Place Multiple Pages of a PDF In a Grid in InDesign
When you turn on the Import Options checkbox in InDesign’s Place dialog box, you get more options for placing your files, right? One option you get when you place a PDF, INDD, or AI file is to import more than one page at a time. For example, you might choose to import pages 1-8 of a 20-page document. When you click OK, InDesign loads up the Place cursor with the PDF and each time you click with it, another page is imported.
To place all eight of those pages, you’d need to click eight times, right? That’s going to be tiresome, especially if what you’re trying to do is create a grid, like a contact sheet. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could import all the pages quickly?
The answer, clearly, is the Gridify feature… except for one problem: It doesn’t work. Once you load the place cursor with the pages and start dragging, you ought to be able to press the up or right arrow keys on the keyboard to gridify the place — that is, create a grid of frames instead of just one. That’s how it works if you import two or more different images or text frames! Or you can hold down Cmd/Ctrl and Shift while you drag and get a grid. But this does not work when importing two or more pages from a single file. Drat.
But you can do it if you’re clever. The secret was spilled by ex-prod. mgr. Michael Ninness at the recent Print and ePublishing Conference: Turn on the Create Static Captions checkbox in the Place dialog box.
When you click OK, you get the opportunity to choose your pages:
Then, when you click OK, InDesign loads a Place cursor that looks like it actually has two different files:
Now you can use the Gridify shortcuts to create your grid while you drag. Make sure the number of frames in the grid equals the number of pages you’re importing, if possible:
When you let go of the cursor, the pages are all placed into the frames, and InDesign loads up all the captions to be placed into different frames.
In this case, we don’t want the captions — we were just using them as a ruse to fool InDesign into giving us the gridify features — so we press V or switch to any other tool to dump the Place cursor and get on with our work.
Why does this work? Michael answers, “Luck. This was a ‘free’ feature. It just fell out of the work that was done for the Live and Static Captions combined with the existing multi-place feature. When placing multiple pages from a document, the pages were loaded into the cursor one at a time; the next page would not be loaded until the previous page had been placed on the page?. However, in order to generate the captions for all the files (pages) in the Place cursor, InDesign has to load all of the images (pages) first.”