26 Replies Latest reply on May 21, 2018 5:22 AM by Steve Werner

    InDesign Borders

    RevRatspeed Level 1

      I'm facing a major frustration, and I'm wondering if there's already a solution, or if this needs to be a new feature to be implemented in future InDesign versions.


      Adobe Illustrator has a wonderful palette for brushes which can be used as borders for text, etc. However, InDesign seems to be at a standstill in its border palette development since.. well, since the beginning of InDesign. With the exception of some minor corner style developments, designers still seem to be constrained to creating flat, simple multi-lined "Quark" style borders. (e.g.: Thick-Thick, Thick-Thin, etc.) with a propriatory file type: *.inst.


      It's impossible to find designers trading *.inst files online, versus the Illustrator Brush file types, *.ai files which can be found in abundance both for free or charge. My theory behind this is that, at some point in the last 10 years, a developer must have intended to expand the border creation abilities in InDesign, but never received any attention and concentrated on other more important features. Well, I'm here to appeal to the developers! It's time! Time, I say!


      Now, why would I want the Illustrator Brush/Stroke functionality in InDesign?


      Well, it seems like a no-brainer to me; it's a matter of workflow. When I'm designing anything more complicated than a logo or digital illustration, such as a flyer, a book, or any other multi-page piece with text and illustrations, I use InDesign for its pre-press abilities, bleed setups, typography styles, linking, etc. Thus, it just makes sense that if I make a border around a page, I should have a nice, wide variety of borders to choose from, or create ones on the fly from Illustrator *.ai files just like in Illustrator.


      This apparent lack of cross-compatibility means in order to achieve anything more than a flat line or easter-egg smiley faces, I'm limited to creating a pre-shaped border Illustrator and placing it into the page. Resizing becomes a disaster as they end up having to be treated as illustrations rather than borders. "Edit original", "Edit original", "Edit original".


      During my scouring of the net for a solution, I've found many other designers out there with the same question., some dating all the way back to CS2 days.


      Incidentally, while we're at it, heck, I'd love to see the same abilities in Photoshop. I mean why not? It's got vector tools in there as well. There really needs to be more universal palettes in the entire Adobe Creative Suite series. It just makes sense. The unification theory of palettes! Mwahahaha! *clasps his hands* Yes, I ask for too much.. but.. well, it's a good idea, ain't it?


      But seriously. It would be of massive use in InDesign; I'm surprised that it doesn't yet exist ten years into InDesign history. Is there a solution at this point? Or is this more of a feature request?





        • 2. Re: InDesign Borders
          RevRatspeed Level 1

          I'll take that as a "no, doesn't exist yet".

          • 3. Re: InDesign Borders
            BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

            And I don't know that I'd hold my breath either.


            InDesign was never intended to be a replacement for all things Illustrator. For anything that complicated, just create it in Illustrator and place it in ID. You can have your multiple borders and put them in an InDesign library or have a collection of snippets in a folder accessible through Bridge (and in CS5 minibridge).


            A quick edit original in InDesign after placing will take you back to Illy to do any quick edit you need to make to the border and you're in business.



            • 4. Re: InDesign Borders
              RevRatspeed Level 1

              I dunno if I would consider having a better selection of borders to be a replacement for Illustrator.


              If anything, I see the future of Illustrator and InDesign (just as with all the creative suite) to be slowly and surely culminating into a unified series of programs fully interchangeable with one another. I mean just look at a few years ago.. there were hardly any vector tools at all in Photoshop, but today they're abundant. They're just taking things one step at a time, and as part of that process, each tool and palette are being examined and duplicated into their application via the other program. I mean that's what InDesign WAS, really. It's a combination of Pagemaker and Illustrator. That's what spawned the entire project... so I guess I'm a bit more optimistic on the matter...

              • 5. Re: InDesign Borders
                BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                I wouldn't either. My point is that you can already get what you want very simply by using Illustrator. This is the reason for the Creative Suite. Different tools for different jobs with some overlap.



                • 6. Re: InDesign Borders
                  RevRatspeed Level 1

                  Yep, I already mentioned that I do that in my original post.


                  Could be better, though.

                  • 7. Re: InDesign Borders
                    Ian C. Matthew Level 2

                    I know I'm a trifle late as this question is shown as answered. Anyway, a couple of points. I used to use an app called Graphic Type Designer (GTD for short).




                    It could create borders,corner peices, lines and corner effects using specially designed fonts. It would save these designs in WMF (Windows MetaFile) or plain text formats. I used it a lot with PageMaker and for a short while, InDesign as InDesign barely improves on the border selection that came with PM. I had to stop using it as it does not wotk with 64 bit Windows as although it is a 32 bit app, it retains a 16bit installer.


                    Anothe alternative I have found today by searching for, and finding some great Illustrator brushes is this site:




                    There seems to be a hell of a lot of brushes, borders and patterns for Illustrator on this site alone. As bob says, it is probably best (unles they add a ton more borders and effects in InDesign) to use Illustrator's borders and brush libraries to create custom borders. Hope this helps...



                    • 8. Re: InDesign Borders
                      jarlow Level 1

                      Bob, I would generally agree with keeping tools simple, but I'm with the poster here. Consider this case:


                      I'm making several display ads, all to different specs. I have a custom brush for the border in Illustrator. I need to create a duplicate document in AI for each size of the ad, size the border, create outlines, and paste it over to INDD? That's just silly.


                      Sure, InDesign shouldn't be burdened with all of Illustrator's features. I don't need to be able to create a brush in InDesign. But InDesign should at least be able to *load* an Illustrator brush and apply it to an object.

                      1 person found this helpful
                      • 9. Re: InDesign Borders
                        BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                        You’re responding to a post from over a year ago. And if you want to use an Illustrator brush, do it in Illustrator.





                        • 10. Re: InDesign Borders
                          RevRatspeed Level 1

                          It's a year old, and still a problem. We need to come up with a solution better than what InDesign currently gives.

                          • 11. Re: InDesign Borders
                            RevRatspeed Level 1

                            "Sure, InDesign shouldn't be burdened with all of Illustrator's features."

                            Yeah, I agree with this. Illustrator features which hold no place in InDesign would put a burden on the program, but you have to remember the entire reason InDesign was developed in the first place was to create a hybrid between Pagemaker and Illustrator, so the tolerance level of what would be considered a burden vs. an enhancement is rather high, I'd say. Having more decorative borders in InDesign would be nothing but an enhancement, imo.

                            • 12. Re: InDesign Borders
                              Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                              RevRatspeed wrote:



                              but you have to remember the entire reason InDesign was developed in the first place was to create a hybrid between Pagemaker and Illustrator,

                              Where did you get that idea? InDesign was conceived from the ground up as a better replacement for the essentially obsolete Pagemaker and intended to go head-to-head with Quark Xpress. It had, and continues to have, the same sort of rudimentary drawing tools available in competing page layout programs, but there really is no compelling reason for most users to want brushes. If you took a poll of all users, I'm quite sure you'd find Illustrator brushes quite far down on the list of wished-for improvements compared to, say, improved footnotes, support for endnotes, or even support for grayscale profiles.

                              • 13. Re: InDesign Borders
                                RevRatspeed Level 1

                                Where did you get that idea? InDesign was conceived from the ground up as a better replacement for the essentially obsolete Pagemaker and intended to go head-to-head with Quark Xpress.


                                I feel I can say that because if you look at the number of tools that were introduced in InDesign within the first two revisions, many of them were virtually copies of those in Illustrator. The user was suddenly able to copy/paste vector shapes from Illustrator. InDesign was a wonderful replacement for Pagemaker. Yes, it went head-to-head with Quark, and won, imo. And part of that victory was due to the use of Illustrator's vector tools, the concepts of Pagemaker, and the improvement of those concepts for the last 11 years. InDesign is a cocktail of features from its predecessors. I don't think anyone's arguing that.


                                But we're losing track of the subject at hand. InDesign could really use better border support. Whether it uses Illustrator's brush engine is irrelevant to me, as long as there are more border features than what was offered in Quark. There has been no improvement in this area, ever. It's remained stagnant. jarlow is indeed right. Creating outlines in Illustrator and copy/pasting them to InDesign is just silly.

                                • 14. Re: InDesign Borders
                                  BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                                  Quark didn’t own a decent vector drawing program that worked seamlessly with it. Adobe does. As already pointed out, it’s called Illustrator.





                                  • 15. Re: InDesign Borders
                                    RevRatspeed Level 1

                                    Quark didn’t own a decent vector drawing program that worked seamlessly with it. Adobe does. As already pointed out, it’s called Illustrator.

                                    I wouldn't say Illustrator works seamlessly with InDesign, but a very astute observation, good sir. And...?

                                    • 16. Re: InDesign Borders
                                      BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                                      And? And if you want really nice borders in InDesign, do them in Illy and place them.





                                      • 17. Re: InDesign Borders
                                        RevRatspeed Level 1

                                        I feel like this is a scene from Monty Python's Holy Grail...


                                        "Is there someone else up there we can talk to??"

                                        • 20. Re: InDesign Borders
                                          rigoliarts Level 1

                                          I know this is a really old thread, yet here I sit with the same issues in InDesign that the poster mentioned. Over and over, You failed to address the user's point about having to edit the original border over and over in Illustrator and import into InDesign.

                                          It would be nice if InDesign updated it's border palette to include a greater variety of textures. It would make it so much easier on the designers.

                                          Your responses were not very helpful, I have to say...

                                          • 21. Re: InDesign Borders
                                            BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                                            Those answers were the truth then, they are the truth now.


                                            How exactly is pointing out the facts, unhelpful?

                                            • 22. Re: InDesign Borders
                                              rigoliarts Level 1

                                              It seemed to me, by stating the same response, over and over, the you failed to address that issue or whether there were any workarounds that we might not be aware of. Here's my inquiry: Let's say I'm doing a magazine feature, or an annual report, and I want to use a brush stroke border for multiple text and photo boxes within that document that are all different sizes and shapes. Yet I want all of the borders to be the exact same thickness for all of the different box shapes and sizes. This would be a ton of work to have to create each box in illustrator and import  each one into In Design. It would be so much more efficient if I could choose (or import) a brushstroke option within indesign, specify color and point size and apply it to all my various boxes in one fell swoop. I think that's what the original poster was getting at... In my case, I'm echoing a desire for that feature. And yes, I already sent a Feature Request.

                                              • 23. Re: InDesign Borders
                                                jonathanrosenbomb Level 1

                                                I agree completely.  I see you can import styles, so could there be another step to import illustrator brushes as a style?  Maybe there could be a way for the team at illustrator to work with the indesign folks.  I'm thinking of doing a storybook or even a comic in indesign.  If I want special borders I have to do each panel elsewhere, or maybe just use a different program all together... all because we are stuck with a limited amount of borders.

                                                • 24. Re: InDesign Borders
                                                  Nicholas Avallone Level 1

                                                  Old thread, I know, but still a concern.


                                                  Placing custom text borders from Illustrator into InDesign is great, as long as the project is nearly finished and the text inside will never change. The idea behind InDesign's borders is that they scale to the content. If I go through a 30 page rulebook, placing callout boxes from Illustrator one-by-one, then some major text revisions come down, I'll need to replace each and every custom-made Illustrator box.


                                                  Is that efficient? No. Tedious? Yes.


                                                  I mean, jeez. We're talking about adding strokes to InDesign's stroke options. They exist somewhere in the app code as vector assets. The ability to import new ones from AI files seems like a no-brainer.


                                                  I've already added my voice to the chorus, but I'll repost the link to the feature request:

                                                  Adobe - Feature Request/Bug Report Form

                                                  • 25. Re: InDesign Borders
                                                    Emre KILICER Level 1


                                                    Yes I did create new borders in illustrator but I haven't found how to add them into indesign.


                                                    • 26. Re: InDesign Borders
                                                      Steve Werner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                      I answered your question in the other thread where you posted it:


                                                      Where can I get some decorative strokes?