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A New Workaround for that Pesky Background Export Issue

One of the new features Adobe added to InDesign CS5 was backround exporting to PDF. On the surface this was a great idea because it allows users to get right back to work instead of sitting and watching a progress bar while the PDF was being exported.

In practice, however, this feature has proved troublesome to many users and while recent patches to InDesign have helped clear up some of the issues, there are still some people experiencing problems including crashing and freezing. Among the workarounds has been to create an InDesign book file and add the document to the book. Because the book panel was never wired into the background export, this forces the export to the foreground. To call this inconvenient would be a bit of an understatement.

Yesterday, Adobe’s Matthew Laun posted a new, very simple workaround in the Adobe User to User forum. This procedure turns off all background exporting:

Mac OS:

1) Create an empty text file and save it with the name ?DisableAsyncExports.txt?
2) Control+Click on the Adobe InDesign CS5.app file in your Applications folder and choose Show Package Contents
3) Move the text file from step 1 into Contents/MacOS/ so the full path to the file is now:
/Applications/Adobe InDesign CS5/Adobe InDesign CS5.app/Contents/MacOS/DisableAsyncExports.txt

Windows:

1) Create an empty text file and save it with the name ?DisableAsyncExports.txt?
2) Move the text file from step 1 into the application folder, for example: C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe InDesign CS5\DisableAsyncExports.txt

CS5.5 users can follow the same procedure.

While most users will be satisfied to just turn it off, there may be some who prefer to be able to choose when to use it. Our good friend Marijan Tompa has written a startup script that will give you that ability by adding a command to toggle it on and off under InDesign’s file menu. It can be downloaded directly from here. After downloading, unzip the file and copy controlBackgroundExport.jsx to your startup scripts folder and restart InDesign.

Clicking the command will toggle the background export on and off.

Note: to Windows 7 and Vista users: This startup script will not work if you have UAC enabled. While UAC in Vista was rather intrusive and many users wound up turning it off, I don’t recommend doing so in Window 7. Because most users are going to want to have this export either on or off, the script isn’t really critical anyway.

Bob Levine

Bob Levine

Bob Levine is a graphic designer and a consultant focused on providing InDesign training and guidance in developing efficient, collaborative workflows to those moving from QuarkXPress or PageMaker. An Adobe Certified Expert in both InDesign and InCopy, Bob has written articles for InDesign Magazine and is an Adobe User to User forums host. He has more than 15 years of industry experience and has been using InDesign since version 1.0. For more background, visit his website, www.theindesignguy.com or his blog, BobLevine.us.
Bob Levine

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Comments

55 Comments on “A New Workaround for that Pesky Background Export Issue

  1. I have been printing to PDF for years from InDesign and recently started to use the export to PDF feature, however, when I print to PDF then the InDesign document name is embedded into the PDF

    However, when I export, that information is lost.

    Is there a way to fix this?

    • On export to PDF the title and other metadata of the document shown in Acrobat’s Document Properties is drawn from InDesign’s File Information panel. The file name often reflects the name last used when exporting the document to PDF; sometimes it appears to be drawn from ID’s deep memory of the file’s history.

      Does this help? I wasn’t sure what you meant by ‘document name is embedded into the PDF’.

  2. Okay going to try this because I am loosing my mind that I suddenly can’t make PDFs- just stopped working and tells me error with background task. Step 1 question! Create a text file in Indesign?! How do I create a text file?

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