13 Replies Latest reply: Jan 28, 2013 12:30 PM by MW Design RSS

    How do I import a .PDF into inDesign?

    Community Member
      How do I import a .PDF into inDesign? Does anybody know how? I need to edit a book in inDesign that is a .PDF. So if anyone know how to do that please tell me.
        • 1. Re: How do I import a .PDF into inDesign?
          BobLevine UGM
          http://recosoft.com/products/pdf2id/index.htm

          Bob
          • 2. Re: How do I import a .PDF into inDesign?
            Tony Morse Community Member
            In other words, InDesign cannot open PDF files by itself. PDF is a final format, it is not intended to be edited.

            Keep in mind that even with that plugin unless the file is very basic you won't get anywhere near a perfect conversion.
            • 3. Re: How do I import a .PDF into inDesign?
              NitroPress Community Member
              There are other techniques for "ripping" a PDF to something like editable form, but most transform the file into Word format. There are better tools that will extract the content with minimal formatting, but that means the entire document has to be re-typeset.

              As noted, PDF is just not meant to be edited and the workarounds are poor and clumsy at best.

              A very wonky technique to make minor edits is to import and place the PDF in a new document, then painstakingly lay the corrections over the existing type. Yes, I've done it. No, I'm not proud of it. :P
              • 4. Re: How do I import a .PDF into inDesign?
                yard camel Community Member

                Seems strangely unsatisfying that two Adobe formats don't talk well to each other.  I'm working on a book that will have big chunks of polytonic Greek - these files are being produced on a Mac in Word.  I need to get these Mac-flavored files, full of Greek, into InDesign (with copyediting along the way).  Author and I thought that PDFs would be the way to go, because they hold the Greek steady.  Now I discover that PDF --> InDesign doesn't work.

                 

                What's my backup choice?  Sure, I can port the Mac-original into Word, and place that file, but that means I'll have to retype about 40 pages of Greek.  Slow, expensive, and likely to be error-prone.

                 

                What are alternatives?  Would a PostScript file format help? I'm not sure how those work.

                 

                Is there a conversion filter that handles Mac / PC (=Indesign) that will keep non-Latin fonts intact?   We're a v. small company - no way I can spring $300 for the plug-in mentioned above on this thread.  Hoping something has come along since 2002.

                 

                thx

                Yard Camel

                • 5. Re: How do I import a .PDF into inDesign?
                  BobLevine UGM

                  What do you mean PDF doesn't work? What happens when you try?

                   

                  BTW, I hope you understand that PDFs must be placed into an InDesign layout, not opened? This leaves you with a static PDF that cannot be changed.

                   

                  If you need changes you'll need to change the original file and re-create the PDF.

                   

                  But I think I should point out that Mac/Windows is undoubtedly a red herring here. If you need to edit the Word file, using file>place, not copy/paste would be the best bet.

                   

                  BTW, your opening remark shows a common misconception that all formats are interchangeable. This is simply untrue. There's a reason that the formats are different and PDF was never a format that was intended for editing. It's an end product much like a printed page.

                   

                  Bob

                  • 6. Re: How do I import a .PDF into inDesign?
                    Peter Spier ACP/MVPs

                    I agree with Bob that the whole Mac/PC thing is a red herring. Place the Word (or other text format) file, and use a substitute font if required because the original is a Mac-only format. Is there something sacred about the font? Are there no PC compatible fonts with the correct glyphs? What was the format before your friend made PDFs? Why do you think you'd need to re-type anything?

                     

                    OpenType fonts are completely cross-platform compatible, and Windows-format TT fonts should work equally well in OS X, so you could ask your friend to use one of those on his end if you want to be sure there is no change in appearance.

                     

                    Peter

                    • 7. Re: How do I import a .PDF into inDesign?
                      Mr. Met Community Member

                      This has been cropping up quite a bit lately about opening PDFs in ID or some other app. People aren't grasping what a PDF is intended to be. Even odder is that people expect to open native ID files in word or vice versa and have it all work flawlessly as they go back and forth with edits. Granted this request or misunderstanding seems to be on the lower end of the design spectrum but still a bit puzzling to read about over and over again. ID is a page layout program, PS is for photo editing, AI for vector images and MS Word is a word processing. All discrete apps with specific functions inherent to them.

                       

                      With PDFs, the fact that all of us have, at one time or another, opened PDFs in Acrobat or AI or PS to "fix" a PDF has probably led a fair number of people to think this is standard workflow and should work flawlessly every time. Tampering with a PDF is a kludge at best.

                      • 8. Re: How do I import a .PDF into inDesign?
                        Community Member

                        grmg wrote:

                         

                        This has been cropping up quite a bit lately about opening PDFs in ID or some other app. People aren't grasping what a PDF is intended to be. Even odder is that people expect to open native ID files in word or vice versa and have it all work flawlessly as they go back and forth with edits. Granted this request or misunderstanding seems to be on the lower end of the design spectrum but still a bit puzzling to read about over and over again. ID is a page layout program, PS is for photo editing, AI for vector images and MS Word is a word processing. All discrete apps with specific functions inherent to them.

                         

                        With PDFs, the fact that all of us have, at one time or another, opened PDFs in Acrobat or AI or PS to "fix" a PDF has probably led a fair number of people to think this is standard workflow and should work flawlessly every time. Tampering with a PDF is a kludge at best.

                        This all stems from the misconception that if you have a computer with Adobe software you are now a qualified Designer

                        • 9. Re: How do I import a .PDF into inDesign?
                          yard camel Community Member

                          Bob, Peter, grmg, many thanks for your very helpful comments.  Delighted mac/pc not relevant.  Will scratch that from list of herrings to chase.

                           

                          Re PDFs - actually, I'm working in Acrobat (not just a finalized PDF), and Acrobat does of course allow editing of a sort; I'd concluded that since Adobe is willing to tolerate that degree of editing with its product, it should therefore tolerate moving its native format (*.pdf) into another of its own native formats (*.indd). I see that's a misconception.

                           

                          This morning I tried all flavors I could find of getting my Acrobatted content into ID3, including copy/paste, place, and import (from the ID side); none was satisfactory.  Output from Acrobat to Word and then placing Word was fine for English but destroyed the Greek - not just wrong font, but complete gobbledygook and loss of all diacriticals.  Names of fonts don't matter for my purposes; the legibility of the English, and the legibility and tonic accuracy of the Greek do matter. Author of this project is not tech-savvy and is using old Greek system as well; nothing he or i can do to fix that.

                           

                          Current plan is to request author to provide me his native files, which will be Mac files.  Am I understanding the Import dialog and your collecitve comments to suggest that with that file resident on my PC (and unopened), I can use the Place dialog, with "Show Options" selected, to get the Mac file into ID?

                           

                          Chapeaux to those of you with constructive comments - hugely appreciated.

                          YC

                          • 10. Re: How do I import a .PDF into inDesign?
                            Peter Spier ACP/MVPs

                            yard camel wrote:

                             

                            Current plan is to request author to provide me his native files, which will be Mac files.  Am I understanding the Import dialog and your collecitve comments to suggest that with that file resident on my PC (and unopened), I can use the Place dialog, with "Show Options" selected, to get the Mac file into ID?

                            It will depend on the format in which they were saved. ID has no import filters for the lesser word processors, but can use RTF or plain text which almost any word processor can save. The one area that may be a problem when changing fonts, and I only understand this at the basic level, is that some fonts will have special glyphs for your special tonal marks, while others will use combining forms to construct them from multiple glyphs, so you should try a sample and see.

                             

                            Peter

                            • 11. Re: How do I import a .PDF into inDesign?
                              yard camel Community Member

                              Thanks much, Peter, will keep that in mind.  Trial /error seems to be my friend so far.

                               

                              Thanks for your help.

                              YC

                              • 12. Re: How do I import a .PDF into inDesign?
                                x6xstrung

                                With Adobe's competitor, CorelDRAW, you can actually import a PDF into a project just by dragging it in... and the text will be editable.

                                 

                                I'm not condoning the use of Corel for anything else, however... I just happen to use it at work and am astounded at the simple nature of this feature. I've never seen another program able to edit PDF's so easily.

                                • 13. Re: How do I import a .PDF into inDesign?
                                  MW Design Community Member

                                  @x6

                                   

                                  Several applications can open PDFs for editing, not just Corel. It isn't a simple thing, and I feel personally that it is unneeded in ID natively. But that is just my feeling. And there is a plug-in that one can purchase to do so though.

                                   

                                  Mike