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Convert to Outlines And Remove the Original (InDesign ME Version)

The ME (middle-eastern) version of InDesign has long had an annoying bug regarding converting text to outlines. When you select a text frame and choose Type > Create Outlines, the text is converted to an outline… but the original frame remains! This doesn’t happen in the other versions of InDesign.

(Actually, a side note: You can make the regular version of InDesign do this — convert the frame to outlines and leave the original intact — by holding down Option/Alt when selecting Create Outlines.)

Anyway, some time ago, our friend Harbs wrote a short script that does the trick. It was brought to my attention by Zaid Al-Hilali, a trainer and publishing expert at grapheast in Dubai, and a co-author with David Creamer of the InDesign CS3 ACE Exam-Aid software.

To download two scripts that will convert text to outlines and remove the original, click here. (It’s a zip file with two versions of the script… one that converts only the selected object, and one that converts everything on the current page.) Once you unzip the file, you can place the .jsx scripts inside the Scripts Panel folder (inside your InDesign application folder).

Again, you don’t need these scripts unless you have the ME version, but I hope that if you do use the ME version the scripts will make your life a bit easier.

Of course, I still don’t like converting text to outlines if I can avoid it. Here’s a discussion about the practice, and here is a good workaround that converts text to outlines in an exported PDF but leaves the text unconverted in the InDesign document.

David Blatner

David Blatner

David Blatner is the co-founder of the Creative Publishing Network, InDesign Magazine, and the author or co-author of 15 books, including Real World InDesign. His InDesign videos at are among the most watched InDesign training in the world. You can find more about David at
David Blatner

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29 Comments on “Convert to Outlines And Remove the Original (InDesign ME Version)

  1. This script is certainly an excellent alternative to using Create Outline command in InDesign ME that every one used to complain about.
    It’s good that you have published it here David? thanks.

  2. Hi David,
    I sent you a message that didn’t show up here yesterday. I mentioned that I told you about the issue that faced users of Indesign ME when outlining text a year ago. We exchanged several emails without reaching a solution. I’m glad you have one now. Thank you!
    Please don’t give all the credit to Zaid Al-Hilali:)


  3. Laith, sorry about your message disappearing yesterday (it got caught in the spam filter, but I do not know why). You are absolutely correct that you wrote to me a year ago telling me about this problem.

    I’m sorry if I was not clear in my blog post: Zaid did not bring the problem to my attention. (I had heard about it from you and others.) Zaid sent me the script that Harbs wrote to fix the problem.

  4. David, thanks again fot the script.
    You’re website was always a good source for Indesign-related news. After seeing the script, I decided to come back more often.
    Another big thank you to Zaid and Harbs.

    Best regards,


  5. It’s nice to see the ME version gets some attention (recently more than ever…)

    I’d like to point out that the buggy behavior of Create Outlines in the ME version, is actually a limitation with no way to bypass it and not a bug.

    I must say that the way Create Outlines was implemented into InDesign is less then perfect, and lacks in several functional features (if you compare it with how it functions in Illustrator).
    Among things, it’s destructive to tables, will not produce a reliable converted result for stroked type (the stroke switches from outside alignment to center), and simply ignores text objects within groups.
    And what’s good enough for InDesign, is good enough for her scripts.

    When many of my customers fell victims to this last one (the group thing) I wrote the TypeKiller script that you can download from here to help them.
    It’s an old script (dated to the CS era) but I kept it updated.

  6. Hi..
    My question is: How can I Create Outlines at Indesign Cs3 ME ,WITHOUT maintain the original text in the document one time I’ve finished this action?

    I’m sure somedody knows something useful about this question.

  7. Hi Billy,

    Thanks a lot for that tip. I installed this script couple of months ago, but didn’t work, I though the script was meant for PCs only and gave up (though i would’ve thought that it should work for both). I ran the script and BINGO, its working, saves me lot of time now. Cheers everybody.

  8. I want to know how to copy and paste arabic PDF content to Indesign ME.
    Currently I am having this problem where the words become flipped.
    Can you give me some tips.

    I thank you in advance.


  9. @Mohamad: You might try copying the Arabic text from the PDF and pasting first to TextEdit or Mellel or some other RTL-capable word processor first, then clear your clipboard, then do a fresh copy-paste from that text editor into InDesign.

  10. Strange to report, but it appears that the two versions of InDesign NOT ME version but US – CS2 and CS3 – that I work on, duplicate the text without my using the keystrokes to request that operation – I didn’t even realize it until I sent a document to a print bureau overseas and they didn’t have the font (yes, it was packaged -but a dfont and they were using a PC)- the original text got offset a bit so there was this mangled mess- since it was in another country where I do not speak the language and the bureau staff did not speak English it took a while (our translator did not know the technical vocabulary). It is a cool function, one that I will definitely use but does anyone have any idea why it would work automatically in the American version? I wonder now how many files I sent out with outlined text AND original text? I usually do that in Illustrator but this was an InDesign file with several lines of text. I discovered this, by the way, when I got back the proofs. When I packaged the file I noticed it created a font file but didn’t think much of it since I had outlined all the text – thought there it was a layer I had turned off that had the template on it. When I did “find font” and it highlighted text I had already outlined, I outlined it again (you guessed it, making another copy unbeknownst to me) Funny in retrospect, thought I was going nuts at the time. Any thoughts, anybody? Thanks

  11. It is really wonderful! I was looking for a solution for how to create outlining fonts without leaving the original behind. It is working amazingly!
    thanks david.

  12. Hi there
    I created outline by mistake and saved the file couple of days back. Now, I want to get my text back so that I make changes in them.

    Can anyone help?


  13. Shail: Only you can help yourself. When and where did you store the last backup copy before calling this destructive command?

  14. Thank you for this help, but if we have text inside a table will have a problem cause the table remove with the original text box, how we can fix this status please?.

  15. Maybe you can help you know how to REMOVE outlines? I outlined a text, but I need to make some changes in the text. How can I remove the outlines?
    I can’t find it anywhere online..

    Hope you can help me!

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