Why don't you Place it as a (native) Illustrator file?
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I was able to "place" the pdf as a whole but can't work on each item
You can't edit the PDFs directly in InDesign. There are plug-ins to help, though:
Alternatively, you could try opening up the PDF in Adobe Acrobat Standard or Professional (not the free Adobe Reader) and export the elements, and then put them back together.
Or copy/paste the elements from the .AI file.
I seem to be missing the point. Why aren't you reworking in Illustrator?
Barb, the success of both wholesale converting a PDF to native InDesign and copy/paste from Illustrator into ID depends entirely on the contents of those images. The first should work for fairly simple text with a modicum of graphics, the second only if none of Illustrator's more advanced features are not used. (Where "advanced" is, practically, anything more than plain line artwork.) Also, the paths should not be too complicated.
I fail to see why adjusting is not best done in Illustrator itself.
I hear you. I have a tendency to answer as question as posed, for what that is worth.
I'm all for editing in Illustrator but then we assume that Julie a.) has Illustrator and b.) knows how to use it.
I would assume that she doesn't have Illustrator available to her. Or that her expertise lies in InDesign. I know many people who, for one reason or another (not always in their control), have to make do with the tools they have. Which isn't always the best/proper tool.
I represent Recosoft the creators of PDF2ID https://www.recosoft.com/products/pdf2id. PDF2ID will open up and convert your Illustrator files (that are saved with the PDF compatible option) to native InDesign format. PDF2ID operates on Windows and Mac and supports the latest InDesign CC through CC 2017. You can view a Youtube view posting we have converting an Illustrator file below:
If you have Illustrator and InDesign in a CC subscription, you can add Illustrator Objects to a CC Library and get it from there in other CC applications. But nor every feature will remain as the functionality, even in text, has different functionalities.
Thank you all for your kind and efficient responses. I am new to indesign (for personal use) and don't have access to Illustrator. I just want to be able to do occasional leaflets and brochures.
The plugins would have been perfect but they are expensive. Therefore, I guess I will start from scratch and use the individual items used in the original illustrator file.