How to Save InDesign Files as Layered Photoshop Files
Recently, someone asked the question of whether it was possible to export from InDesign to a layered Photoshop file, converting InDesign layers to Photoshop layers. While you won’t find PSD as one of the file formats in the Export dialog box, you can accomplish this task on the Mac with the help of a script written by Rob Day and available to download for free from zenodesign.com.
The script works by exporting each layer as a separate PDF, and then placing those PDFs into Photoshop (CS5 or later). You have the option to place layers as Smart Objects or rasterized layers.
The layer names in Photoshop match the layer names in your InDesign document. Hidden layers, locked layers, and empty layers are all exported.
When you run the script, you get a dialog box where you can choose one of your PDF Presets, the Color Mode, page, resolution, and whether each layer is rasterized or saved as a Smart Object.
If you chose Smart Objects, you can edit the content of a layer by double-clicking the thumbnail in the Layers panel in Photoshop. Here’s one being edited in Illustrator.
Save and close, and the change will be reflected in Photoshop.
Note: for lots more information about working with Smart Objects, check out Bart Van de Wiele’s Get Smart videos at CreativePro.
If your InDesign document contains a lot of text, don’t expect it will be easy (or even possible) to edit it in the exported file. Some text will be converted to outlines.
Also, transparency effects are rasterized and blending modes applied to InDesign content will not be honored (check out the red rectangle in the images above). Remember, PDFs are intended to be output files, not working files. Even so, it’s pretty awesome to get InDesign content into Photoshop like this.