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Placing All the Pages of a PDF Inside InDesign

About a year ago, we discussed several options for importing multi-page PDF files into InDesign. Then, last autumn, I created a free video tutorial for MOGO Media that shows how you can import or export multi-page PDF files. In that video, I showed Scott Zanelli’s free Page Exporter Utility script for exporting PDF files as individual pages. [In that movie, I said I didn’t know where you could find the script. Fortunately, Scott updated the script and we’ve posted it here.]

In the MOGO movie, I also showed a script that let you place multi-page PDF files into InDesign, one page a time. That script (PlaceMultipagePDF) was written by Olav Martin Kvern and ships free with InDesign. But today I just received a new Zanelli script, called PDFplacer, which does the same thing… but even better. (Ironically, Scott didn’t even realize Kvern’s script was available when he wrote this. He just knew he needed something to do this, so he wrote his own.)

Scott wrote about some things his PDFplacer.jsx script does that the PlaceMultiPagePDF.jsx script doesn’t do:

“…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.”

Here’s a screen capture of the script’s main dialog box:


When I asked him if we could post the script for anyone to download, he said: Yes! So here it is, free. After you unzip the file, read the enclosed PDF file for more information about installation and use.

Original CS3 version

New 2.5 version (added March 2010)

Newest version, updated by Jim Birkenseer, which should work in CS3, CS4, and CS5.

I can’t guarantee it will work perfectly for you, but it seems to be working great for me so far. It’s so great to automate this stuff. Thank you Scott!

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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265 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?

  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?


  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…


  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 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?

    • Serena: I don’t think so. Can you explain this more? The PDF has spreads, but you want to place them as individual pages (1/2 the spread) on each page of the document?

      • 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!


  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?

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