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Package files without the annoying “instructions.txt” file

In InDesignSecrets Podcast 178, David and Anne-Marie discuss some of the reader-nominated “Ridiculous Features in InDesign”. One of the items discussed was how superflous the “instructions.txt” file is. The purpose of this text file is that it contains a summary of the links in your file, the fonts used, etc. In theory, this is a way to communicate with your output service provider. But in reality, it is often unnecessary.

I find myself constantly deleting this file whenever I find it on my hard drive, or immediately after I package a file. So I decided to whip up a little script that would package files without creating the instructions.txt file. You can download the free script here. Be sure to read the “read_me.pdf” that accompanies the script. The script works on Mac or Windows InDesign CS4-CS6.

One additional benefit of the script (or drawback, depending on your needs) is that the script doesn’t stop for any preflight errors. It just quietly packages without any interruption. So you’ll need to check to make sure you don’t have any missing fonts or links before you run the script.

Keith Gilbert

Keith Gilbert

Keith Gilbert is a digital publishing consultant and educator, Adobe Certified Instructor, Adobe Community Professional, conference speaker, author, and contributing writer for various publications. His work has taken him throughout North America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. During his 30 years as a consultant, his clients have included Adobe, Apple, Target, the United Nations, Best Buy, General Mills, Lands' End, and Medtronic. Follow him on Twitter @gilbertconsult and at
Keith Gilbert

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23 Comments on “Package files without the annoying “instructions.txt” file

  1. As one of the people who submitted the “instructions.txt” file as ridiculous, I am grateful for the script. It will help me a lot when I have to package 21 files and don’t want to be bothered with those alerts and dialog boxes.


  2. I’d have to disagree that the file is entirely useless. We change the default file name during the packaging process to our internal job number. This then allows a quick Spotlight file search should we need to bring the job back from the archives sometime in the future.

    Of course, the content of the file is irrelevant for our purposes and could just as well be blank.

  3. You could just put the job number in the indesign file name?

    I don’t really package a lot of files any more. The instructions file is a mere inconvenience for me, but I understand on a daily basis it could be frustrating.

    One of the most annoying things is that it always comes up with the last name of what you packaged, why it can’t pull the current file name in there is beyond me?

    I do wish it was an option like if you choose “File>Package” that there was a tick box on the dialog box to enable/disable the instructions.txt file.

  4. Hi all! I was reading this article and began wishing that there was a way to do a Save-As to re-write the file over itself and also copy the fonts into a Document Fonts folder as it does so. I find the Package command leads me to re-write the file into a different folder just to make the Document Fonts folder happen. (Maybe I’m doing it wrong!?) The instructions.txt is a small annoyance compared to wishing that InDesign would automatically copy the fonts into a new Document Fonts folder. To me, projects with Document Fonts would never need a font manager, nor my time and attention to administer fonts.

  5. @Mike. Funny, just yesterday I added to my “Scripts to write” to do list: “Create a script to create a “Package” but keep only the Document Fonts folder. I’ll post here when I have a chance to write the script. I want to do it, but it might be a few weeks!

  6. @Keith ? unfortunately there is no AFTER_PACKAGE_FOR_PRINT event for document?
    Then, it would be easy to get rid of the “instructions.txt” file or change its name and/or its contents.

    But maybe we could use a listener that is working together with the AFTER_SAVE_AS event the document triggers when doing the “normal” packageForPrint() method?

    Just an idea?


  7. Is there a way to modify this script to include a PDF like you would normally have when packaging?

  8. Hi Keith,

    What an awesome script! However, for our purposes we like having the preflight message, but hate the instruction file! Is there a way to just delete the instruction file without removing the preflight alert message?


  9. Very Good Script,

    I am searching for a way to exclude or change the word “Folder” in the default text string that names the folder of the packaged contents – (i.e. the last save dialog in the package process).

    I am more familiar with apple script automating indesign, but I will take some time and see if I can modify this script to add this feature.

    Cheers –

    • Oh, please do! I hate it because people leave it there and when I’m searching my HD for a folder I’ve designed…everything is a folder. :-/

  10. This might be too more than a script can accomplish, but…
    Does anyone know of a script that would automatically deploy the “Copy links to…” function from the links panel each time I save a file?
    OR alternatively, just adds a copy of any links I add to my InDesign file, to a designated folder? Even better if it could add both links and fonts.

    OR a scenario that would allow you to “repackage” over a previous package instead of making a new package each time…thus making a very elaborate save?

    That’s a mighty big load for a script to handle? Hahaha

    I know, it seems kind of ridiculous, but I’m just trying to figure out a way to keep all my assets together and available to other collaborators. We often link to files in various places outside of shared folders (and it’s hard to break a whole team of that-I’m guilty too!), so I’m trying to find an easy way to keep all our stuff together when working in a collaborative environment. Something that just goes right along with “save”…

  11. is there a way to include the preflight for missing fonts/images?

    ignorePreflightErrors = true, // If this is set to false, and there are preflight errors, the script does nothing.

    there is this line but it does not give alert if missing when set to false, it just continues as if nothing is wrong and does nothing

    i would like it to fail with an alert of some kind


    • Scott, if I recall, this is a bug in the InDesign scripting model. I don’t have time to confirm right now, but if I recall, that’s why I didn’t take this script any further…the ignorePreflightErrors doesn’t do what it is supposed to. Perhaps this has changed in more recent versions of InDesign, but I suspect not.

  12. it definitely behaves exactly as you describe in the script using the latest indesign…not the answer i was hoping for

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