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Placing All the Pages of a PDF Inside InDesign

It’s easy enough to import a PDF into an InDesign document, either as an entire document or by specific pages, but you have to click to place each page. This isn’t a huge burden with a relatively small PDF file, but can be an overwhelming task with a hefty document.

The PlaceMultipagePDF script by Olav Martin Kvern—which ships free with InDesign—is ready to help with such a Herculean task. It does as its name suggests and places the many pages that comprise your incoming PDF all in one go. And while it does as advertised, it’s a one-trick pony: It places all the pages without giving you much in the way of options. That’s where a third-party option can come in handy.

Our quest for a better solution many moons ago led us to the discovery of the PDFplacer script by Scott Zanelli. When we were first was introduced to this script, Zanelli wrote about some things his script did that the included script didn’t:

“…it allows the user to choose a page range from the PDF being placed, the crop type to use when placing, the page in the InDesign document to start placing on (adding new pages as needed), where to place it on the page (upper right, centered, etc., and using an optional offset), and whether to scale the PDF to the existing page size. If an InDesign doc isn’t open, it will read the size from the PDF and create a new InDesign document at the size of the PDF before placing the pages.”

One thing that wasn’t mentioned was that it’s not just for placing PDF files, but can be used to place multiple page InDesign files as well! There have been several versions—and a name change to MultiPageImporter—since we discovered this versatile PDF file placer, here are links to those iterations:

The latest stable version is maintained by Mike Edel can be found here:

Original CS3 version

New 2.5 version (added March 2010)

Note that there is a user guide included with version 2.5 which would still be very handy to have to guide you through using the latest version. Thank you Scott and Mike for this great time-saver!

We are refreshing our oldest and most popular posts with updated information and screenshots. The content of the original post was published by David Blatner January 28, 2008. For the most current comments scroll to the end of the comments.

Erica Gamet

Erica Gamet

Erica Gamet has been involved in the graphics industry for nearly 30 years. She is a speaker, writer, and trainer, focusing on Adobe InDesign and Illustrator, Apple Keynote and iBooks Author, and other print- and production-related topics. She has spoken at the InDesign Conference, PePcon, ebookcraft in Canada, and Making Design in Norway. When she isn’t at her computer, she can be found exploring her new hometown of Seattle and the greater Pacific Northwest.
Erica Gamet

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275 Comments on “Placing All the Pages of a PDF Inside InDesign

  1. Damn it! Can’t get it to work with CS6 :(
    Error number: 89867
    Error string: The default engine ‘main’ cannot be deleted.
    Engine: main
    File: ….
    Line: 564
    Source: exit(-1);
    What am i doing wrong, any ideas?
    (I’m using the proper script with proper fix, lines 124/125)

    • You need to create SubFolder on the ID Scripts folder, named “Version 7.0 Scripts”, and place the script there. Now it works.

  2. Mike: … the usual way, of course.

    I don’t see a difference when running this script with either facing or separate pages.

    • there seems to be some kind of bug with placing on facing pages. sometimes it works, sometimes it just posts 2 images one on top of the other. I don’t know why this happens. can anyone help figure this out?

  3. Hello!

    Big thanks to the people who develop this script! It’s amazing! That avoid a painful work. The version updated by Jim Birkenseer works perfectly in CS6.

    Greetings from Belgium!

  4. Hi again,

    An adaptation that would be great. It’s about the Offset settings. In some cases, the offset must be reversed depending on whether an even or odd page.

    But it’s really a great script.
    Thanks again.

  5. So, all it does is allow you to view it in InDesign just as you would as a PDF…it is still un-editable, which makes me completely useless…thanks for nothing!

      • Yeah…saw that…too outrageously priced. I was just commenting that your script does the same exact thing as double-clicking on the PDF itself…

    • @John: No, this script does something very different: it places each page of the PDF into a page of InDesign. This may not be what you need, but it’s very important for a lot of users, especially printers who often need to lay out the pages of a PDF differently. It’s certainly not useful for everyone, though. :)

    • John,

      I think you don’t really understand what the script allow to do. Maybe you didn’t even try to understand it.
      Too bad, because there is no need to denigrate this fabulous script.

      And about the PDF2ID plugin, the price is not really outrageously, for a professional, as it can save a lot of work and time.

      Try to think a little bit before denigrate.

      Have a wonderful Year 2014.

      • Toumps…wow, where do I begin. First, let me say that this is not a place to start a pissing contest with someone. But, it does scream wonders about your character.

        Second, I did not denigrate the script. I merely stated what I stated, which in my case/needs, is EXACTLY what I said it was, for me.

        Third, I never implied that the price of PDF2ID was unaffordable, just over-priced. How do you think millionaires stay millionaires? By spending money on anything and everything? Wrong…by spending wisely and saving money whenever possible.

        Finally, it is humorous that in your feeble attempt to advocate the script, you ended up doing the very thing that you claim I did to the script, to me.


  6. How brilliant. Wish I’d known about this script. The publisher I work for is always giving me huge great PDFs to place in InDesign because he needs a different page/book size. Ever tried placing a 600+pp book one page at a time and cropping it in InDesign to get rid of the PDF’s cropmarks — especially when the publisher wants a new print file yesterday? If only I could find a way of deleting the cropmarks, I’d be well away! I know there’s some sort of plugin/software that apparently does this but it’s far too expensive for me. Ah well!

    • Ann:
      There is a FREE tool available from that will do exactly what you need. You will need to place the JavaScript file that is in the ZIP file into the correct folder on your system. The instructions for finding the appropriate folder to put the script are in the file named “InstallingJSAutomationTools.txt”. You will need to close and restart Acrobat before the tool will be available. Depending on what version of Acrobat you are using, it should show up under the Tools panel under the Add-on Tools:

      Resize Pages Tool

      It is NOT the same tool as the Crop Tool in Acrobat. It actually changes the page size, not just the view of it on the screen. In order to do what you need to do (crop off the crop marks) just change the size of the page to the final trim size.

      Please let us know if it works for you.

      • Theresa — that is so kind of you. It looks brilliant. I’m going to look at it now. Unfortunately I think the publisher I work for has had all his books resized for Lightning Source by an agency that uses Pitstop but I’m going to let him know that I have this tool (because I’m way less expensive than the agency!). Thank you so much. I’m most grateful.

      • Ann:
        It is an AWESOME tool to have on hand. I use it several times a day to resize pages and do not want to ever be without it.
        If it is useful to you, be sure to drop a note to Thom Parker for creating it. He has several other very useful free tools available on their site as well.

  7. Thanks a bunch for this script! It saved my a ton of time and actually made the difference in making a tight deadline. It allowed me to place a 224 page PDF at a specific point in a 224 page INDD file with all of the placement options I would normally get with PDF placement. Awesome! The place operation took about 5-10min, a fraction of what it would have taken with a manual import, even with a loaded place tool. BTW, I did this in InDesign CS6 (CC). There are several links in this article. I used the ‘Newest version, updated by Jim Birkenseer, which should work in CS3, CS4, and CS5.’ link. I unzipped the JSX file and put it in my ‘Scripts Panel’ folder and voila – awesome scripted automation. I heartily disagree with ‘John’, this is a great script.

  8. Hats off the the creator of this script, it’s just brilliant! Well done, and thank you for sharing!!

  9. Hello everyone. I have a very basic question. I already copied the .jsx file to the Scripts Panel folder, but I don’t know exactly how to launch the script… I mean how to make the dialog box appear. I hope you can help me. Thank you in advance.

  10. Looking for a script that will place several multi-page pdfs at one time into a single InDesign document. Any suggestions?

  11. I am attempting to download the script for InDesign CS6 in order to place a multi-page pdf document instead of one page at a time. I am a bit confused after reading some of the comments here. If you can navigate me, I can follow directions :) Thanks!!

  12. Hello Effie. I can understand your confusion with getting the script to work in CS6 – I had the same experience. Look at my post in the comments above from Mar 13. I walk a bit through the procedure I used AND (importantly, I think) which version of the script was downloaded. If you still have questions, just repost to these comments and I’ll see it.

    The script was a godsend for me. Hopefully it will work that way for you too.

  13. I was able to place the script in the appriate folder for CS6, but when i run the script I do not get the same window to pop up with all of the lovely options. The script simply opens up, asks me which file to place the pdf, then the next window asks which page. And that’s it. It then places each page of the pdf full bleed on subsequent pages. I was hoping to be able to adjust the crop size and positioning on each page, but no luck. WHat am I doing wrong?

    • I figured it out. If you are using a recent version of CS6 place the newest updated script in the following folder.

      C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Adobe InDesign CS6\Scripts\Scripts Panel\Samples\JavaScript

  14. This was a lifesaver! Couldn’t get my PDF to print the right way, and this made it easy to bring into InDesign and use their booklet printing feature.

  15. This is so good! I’ve dealt with 10-50 page PDFs before, but today’s four 300-pagers finally sent me googling for a better solution. This gets it perfectly and quickly.

    Also I’m very impressed with all over for remaining calm in the face of trolling. Nice work

  16. Could it be possible to import 1 .pdf page to the whole spread inside InDesign? The problem is in the pdf 2 vertical pages are exported into 1 horizontal one. Thanx!

  17. Thanks. I have cs6 and dumped the scripts into the startup script folder in Indesign program files and although I was presented with an error on startup, it still worked. I’ll deal with a startup error for the work this saved me creating a 107pg pdf into spreads then exporting a .jpg for my portfolio. Mad thanks.

  18. I’m not getting any error message in CS6, and I am getting the dialog box to pop up (it comes up *after* you select the INDD or PDF file to place) without an issue. Make sure you’re using the version of the script that Jim Birkenseer updated, linked to above. The name of the script should end with 2.5JJB.jsx.

  19. @all: you can place “MultiPageImporter2.5JJB.jsx” in the “InDesign/Scripts/Scripts Panel/Samples/Javascript/” Folder, to find it easily. The Scripts-Panel in Indesign CC is hidden in Menubar > Windows > Utilities. Be sure not to use “PlaceMultipagePDF.jsx” wich is a different script.

  20. Hello –

    I’d just like to make 1 comment about PDF2ID. I represent Recosoft that makes PDF2ID. There are many editions of PDF2ID. The cheapest edition is US$99.99 and that’s PDF2ID Lite v4.0 available from the Adobe Exchange store that works with ID CC/CC 2014 only. The versions above that cost anywhere between US$149-US$299 per license. You can visit to understand the differences between the versions.

  21. Surely someone can post the step by step process to place a multi page pdf into indesign… when I say multi I mean a 200+ doc and please don’t suggest the “Show All” option. None of the scripts are working for CC.

  22. I’m new to InDesign but I desperately need a script for InDesign Server that can extract the linked images in an InDesign file and place them in AEM DAM. Any help will be highly appreciated!


  23. Successfully used this script in InDesign CC 2014. It saved soooo much time and I loved being able to customize the placement of the file, rotations, etc. Thank you!

  24. Hello David,

    I see the scrip can do great thing, but don’t understand if it could do the following:

    Can it take a multiple page pdf and then place in order a cropped part of the pdf page (always same size and part of the pdf) in several image blocks of a page.
    I mean imagine I get a people profile pdf wit ha unique pucture and text for each person, one person per page, and I need a cropped part of this page to be in an image block in a IndEsign page, with let’s say 10 profiels per InDesign pages. Is this possible to generate pages but with 10 images per page?

    Thank you for your answer

    • The script could likely be modified by a professional scripter. However, I wonder if you can achieve what you want using Object > Fitting > Frame Fitting Options. I don’t know if it would work, but that feature does let you assign crop size to placed images.

    • There is a script in the Samples folder that comes with the InDesign application. It is called “ImageCatalog.jsx”.
      I believe it is what you may be looking for. If it doesn’t already, the script can be modified to accept PDFs as a file format.

      Hope this helps!

  25. While my page layout is landscape, I would like to place multiple pdf pages, one to a page, and have them take up only half the page. Is there a setting or another script that would do this?

  26. Hi, this script is very useful for us, but today we have upgraded the Indesign to version CC 2015, and the script stopped working , not the menu is displayed with the import preferences , someone could solve this problem?

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