external text anchor not found error

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This topic contains 13 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Alex McNeilly 3 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #71907

    I have created a 15 chapter book in InDesign CC 2014.1 (latest version from cloud) and added cross-references in the text. All the cross-references show a green dot in the cross-reference panel. They have all been updated across the book using the book panel. When I export the book to pdf, all the cross-references work correctly.

    But when I export to an ePub fixed layout format, I receive an error that says:
    The file was exported but one or more problems were detected:
    External Text Anchor not found: 66

    So all the cross-references are not being found or exported. I have tried to export individual chapters and have the same problem. When I export, I do have all chapters open in inDesign.

    Is there something special I need to do to have the cross-references exported to ePub?
    Thanks for any help.

  • #71924

    When you do export, are the cross-refs not working in the epub?

    Are you sure it’s not talking about anchors from a TOC?


  • #71930

    I am pretty sure that the message has to do with the cross-refs. The number of “external text anchor not found” errors match to the number of cross-refs I have.

    The cross-refs do not work in the ePub. They do work in the pdf and I get no errors when exporting to pdf. The TOC links work correctly in both the ePub and the pdf.

    So, to re-cap: Everything works perfectly and has no reported errors when I export to pdf. When I export to ePub the cross-refs do not work and I receive the error. I am exporting using the book panel. If I export the ePub files individually, I get the same error.

    Is there something I need to do to get the cross-refs to work in an ePub?
    Thanks for the help.

  • #72016

    The cross-refs should just work. However they can be “fragile” (prone to error) in epub as well as pdf.

    Are you working on a book file (using the Book panel)?

    Have you tried roundtripping to IDML?


  • #73384

    Any solution to this issue? I just updated to CC build, and I’m getting the same error. I’m not working from a TOC. I’ve made a simple layout trying to have a button go to a page in another indesign file, but when I go to export I get the error:

    “External Anchor not found: External Anchor ‘Page1’ at ‘/XXX/Desktop/test/doc1.indd’ is missing”

    The epub generated from the .indb includes both files, but at export it can’t seem to see the anchors. I can generate a functioning TOC, but I can’t get these buttons to work. I can’t figure out what I’m missing.

  • #73398

    Hi Again,
    I started with a simple document and tried several options, finally finding that making hyperlink destinations as text anchors seemed to work where bookmarks and other types of hyperlink destinations did not. I was able to replicate the working buttons in a more complex layout, but when I try to apply it again, I’m back to the external anchor not found error. I’m not sure if this hints to what I’m doing wrong, but any insight would be greatly appreciated.

  • #73450

    Hi Amelina, I’m sorry, I don’t have an answer for you.

    I’m not sure why you’re creating hyperlink destinations if the problem is with cross-references, as you reported earlier. (You’re making cross-references via the cross-references panel, aren’t you?)

    If you’re making buttons that open other pages (these are not cross-references, technically speaking), they have to open a page in the same INDD file as far as I know. I don’t think buttons are designed to work cross-document, even if the docs are compiled in a book.

  • #73475

    Hi Anne-Marie,
    I wasn’t making cross-references, but hyperlink destinations and then programming buttons to “go to destination” in other documents all in the book and open while I was programming. I wasn’t able to replicate that one time I got it to work. Instead of programming a button to go to a destination, I’ve made my “button” icon an object hyperlink to the destination, and it seems to be working more consistently now. Now I only have one hyperlink/button that won’t go to its hyperlink destination.
    Thanks for the hints as to what to check!

  • #77071

    Ryan Scheife

    I am getting the same error message, and have determined the source of the error to be with the links in the index. It’s annoying that the error message does not point to which link it is, and cannot find a reasonable solution aside from checking each of them individually.

  • #77539

    David Teich

    I started getting this error this morning, and after quite a bit of nit-picking time, fixed it. I don’t know if your problem is the same as mine, but here’s what was going on:
    I am working on an ePub. From time to time I “save as” a new incremental version. I was working on version 18 and pasted in some text from version 17, which I didn’t realize had a text anchor in it. When I exported the version 18 ePub, I got the error. On close examination I found that the text anchor was still referring to version 17, which by that time had been moved. Edited the text anchor and problem solved. Hope this helps.

  • #79105

    Bill Jelen

    I had a similar problem. Here is where I found the problem:

    My INDB file included six INDD files.

    I had to open each individual INDD file and go to the Cross-References panel. Sort by the status icon. I had a “Red flag with white X” icon. The cross reference was pointing from Section1.INDD to Section2Recovered.INDD. At some point, the Section2Recovered.indd had been renamed to simply Section2.indd.

    Here is how to fix:
    1. Click the cross reference in the Cross References panel.
    2. Use the Panel menu and choose Relink Cross Reference.
    3. Point the cross reference to File2.INDD and the problem went away. In my case, they were pointing to Section2Recovered.indd, which at some point I renamed to Section2.indd. It was easy enough to see that the old cross reference was pointing to Section2 and to find the current version of Section2.
    4. Repeat for any other missing cross references in this file. Repeat for each additional INDD file in your INDB.

    Also helpful: Sometimes, re-linking one cross reference would automatically correct others. But I had to fix each relationship once. For example, fixing the link to Section2.indd from Section1.indd did not help similar links in Section3.indd or Section4.indd

  • #79132

    David and Bill, thanks for your solutions! Great detective work there.

    You can make the hunt for broken x-refs go a *little* faster if you set up Live Preflight to look for “Unresolved Cross-References.” Then you don’t need to open the XRefs panel nor sort them. The Preflight panel will list all the broken/missing ones and jump you to each one in the doc for fixing.

  • #79133

    David and Bill, thanks for your solutions! Great detective work there.

    You can make the hunt for broken x-refs go a *little* faster if you set up Live Preflight to look for “Unresolved Cross-References.” Then you don’t need to open the XRefs panel nor sort them. The Preflight panel will list all the broken/missing ones and jump you to each one in the doc for fixing.

  • #123965

    Just wanted to add my own iteration of the problem several years down the road. I’m in CC2020 and I kept getting the same error when exporting to EPUB. I checked all my x-refs and didn’t have any problems. My problem was that I (like David) had pasted some text from a different InDesign document. This text had a hyperlink to a URL and got pasted into the new document as a hyperlink to a “Shared Destination” based on the other document I had pasted in from. I could see this when I selected the hyperlink and clicked “Edit Hyperlink”. I edited the hyperlink so that its destination was simply a URL and NOT a Shared Destination. Problem solved! So, if you can’t figure out the problem, you might also want to check your Hyperlinks and make sure they are only linked to Destinations within your document, or to simple web URLs, not Shared Destinations in other InDesign docs.

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