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How to install scripts in InDesign

Download the script onto your computer and if necessary, decompress it (unstuff or unzip it). You should end up with a plain text file with a special filename extension:

  • Javascript files can be run on Mac or Windows and have a .jsx extension - "script.jsx"
  • Applescript files are Mac-only and have an .as extension - "script.as" (or .scpt)
  • Visual Basic files are Windows-only and have a .vbs extension - "script.vbs"

If you need to change a setting inside of a script, you can edit it in a text editor. Be sure to save the file as a plain text file with the original extension.

[ed note: updated 2/2009 for CS3 and CS4, updated 7/2011 for CS5 and 5.5]

There are two places you can install scripts in InDesign: The application folder and the user script folder. The easiest way to find these folders is to open the Scripts panel in InDesign (Window > Automation > Scripts in CS3 and CS4; or Window > Utilities > Scripts in CS5 or later), then right-click on either Application or User. We tend to use "User" for scripts that we've downloaded, but it's up to you and the permissions you have on your computer. From the context menu, choose Reveal in Finder (or Reveal in Windows Explorer).

Inside the folder that opens there is a folder called Scripts panel. Put your scripts inside that.

Any script inside the Scripts Panel folder will show up immediately in InDesign. No need to restart the program.

If you're still using CS or CS2, follow this info: To install the script, locate the Adobe InDesign program on your computer and drag and drop the script file into the Adobe InDesign CS2 > Presets > Scripts folder. If you don't see a folder called Scripts inside of Presets, you can make one yourself.

Note that you may need to have an admin account on your computer in order to add plug-ins and scripts to InDesign ... but once they're in there, any type of user account can use them.

To run the script, open a document in InDesign, then open the Scripts palette (see above) and double-click the script name. Some scripts require you make a selection first before you run them, because they act on the selection. See if the script writer provided any sort of documentation if you can't figure it out.

If you are having trouble running older scripts in a new version of InDesign, read this post.

Anne-Marie Concepcion
Anne-Marie “Her Geekness” Concepción is the co-founder (with David Blatner) and CEO of Creative Publishing Network, which produces InDesignSecrets, InDesign Magazine, and other resources for creative professionals. Through her cross-media design studio, Seneca Design & Training, Anne-Marie develops ebooks and trains and consults with companies who want to master the tools and workflows of digital publishing. She has authored over 20 courses on lynda.com on these topics and others. Keep up with Anne-Marie by subscribing to her ezine, HerGeekness Gazette, and contact her by email at amc@cpn.co or on Twitter @amarie
Anne-Marie Concepcion

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77 Comments on “How to install scripts in InDesign

  1. Hi,

    I need, how to layout for head level and body matter in script method.

    For example: Head level 1 is 46p and body matter is 32p how to split in script. (ID-xml workflow)

    Any help will be great !

  2. It looks like this script only allows for years 2004-2007. How do you change this or how can I get an updated scipt that includes current and future years?

  3. I am writing a script in JSX to modify the text in an anchored text frame and modify the size of a graphic frame, but when I run it the anchored object disappears (it seems that the anchor vanishes). I’m really stuck with the main problem being lack of detailed documentation.

    If anyone has experience of the above that would be great, but just as importantly does anyone have any proper documentation for scripting InDesign CS5.5 via jsx?

    Thanks!

    Andrzej

  4. Andrzej, you can ask specific questions in the Scripting forum (you have to register as forum member first but it’s free).

    On documentation: there is a lot of basic how-to’s in the PDFs in Adobe’s own Scripting Resources section. For a detailed item-by-item description, you can consult the built-in Help in the Toolkit Editor, or see the list at the end of my article JavaScript for the Absolute Beginner.

  5. The scripts folder won’t open. “Application” and “user” won’t open. How do I get it to open. I have Indesign CS5. I am trying to import a multi-page PDF file into an Indesign CS5 document. Why should this simple task be so difficult and time-consuming? If somebody can help, I would appreciate it. Adobe Tech Support could not fine an answer for this. Thanks, Bill

  6. Bill, are you trying Scott Zanelli’s Multipage importer script?

    Not being able to open must be some sort of local issue with your computer — you don’t mention your OS, but if it is Windows 7 it might be something related to your user account.

    For the time being: if you get stuck by this and can’t get on with the job at hand, try the Manual way. Use “Place” the usual way to select your PDF, but make sure “Show options” is selected. In the little Import Options dialog, choose “All” for page range. This ‘loads’ your Place Gun with all pages, and you can click once per page to place all of them.

  7. has anyone gotten this “multi-page pdf placing” script to work with CS6? I’ve placed the script file in the correct place as described above…but when I click on the script to launch it, InDesign thinks about it forever and nothing actually happens.

    Thanks

  8. hi i may be ignorant on this…but i downloaded the Adobe Calendar Wizard and the scripts are in Dreamweaver…? is this what i place in InDesign…any help would be great….1st time with a calendar and anything to do with scripts

  9. Thank you! I have Adobe Cloud and it worked great, except it deleted the pages that were already there, after the placement, e.g., I placed the pages at p11 and I had content on page 30-35. Those were deleted.

  10. Thank you so much!! This script was amazing and so fast whew I was dreading opening all those pages and you really saved me the headache!!! By the way this website is an invaluable resource for all of us!!!!

  11. I downloaded the MergeTables script from a link on this site. I’m on a Mac/Mavericks/InDesign CC 10.2.0.69. I opened the Scripts panel, right clicked on it to “reveal in finder” and it opened the folder “armcomdes” which is a folder inside the Users folder on my system. Copied or dragged the “MergeTables.jsx” to that folder and… nothing. It doesn’t show up in the Scripts panel. Not sure what I’m doing wrong.

    • Tried the Applications folder and it worked!
      Then went back to the Users folder and it worked!

      Never mind…

  12. Thank you for such a nice tip. Implemented smoothly and working fine on my PC.

    I came to this page from indesign-faq.de. The author from this site has provided instructions to edit the script. Pasting here with due credit :

    I just got an email telling me that this very very old script of mine stopped working under CS5
    The script automatically creates a backup copy of the current document while saving. Apply cmd-S as shortcut for the script and you won’t notice it is there.
    The new version of “save_with_backup” is now a JavaScript (i.e. works on PC as well as on Mac) with a few minor improvements.
    Configuration

    Before using the script you need to adjust three lines in the code to point to your preferred backup-location.
    var desktop_path = Folder.desktop.toString();
    // var backup_path = “/someFolder/someSubfolder/backupLocation”;
    var backup_path = desktop_path+”/backup”
    Currently the backupfolder is on the desktop. You could point to a deeper subfolder of the desktop by changing line 4
    var backup_path = desktop_path+”/diversesZeuchs/InDesign-Backups”
    In case you want your backupfolder somewhere else, change the code like this
    var desktop_path = Folder.desktop.toString();
    var backup_path = “/someFolder/someSubfolder/backupLocation”;
    //var backup_path = desktop_path+”/backup”
    The Result

    The script creates a subfolder structure. One subfolder for each day you do a save in the form yyyy mm dd and each document gets a time-prefix in the form hhmmss_

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