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Placing All the Pages of a PDF Inside InDesign

About a year ago, we discussed several options for importing multi-page PDF files into InDesign. Then, last autumn, I created a free video tutorial for MOGO Media that shows how you can import or export multi-page PDF files. In that video, I showed Scott Zanelli’s free Page Exporter Utility script for exporting PDF files as individual pages. [In that movie, I said I didn't know where you could find the script. Fortunately, Scott updated the script and we've posted it here.]

In the MOGO movie, I also showed a script that let you place multi-page PDF files into InDesign, one page a time. That script (PlaceMultipagePDF) was written by Olav Martin Kvern and ships free with InDesign. But today I just received a new Zanelli script, called PDFplacer, which does the same thing… but even better. (Ironically, Scott didn’t even realize Kvern’s script was available when he wrote this. He just knew he needed something to do this, so he wrote his own.)

Scott wrote about some things his PDFplacer.jsx script does that the PlaceMultiPagePDF.jsx script doesn’t do:

“…it allows the user to choose a page range from the PDF being placed, the crop type to use when placing, the page in the InDesign document to start placing on (adding new pages as needed), where to place it on the page (upper right, centered, etc., and using an optional offset), and whether to scale the PDF to the existing page size. If an InDesign doc isn’t open, it will read the size from the PDF and create a new InDesign document at the size of the PDF before placing the pages.”

Here’s a screen capture of the script’s main dialog box:

pdfplacer1

When I asked him if we could post the script for anyone to download, he said: Yes! So here it is, free. After you unzip the file, read the enclosed PDF file for more information about installation and use.

Original CS3 version

New 2.5 version (added March 2010)

Newest version, updated by Jim Birkenseer, which should work in CS3, CS4, and CS5.

I can’t guarantee it will work perfectly for you, but it seems to be working great for me so far. It’s so great to automate this stuff. Thank you Scott!

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Comments

189 Comments on “Placing All the Pages of a PDF Inside InDesign

  1. Damn it! Can’t get it to work with CS6 :(
    Error number: 89867
    Error string: The default engine ‘main’ cannot be deleted.
    Engine: main
    File: ….
    Line: 564
    Source: exit(-1);
    What am i doing wrong, any ideas?
    (I’m using the proper script with proper fix, lines 124/125)

    • You need to create SubFolder on the ID Scripts folder, named “Version 7.0 Scripts”, and place the script there. Now it works.

  2. Mike: … the usual way, of course.

    I don’t see a difference when running this script with either facing or separate pages.

    • there seems to be some kind of bug with placing on facing pages. sometimes it works, sometimes it just posts 2 images one on top of the other. I don’t know why this happens. can anyone help figure this out?

  3. Hello!

    Big thanks to the people who develop this script! It’s amazing! That avoid a painful work. The version updated by Jim Birkenseer works perfectly in CS6.

    Greetings from Belgium!
    Eric

  4. Hi again,

    An adaptation that would be great. It’s about the Offset settings. In some cases, the offset must be reversed depending on whether an even or odd page.

    But it’s really a great script.
    Thanks again.
    Eric

  5. So, all it does is allow you to view it in InDesign just as you would as a PDF…it is still un-editable, which makes me completely useless…thanks for nothing!

      • Yeah…saw that…too outrageously priced. I was just commenting that your script does the same exact thing as double-clicking on the PDF itself…

    • @John: No, this script does something very different: it places each page of the PDF into a page of InDesign. This may not be what you need, but it’s very important for a lot of users, especially printers who often need to lay out the pages of a PDF differently. It’s certainly not useful for everyone, though. :)

    • John,

      I think you don’t really understand what the script allow to do. Maybe you didn’t even try to understand it.
      Too bad, because there is no need to denigrate this fabulous script.

      And about the PDF2ID plugin, the price is not really outrageously, for a professional, as it can save a lot of work and time.

      Try to think a little bit before denigrate.

      Have a wonderful Year 2014.

      • Toumps…wow, where do I begin. First, let me say that this is not a place to start a pissing contest with someone. But, it does scream wonders about your character.

        Second, I did not denigrate the script. I merely stated what I stated, which in my case/needs, is EXACTLY what I said it was, for me.

        Third, I never implied that the price of PDF2ID was unaffordable, just over-priced. How do you think millionaires stay millionaires? By spending money on anything and everything? Wrong…by spending wisely and saving money whenever possible.

        Finally, it is humorous that in your feeble attempt to advocate the script, you ended up doing the very thing that you claim I did to the script, to me.

        Funny.

  6. How brilliant. Wish I’d known about this script. The publisher I work for is always giving me huge great PDFs to place in InDesign because he needs a different page/book size. Ever tried placing a 600+pp book one page at a time and cropping it in InDesign to get rid of the PDF’s cropmarks — especially when the publisher wants a new print file yesterday? If only I could find a way of deleting the cropmarks, I’d be well away! I know there’s some sort of plugin/software that apparently does this but it’s far too expensive for me. Ah well!

  7. Thanks a bunch for this script! It saved my a ton of time and actually made the difference in making a tight deadline. It allowed me to place a 224 page PDF at a specific point in a 224 page INDD file with all of the placement options I would normally get with PDF placement. Awesome! The place operation took about 5-10min, a fraction of what it would have taken with a manual import, even with a loaded place tool. BTW, I did this in InDesign CS6 (CC). There are several links in this article. I used the ‘Newest version, updated by Jim Birkenseer, which should work in CS3, CS4, and CS5.’ link. I unzipped the JSX file and put it in my ‘Scripts Panel’ folder and voila – awesome scripted automation. I heartily disagree with ‘John’, this is a great script.

  8. Hats off the the creator of this script, it’s just brilliant! Well done, and thank you for sharing!!

  9. Hello everyone. I have a very basic question. I already copied the .jsx file to the Scripts Panel folder, but I don’t know exactly how to launch the script… I mean how to make the dialog box appear. I hope you can help me. Thank you in advance.

  10. Looking for a script that will place several multi-page pdfs at one time into a single InDesign document. Any suggestions?

  11. I am attempting to download the script for InDesign CS6 in order to place a multi-page pdf document instead of one page at a time. I am a bit confused after reading some of the comments here. If you can navigate me, I can follow directions :) Thanks!!

  12. Hello Effie. I can understand your confusion with getting the script to work in CS6 – I had the same experience. Look at my post in the comments above from Mar 13. I walk a bit through the procedure I used AND (importantly, I think) which version of the script was downloaded. If you still have questions, just repost to these comments and I’ll see it.

    The script was a godsend for me. Hopefully it will work that way for you too.

  13. I was able to place the script in the appriate folder for CS6, but when i run the script I do not get the same window to pop up with all of the lovely options. The script simply opens up, asks me which file to place the pdf, then the next window asks which page. And that’s it. It then places each page of the pdf full bleed on subsequent pages. I was hoping to be able to adjust the crop size and positioning on each page, but no luck. WHat am I doing wrong?

    • I figured it out. If you are using a recent version of CS6 place the newest updated script in the following folder.

      C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Adobe InDesign CS6\Scripts\Scripts Panel\Samples\JavaScript

  14. This was a lifesaver! Couldn’t get my PDF to print the right way, and this made it easy to bring into InDesign and use their booklet printing feature.

  15. This is so good! I’ve dealt with 10-50 page PDFs before, but today’s four 300-pagers finally sent me googling for a better solution. This gets it perfectly and quickly.

    Also I’m very impressed with all over for remaining calm in the face of trolling. Nice work

  16. Could it be possible to import 1 .pdf page to the whole spread inside InDesign? The problem is in the pdf 2 vertical pages are exported into 1 horizontal one. Thanx!

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