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Missing the InDesign Contact Sheet Script? Bridge to the Rescue!

When CS4 was released, like several other users, I was very dismayed to see that the InDesign Contact Sheet script was no longer included in Bridge. I couldn’t understand why such a handy feature had been left out. I know it’s practically blasphemous to say this here, but for contact sheets, InDesign is no longer a necessary intermediate step.

Why do I say intermediate? Because, while it may have been handy I never really wanted an InDesign file…I wanted a PDF so going through InDesign was really just a means to an end. There’s a far better way to get to that end in CS4 with a great new feature in Bridge. It’s “hidden” in the pre-defined workspaces and called aptly enough, output.

Just about any choice you’d need and some you probably won’t need are here: page transitions, opening Acrobat/Reader in full page mode, background colors, formating the text labels.

Choose a template

Or, layout your contact sheet any way you\'d like it.

As with the InDesign Contact Sheet script, just select the images you’d like to include, and then hit preview.

Click the generate preview button and Bridge is happy to oblige

the first page of the pdf is shown

No more generating PDFs only to find that you’d be better off with a landscape orientation or a larger page size. And if you had a lot of images, the InDesign Contact Sheet script method meant that all of those images had to be placed into an InDesign file again to be exported as a PDF, which could be a rather time consuming process.

So, don’t lament the loss of a feature. Adobe’s come up with a far superior method to create those contact sheets. Give it a try and I’m sure you’ll agree.

And don’t stop with PDFs, there’s a very easy to use flash photo gallery available in the same workspace.

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, or his blog,
Bob Levine

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  • - November 30, -0001
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25 Comments on “Missing the InDesign Contact Sheet Script? Bridge to the Rescue!

  1. why would anyone want a third Adobe product open???
    Photoshop and InDesign take up enough memory as it is.

    That said the contact sheet plug in for PS CS4 is in the goodies folder on the CD, so just re-instate and use that instead

  2. I typically have InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat, Bridge, and Dreamweaver open along with a couple of web browsers.

    In my opinion, if you’re not using Bridge you’re cheating yourself out some pretty impressive tools. I would encourage you to explore a bit. You may find yourself pleasantly surprised.

  3. I actually do miss the InDesign “step,” though. I do a lot of retouching, and having an InDesign contact sheet means that if I discover a couple of images that are out of whack, I can Opt-double-click on the offending images in the InDesign page, fix ’em, save, and InDesign automatically updates them in the page. Then I print out nice color-managed thumbnail sheets for my client’s reference.

    Using the InDesign contact sheet method, I have total control over the formatting and placement of filenames and rows of images, as well as the fix-it flexibility. I’m hoping Bob Stuckey ( updates the Bridge script so I can stop going back in time to use older Bridge for this. (I actually use Bridge CS*2* for this, because CS3 put an extra frame and stroke that got in the way.)

    You know how it is: you become dependent on that *one little thing*…

  4. How does this compare to using Photoshop’s contact sheets? I mean the time it takes to make a bunch of contact sheets out of, say 50 files that’re 25-35MB each?
    Just as important: can you somehow easily add fixed objects to each of the sheets, like for example a logo and contact info?

  5. Claudia, you can still use the touch up object tool in Acrobat, I suppose.

    Roland, it’s faster in Bridge and you get the benefit of live previews.

    Esper, keep using CS3.

  6. Wouldn’t it be faster to just select all the images, contextual menu>convert to pdf, then download the zanelli script that places all pdfs on separate pages of an InDesign file, when you’ve got that done then, run the label maker script, now all you have to do is File>Print (select PDF or Postscript (you’d have to distill the postscript, you may want to go this route for smaller more efficient PDFs :P ) then when Print make sure you select thumbnails from the Setup section of the Print Dialog box, selecting 1×1, 2×2, 3×3 up to 7×7 thumbnails.

    Press ok, and voila, you’re pdf is done (unless you’re going postscript, you still have to drop the .ps into distiller).

    Seriously Bob…

    That CS4 Bridge is a great little shortcut. The amount of people that bypass Bridge because of memory or lag issues, I just say to you, get yourself a decent spec computer :)

    Contact Sheets always come in handy and now there is a handy CS4 Bridge way to do it.

    Thanks Bob.

  7. For me, the sticking point is that I often need to re-correct several images once I see them in the contact sheet. For example, a bunch of golf photos: I need to make sure the green grass color is consistent across all the images. Discrepancies are more apparent when I see them all together.

    In an InDesign contact sheet, Edit Original opens the images, I fix, update layout. If I use Photoshop contact sheet, I have to re-run the contact sheet or manually replace the images. If I go the PDF route, I have to go back two generations.

    This is why I keep all my old software :-)
    But I’m hoping Bob Stucky (who did the original InDesign Contact Sheet scripts) comes through, as his site implies he will.

  8. Well I have a different agenda with Contact Sheets. And it’s basically sourcing images/picture research. Rather than using full-res image, I actually just set up a template using tables in Indesign.

    Basically I run the batch rename on the lo-res versions of the image and name them Contact (then extension).

    (Technically, I wouldn’t call what I’m doing “Contact Sheets”)

    All the images in the indesign file are remain the same same. So it’s just a matter of replacing the links.

    Of course, making copies of the previous versions of contacts I’ve done too… easily done by just zipping the folder and storing in a cool, dry place. :)

  9. I can’t believe they did away with the contact sheet!! We have different templates for different photos.

    Also, how do we add captions to each individual photo? Filename and extension is hardly enough!

    This is stressing me out so bad…

  10. i want to have the contact sheets back because of the linked images. a pdf is a kind of a picture and not a layout as in indesign. i use as well templates for my picture catalogues. and it is true: even cs3 is worse than cs2 insofar as in cs3 are just to many frames as object styles and the position of the pictures in the contact sheet can not be set up as i want.

  11. They had InDesign contact sheets from Bridge correct in CS2. Somebody screwed up in CS3 by adding multiple strokes that had to be removed with object styles. Now instead of fixing the screw ups they’ve removed InDesign contacts sheets from CS4. Thanks Adobe, you’ve just given me another reason to stay with CS3.

  12. I believe that Adobe is taking a more narrow view of this process than their customers. It seems Adobe only considers “contact sheets” in the context of exactly that–contact sheets of thumbnails of photos.

    In fact, Creative Suite users use “contact sheet”-creation abilities of the suite to do all sorts of things. I suspect we are not the only people who use it to create art gangs of all images that appear in a chapter. There are Illustrator files, PDFs, Photoshop files, and even InDesign pages that are all different sizes and geometries. These images must appear in the gangs at 100%. One set of the gangs must be created with a spot color background behind all of the images so that overprinting can be tested on separated files.

    There’s no way that the Bridge CS4 feature is going to be useful in creation of these gangs. Luckily, we’ve found a script that does a perfect job of it.

  13. I really used a lot this feature with bridge CS3 for ONE reason: it was possible to choose which Metadata you need as caption.
    Now it is not possible any more. It is a real big mistake from Adobe. I know they are not caring a lot about people who are in charge of printing but why do they delete something which was working so properly?

  14. Contact sheet in CS4 not that good, we use the ability to include the metadata keywords and the new Bridge option is lacking this rather important feature.

    I’ll guess i’ll hold on to the old Cs3 version until i can find a solution

  15. I agree that they had it right in CS2.
    I’m a book designer, and the ability to make templates, and customize type, styles etc, is really useful.
    I was surprised that there’s no InDesign contact sheet at all in CS4, glad I still have CS2 also.

  16. Quoting Lee
    “August 11th, 2009 ? 5:50 pm ? Link
    Contact sheet in CS4 not that good, we use the ability to include the metadata keywords and the new Bridge option is lacking this rather important feature.

    I?ll guess i?ll hold on to the old Cs3 version until i can find a solution”

    Did they find a solution?
    I really want to use CS4 or CS5, but strongly need metada in my contact sheet…

  17. it is a shame it is gone, and the PDF solution is not really a substitute. Often I used the tool to just place a whole lot of images in Indesign, and they would be already laid out.

    I also would go in Indesign into the Object Styles and change all the fonts for the caption in one go. Background colour for the images, turn the frames off and much more. You could change the font, size, colour in one click to all 300 images you placed.

    it was a very handy tool, and not always used for contact sheets.

  18. Help

    When ever I create a PDF contact sheet in Adobe Bridge CS4 using EPS files the resolution always looks VERY BAD.
    On the Quality settings I am using full and 300ppi rez size, and that does not seem to matter the resolution is the same UNREADABLE contact sheet images.

    Is there a Rez Setting?
    That I have not found yet!!!

  19. What bothers me about the only ways to make contact sheets with CS4 is how the file names are often cut off when they’re long. At least with CS3, I could expand the text box in Illustrator and let the whole file name show.

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