8 Replies Latest reply on Sep 24, 2017 11:52 AM by peters41580615

    Importing a PDF file to InDesign

    josee23294466 Level 1



      I was given a manual to be updated but it is in PDF (They dont have the original file) So I wonder how can I import the content to Indesign and work from there.


      There are some plugins I can use but they charge 100 dollars


      Any Ideas instead of paying  100 dollars-plugin?

        • 1. Re: Importing a PDF file to InDesign
          BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

          You have your work cut out for you. Cheapest way is to save the PDF as Word from Acrobat Pro and then place that in InDesign.


          Don’t expect perfection.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Importing a PDF file to InDesign
            Bill Silbert Adobe Community Professional

            You can import the file into InDesign but you will not be able to edit it there. You could recreate the layout in InDesign and depending on whether the text in the pdf was originally an image or if it was created from live text you should be able to copy and paste text from the pdf into your new layout. It is also possible to do some editing in the pdf itself using the latest versions of Acrobat but I have had only limited success doing that because of font issues and I would not recommend it.

            If your goal is just to import a multi-page pdf into a new InDesign file you can do that using a script that comes with recent versions of InDesign. Create an InDesign file to the size of the pages in your pdf with margins of 0. In the open file go under the Windows Menu to Utilities and choose Scripts. The Scripts Panel will look like the screen shot below:


            Under Samples>Applescript choose PlaceMultiplePDF.applescript and double-click. You will then get a navigation window and use it to find the pdf you want. It will ask you what page you want to begin and say page 1. If, as I said before, your pdf is the correct size all of the pages will pop into place.

            2 people found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Importing a PDF file to InDesign
              Test Screen Name Most Valuable Participant

              You're going to have to recreate that. With luck you can at least copy/paste the text from Acrobat into your new document. I hope you quoted accordingly...!

              • 4. Re: Importing a PDF file to InDesign
                joet082964 Level 3

                It can be a can of worms, but it depends on how much needs revised. We all know how "a few changes" really ends up, so biting the bullet and making the full conversion up front may be best.


                I know you don't want to spend the money, but a plugin might pay for itself just in time saved. PDF2ID works pretty well.

                • 5. Re: Importing a PDF file to InDesign
                  olga.dav Level 1

                  I agree with Bob. You can Edit PDFs in Acrobat Pro but don't expect perfection.

                  How long is your document?

                  You could try Illustrator for PDFs editing. The old layers structure of the document would not be the same, but it would be much more easier to recreate or restructure all the elements.

                  • 6. Re: Importing a PDF file to InDesign
                    Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                    Quite frankly, compared to all the work you will need to do (and your time is worth something, right?), $100 for a plug-in is chump change.


                    Acrobat's “edit” function is really for text “touch-up” and not for any significant content modification, such as an updated manual!


                    And to the suggestion that you use Illustrator for PDF editing, I'll repeat what I've often said in these forums:


                    Adobe Illustrator is not, repeat is not, repeat yet again is not a general purpose PDF file editor. Only Illustrator files saved as PDF with the editability option checked that have not been otherwise modified in Acrobat can be reliably edited in the current or new versions of Illustrator than that from which the PDF file was saved! Using Illustrator to edit a general purpose PDF file may very well result is loss of color management, loss of some graphic elements (including text), conversion of text to outlines, etc.


                    The plug-in may be your best and most cost-effective solution!


                              - Dov

                    3 people found this helpful
                    • 7. Re: Importing a PDF file to InDesign
                      olga.dav Level 1

                      Yeah, I agree, in theory it is so... Illustrator is not supposed to edit PDFs on high quality. But the praxis is sometimes different...I had a situation, I had to edit a PDF with CC, but  only a CS5 .ai avaliable and there was no, again, no other option to edit a file rather then to work with a PDF. Just sharing my experience...

                      • 8. Re: Importing a PDF file to InDesign
                        peters41580615 Level 1

                        Awesome - many thanks!