7 Replies Latest reply on Nov 28, 2011 7:56 PM by BWAmerilife

    Question and maybe some help about Indesign


      Hello everyone.


      I work in the IT department and some of our design staff is complaining about slow performance when opening their InDesign files.  I was hoping that someone here may be able to help someone who really knows very little about the software or Macs in general.  Basically, the compalint is that opening their files is just slow.  I have watched over their shoulder as one of the files I tested with them today took about 8 minutes before the file was opened and able to scroll through smoothly.  I was looking for assistance to see if there is anything I can do on the client side to decrease the load time.


      The Computer & Software

      The computer is Mac OS X, version 10.6.8 to be specific.  It has one 2.66 GHz Intel Core i5 processor with 4 cores.  The computer has 8 GB of memory in it.  We are currently using CS4 and the InDesign version specifically is


      The File(s)

      So the files are located on the the file server in my data center.  There is a 10 MB connection between our office and the data center.  The InDesign file that they were showing me is almost 600 MB in size.  From there it is calling almost 500 high res images of different employees, totalling about 3.75 GB.  I am not sure what else is being linked to that master file, but I am sure there are a few more things outside of that folder of employee pictures.  So all in all there is probably a good 5 GB being brought over a 10 MB pipe.  This particular file took about 8 minutes before it was loaded to the point where you scroll nice through all 40 pages of the book they are designing.  Now don't get me wrong, because if you do the math that is actually a really good connection.


      As mentioned, I am not very familiar with either OS or the software and I have been trying to do some research on the issue but am not coming up with good information.  I checked the system requirements for the version I have and the system seems to surpass every one of them by a decent margin.  More than likely this is the result of me not fully knowing what I'm looking for or the best words to use in my search.  I do realize that increasing the connection between the office and the data center would decrease the time to load.  They also told me they require the high res images, which means suggesting lowering the res is not going to work for them.  Local storage is something we tossed around but then we are worried about data loss and the lack of ability for us to back them up.  So I guess my ultimate question is if there is anything I can do to help these people?  Is there a setting that loads the page they are looking at instead of the whole thing at once?  Is there any setting that may help?


      Thank you in advance for taking the time to read the post and any suggestions that you may have.

        • 1. Re: Question and maybe some help about Indesign
          Grant H Level 4

          The InDesign file that they were showing me is almost 600 MB in size: Waaat! Sounds like a lot of graphics have been embedded instead of linked.



          • 2. Re: Question and maybe some help about Indesign
            BWAmerilife Level 1


            Thank you for the reply and I guess this brings a few more questions to mind.


            1. Is there a way to determine what the file should be if setup properly?  Basically, let's say that each linked file and the data involved in that is 50 KB per linked image.  So then I could say that with 100 linked images, the master file should be around 5000 KB? 
            2. I'm guessing that the size is based on importing a background picture or something.  Can that be linked or is that stuck the way it is?
            3. I know you can't see the file, but is there anything that you can think of that may be causing the issue? 
            4. Suppose I have a linked image in my master file.  When the master file is loaded does it load the whole picture or just a screen scrape type of thing?  I am only curious to know if the system is actually pulling those files completely down right away.  Is there a way to make it do a screen scrape instead?


            Thank you.

            • 3. Re: Question and maybe some help about Indesign
              John Hawkinson Level 5

              BWAmerilife, it sounds like you might want to get someone else at your site to look at the problem. If you're in the IT department and you don't understand Macs, hopefully there is someone else who does.


              It is not normal for InDesign files to be larger tham 100mb, and even that is large. Graphics should not be embedded in the file, normally, because it causes file sizes to balloon.


              InDesign gives you the option to embed images, or to link them. If they linked, then sure, there's some metadata, maybe 50kb, but probably a lot less. Open the file in InDesign and look at the Links panel. It will tell you if images are embedded or linked.


              There is nothing special about "background pictures" or any other kind of picture. Just images.


              It's possible that your network is part of the problem. To find out, just copy the file locally in the Finder and then open it in InDesign and see how the timing of the copy and InDesign's openning work.


              I'm not sure what you mean by 'screen scrape.' InDesign stores a low-resolution preview/proxy of your image so it doesn't need to open the full high-resolution image. Your terminology is confusing, though.

              1 person found this helpful
              • 4. Re: Question and maybe some help about Indesign
                Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                Besides the network issue, file bloat could well be the problem. Even with properly linked images (rather than embedded), .indd files tend to grow over time from all the tracked change information used for unlimited undo. This data is retained, but becomes inaccessible when the file is closed, but is discarded when doing a Save AS. So the first thing I would suggest is doing a save as on any file that seems slow. An export to .inx and reopening that will clear out a lot of junk, too.

                1 person found this helpful
                • 5. Re: Question and maybe some help about Indesign
                  BWAmerilife Level 1

                  John :

                  I do realize the connection is going to be an issue, and our concern is the cost of bringing the pipe from 10 to 100 since the majority of the business (99% of it), doesn't need anything more than a 10.  If I move the file to the local computer or even my file server in the office, everything works great, which is obvious (based on the hard drive connection speeds and the Gig switches  have in the office).  However, the file server here is on its last leg and copying locally will only cause backup and versioning issues.


                  I do appreciate the information on the file sizes and the low resolution preview.  This is useful information that I can bring back and check on.


                  Peter :

                  I will look into those items as well and see if this is something the department is already doing.


                  Thank you both.  I will report back in a day or so.

                  • 6. Re: Question and maybe some help about Indesign
                    John Hawkinson Level 5

                    BWA: I think I wasn't so clear and you might have misinterpretted me.


                    When you copy the file locally, of course it is fast. The question was whether the act of copying was slow. That is, does it take a long time to perform the copy from your file server to your local client -- longer than the math says it should take? Or longer than it takes for InDesign?


                    That should give you an idea whether InDesign is introducing extra slowness beyond the file server issues. I wasn't proposing it as a regular workflow, just as a diagnostic.


                    Though perhaps you should look at switching your users to a local fileserver. If they aren't cursing their IT department for making them work on a server behind a 100mbps pipe, it's probably because you're not listening carefully enough .

                    • 7. Re: Question and maybe some help about Indesign
                      BWAmerilife Level 1

                      John : Yes I did misunderstand you.  What's funny is that from my point of view the speed is not the issue.  The file and everything for them opened in less than 8 minutes.  They actually got a faster copy speed than I did to my computer.  I know that the connection is slow, but the connection they are getting is fine.


                      I forgot to come back and assign some helpful answers.


                      Thank you.