it possible?) CS6
                      Izac R... Level 1

                      i tried your suggestion John and content collector seems to be helping with what i needed alot! and no worries im currently the only one with ID in the entire place so thats good atleast.


                      edit: i thought of a pretty good idea however if someone using this method was afraid of other users messing with it:


                      1. link everything from template files


                      2. add shortcuts to those files to somewhere that only you have acess too IE: desktop


                      3. mark original files as hidden


                      4. wala, well thats assuming files are shared across a server(s) but if they arent then theres really no worry about other people screwing up your files (unless they're specificly out to get you).


                      Message was edited by: Izac R...

                      • 9. Re: link pages between documents (is it possible?) CS6
                        Izac R... Level 1

                        mastering all the "ins and out" of xml is a bit over my head for the time being but it is a good suggestion. I played with it for a bit using MS word to write a file and got basic text to link across docs but formating was out the window and i didnt even bother to try an image. As for the java, i studied a bit in college but nothing too intensive. might have to pick up a book and do some self teaching although ive always sort of struggled with learning languages.