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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:
https://github.com/mike-edel/ID-MultiPageImporter/releases

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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Comments

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

  1. Hi, I think this script is just what I’m looking for. But when I try to use it it keeps telling me “JavaScript Error. Error number: 55…” It says the object doesn’t admit property or method cropContent… muy JavaScript knowledge is really limited, any clue what’s going wrong?
    Thanks,
    Jose.

  2. The script is amazing and working fine with adobe in design CC, Thank you Scott! for creating this script and thank you David for sharing it.

    For more info on mac: open In design with one page open the Script Panel, Click on User then right click revel in finder then you have to paste the script inside the folder and done.

    Cheers to all.

  3. The script is amazing and working fine with adobe in design CC, Thank you Scott! for creating this script and thank you David for sharing it.

    For more info on mac: open In design with one page open the Script Panel, Click on User then right click revel in finder then you have to paste the script inside the folder and done.

    Cheers to all.

  4. This script is great! Is it possible to use this script to open the multi-page PDF in InDesign so I can edit the text in InDesign?

    • Unfortunately, no, it’s not possible. This script will just place a multi-page PDF in an InDesign document just like you would place any other image or file. There’s no option to edit the contents of a placed PDF inside InDesign. You might want to try the latest version of Adobe Acrobat or Enfocus Pitstop to edit the contents of a PDF. I wouldn’t recommend to edit contents inside a PDF, but I know that sometimes you just have to…

  5. Question – I have been trying unsuccessfully to import a large PDF file – 42 x 30, 72 pages and the script just spins. Anyone else experience this problem? Is there a page limit or something?

    Thanks

  6. As I recall, running this script in CS5 would place the PDF onto an independent layer named after the PDF. Is there anyway to get this feature working in CS6 other than creating an independent layer before running the script?

  7. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Wish I found this earlier but i think i will get enough use out of it now to make up for past times! :D

  8. Just placed a 186 page book four up!

    Corel Draw is still faster, but since Corel Draw can’t figure out how to import multi-page PDFs correctly, this script takes takes the trophy.

  9. GREAT script!! One suggestion: Could you make it that you have control for placing left and right pages independently (as XMPBackEnd6.pln.InDedsignPlugin does). When working with a large document, the spine is commonly larger than the outside margin making the horizontal placement different from left to right. Am I being clear enough? Anyway, love the script. Thank you so much…

    Erich_von_Pica

  10. Wonderful Script! Makes it so easy to bring in all pages of a PDF.
    Noticed a small Typo in the dialog that shows up on running this script: “Rotatation” under Positioning Options.
    Please correct it to “Rotation”.

  11. Excellent very useful script; thanks much!
    Especially helpful to be able to size to fit and center, and place to a new layer.

  12. Hi master ;)

    I have downloaded the script PEUS.zip from the link above, but it doesn’t place all pages into indesign document, i just can export to different formats.

    thanks for your support

  13. I have another question … Does anyone know if there is one script that works like this, but importing layers from another InDesign document? Superimposing the layers from the imported document to the main document pages.

    Thank you very much again ;)

  14. Hi David. Thank you for this script. One question: Would it be possible to place PDFs which have spread pages and not single pages?

      • Hi David, yes sorry I’ve been a little vague before. Sometimes I receive PDF files which are not single-pages files but spread-pages (1 page in the PDF is one spread in InDesign). I work with tables automation and I generally use a PDF file as template in the backgroud, to double-check that the automation has been programmed correctly. Is there a way how I can place all pages of a PDF file which has spreads in an InDesign document with spread pages? It doesnt matter if I can place them as individual pages or as spread. I hope this is more understandable. Thank you for any help you can provide. :-)

  15. Hello!

    I just use yours script. It works great, but I have got one question. I have got PDF of 140 pages, and I need to place this PDF in InDesign, but on new document I need the first page to be repeated 6 times on 1 page, second page to be repeated 6 times on second page and so on. Do you understand what I asking?

    Thank you for your answer!

  16. What a marvel this script is — except there was no accompanying PDF which, perhaps (hopefully), explains how to offset L and R pages of a book. Still, I suppose it didn’t take me too long to go through and adjust the R page of a 630 page book but I really would love to know if it’s possible. Thank you so much for the script, though.

  17. Hi all,

    I’ve had the same issue and have been using Zanelli’s script in general which has been a lifesaver. His script will place one PDF page per Indesign page. However I recently had a need to place a multiple paged PDF into a grid of pre-existing image frames. I want to do this sometimes when I’m putting an existing document into a “presentation” document for review.

    So I wrote an AppleScript that does this and I’d love to share it with you all for review. I gave it the option to place not just a multiple paged PDF but also a folder of images (which may also contain PDFs). If there aren’t enough picture frames selected on the page, an option lets you duplicate the original page and continue filling the boxes until all images or pages have been placed.

    Try it out and give me some feedback!

    http://www.drscripto.com/?p=797

    Regards,
    David

  18. So… I need to place a .pdf onto multiple pages in indesign. The file is a mobile website mock-up that is 3 inches wide and 120 inches tall. is there a script out there that can place successive copies of the same page except offset X inches down the page? can I buy it?

  19. Hi Erica and team,

    I have taken up the task of giving the script a new home on GitHub. Thanks to the help of some other fellow user I did also add some minor necessary updates. This information was recently added to the original article (which still shows up prominently in searches) but is missing here.

    Would you mind adding the new location in here as well?
    The latest stable version can always be found here:
    https://github.com/mike-edel/ID-MultiPageImporter/releases

  20. Hi. Ive been using this for a while, but now with the latest InDesign update CC2018 (Mac) it’s not working anymore. Would really appreciate some help, thanks!

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