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You're on to something when you attribute the file issues to saving InDesign documents in synched Dropbox folders, but it's probably not an issue with file tagging per se. My bet would be a hanging InDesign lock file (.idlk). The temporary .idlk file is created whenever you open/create an InDesign document, and is designed for version control protection. It prevents two operators from working on the same InDesign document at the same time.
That's all fine and good when you're working with a single file, in a single location on a LAN-like network. But when you're synching "in the cloud" with remote folders, you're effectively creating two InDesign document files -- one on your local system, and one being synched in real time with the cloud storage option you're using. But that can conflict with the temporary .idlk file.
Closing out of the file in one location -- whether it's the local drive on your home laptop and/or the drive on your office desktop -- can cause conflicts with the cloud-synched version you use to pass files between your home and office systems. Multiple versions of the same file, in multiple locations, with conflicting .idlk file(s) created somewhere that can't be immediately read to reconcile the conflicts. I suspect that's why your colleague has no problems with your files, because your colleague is only working with the InDesign document on a local drive (ideally) or at the very least with one machine speaking in real time to the synched Dropbox folder. That's why when you close out of InDesign, and by extension clean out any hanging temporary .idlk files, you can reopen it and work with it again without problems.
You can test this theory yourself by creating a new InDesign document on a local drive, in a folder that isn't synched with Dropbox. I'll bet you a nickel that it will work perfectly fine. Package the document when you're done working with it in that non-synched folder. Copy the entire package folder to a flash drive, then carry it by Sneakernet to your other system. When you copy that package folder into a non-synched folder on the other system and open the InDesign document, I suspect it'll work fine as well. Just like it does without fail when it's opened on your office mate's laptop.
So how do we fix the problem? By ...
1) Using local, non-synched folders for working on InDesign documents at home and at work, then saving packaged folders to the Dropbox folder and using them to transfer your InDesign documents between home and the office. It's a little more work, but it's a bulletproof solution. Or ...
2) Use the solution you're doing now. Close out of InDesign to purge the synched folders of any temporary .idlk files, then restart InDesign, open the next InDesign document and go back to work. Which is a pain but is faster than the bulletproof solution above. Unless, of course, you have to do this for a couple of dozen different InDesign documents a day. Then I'd strongly recommend the 1) option.
Hope this helps ...
Thanks so very much! I'll experiment to see what's what.
I'm reluctant to follow solution 1, working 'offline' and then transferring to Dropbox, because of the likelihood I'll forget to do that at some crucial time. That's why I have Dropbox in the first place, to protect me from my own shortcomings.
I wonder if it is possible to find those .idlk files and just trash them instead, although as with the above I'd have to remember to do that.
Quitting and restarting InDesign is always an option in either case.
In any case, what you explained was very helpful!
I understand your position. Heck, that's what cloud providers promise us when they sign us up for those services: "You can get anywhere, on any device where you can use them, because we're everywhere!" At least in theory ... this is one of those instances where that theory doesn't necessarily hold up in real-world execution.
It is possible to find .idlk files by searching for them through Mac Finder/Windows Explorer, but you don't want to be deleting them until you're sure that every InDesign document on the network is saved and closed. If you manage to dispose of a lock file for an open InDesign document (not an easy task, but still possible with adequate permissions) you can introduce problems far more difficult for you and your fellow users than the ones you're experiencing now. And even for the fastest systems, you'll probably find it's faster to just shut down and restart InDesign that it would be to hunt down any hanging .idlk files anyway.
So it may be a pain, but it looks like answer 2) is your best option.
If this works for you, please mark this question as answered so it can be searched for other users experiencing the same problem. For what it's worth, you're not alone. This is a recurring issue for InDesign users with similar situations to yours ...
Here's hoping things go well for you from here ...
Thanks, again. I was able to find dozens of .idlk files on Dropbox that were never cleared out, but oddly they don't show up anywhere on my desktop The issue only affects files I'm currently working with. Maybe the Dropbox files are archived and not synched.
Anyway, sounds like for me the solution is to start and restart InDesign, which is better than forgetting the file or making it unusable.
Don't know whose job it is to fix this sort of thing but I doubt either Adobe or Dropbox developers are going to raise their hands here.