Save Down From InDesign CS4 to CS3 with INX
Whenever we get two or more emails on a subject within days of each other, I know it's time for a post about it.
For example, Reuben wrote:
Could Indesign CS4 save a .indd file that could be open and edited in Indesign CS3?
The simple answer is: Use File > Export, then choose InDesign Interchange (INX) from the Format pop-up menu. The resulting INX file can be opened in CS3. (If you're using CS3, you can do the same thing to downsave -- or downgrade or save backward or whatever you want to call it -- to CS2. To jump from CS4 to CS2, try this trick.)
But every answer, even apparently simple ones, always come with a caveat or two. Reuben continues:
I'm currently working on a magazine on InDesign CS4. But, my printer company has requested me to downgrade from InDesign CS4 to InDesign CS3, as the designer in the printer company is familiar with CS3. So, my question is... Can I save all files in InDesign CS4 for the designer to be opened in Indesign CS3? He wants it to cross check before printing.
Well, here's where it gets interesting. There is a reason Adobe doesn't let you "Save As" to an earlier version: Using Save As (they reckon) should save every bit of your document; you shouldn't have any data loss. However, moving a file from CS4 to CS3 can very easily mean losing parts of your document.
For example, lets say you use GREP Styles to apply formatting to text inside a paragraph. CS3 doesn't have that feature, so the formatting disappears. Oops.
If you only use the features that are in CS3, then this workflow should be okay. Most stuff gets saved just fine when you downsave. But I would always proof carefully. In the situation you describe, I personally would never send him INX files. If they can't bother to upgrade to the newest version, find a different printer.
INX is better suited for situations where you need to clean up some minor corruption in a document (especially after opening a QX or PM file, for example). Or if you're sending a file to someone else, where you know they're going to work on it more. Just remember it's not a perfect interchange format.
By the way, in CS4, Adobe introduced IDML, which -- we hope -- will make interchange slightly more reliable in the future. But CS4 will still not be able to handle CS5 features (whatever those will be). How could it?