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Zanelli Releases MultiPageImporter for Importing both PDF and INDD Files

Well, it’s time yet again for another episode of “cool (and free!) scripts that can save you bundles of time and energy.” At the beginning of the year, I wrote a post about Scott Zanelli’s PDFplacer script, which places each page of a PDF on to a different page of your InDesign document. That’s pretty cool, but within an hour, someone replied asking for more: The ability to import InDesign documents in the same way… then other folks asked for more features, too.

Scott, recently graduated and with too much time on his hands, complied. The new version of the script works with both PDF and INDD files. It’s also renamed MultiPageImporter. You can download it here:

Original file (made for CS3)

Original version from March, 2009, for CS4

Newer version (2.5), from March, 2010

Newest version (for CS5) from December 2010

There are detailed instructions in the folder (after it is unzipped).

Here’s a screen capture of the import dialog box:

But here’s my question: Why do you want to import all the pages of one InDesign document into another? How are you using this script to make your life easier? Just curious.

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 Lynda.com are among the most watched InDesign training in the world. You can find more about David at 63p.com.
David Blatner

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227 Comments on “Zanelli Releases MultiPageImporter for Importing both PDF and INDD Files

  1. How do I use this? I can’t find on InDesign how to install external scripts.

    I would need to convert a document from B5 to A4, and according http://forums.adobe.com/thread/960226 this could be doable by creating a new InDesign file in A4 and then importing the old document in it with your script.

  2. Awesome script, thank you! The only thing is that the text in of the Epubs I created, from a 230 page PDF, seems to have the look that it was scanned and copied using an old copy machine. Is anyone else seeing that? Is there a setting that can be tweaked (in the pdf, in the script, etc) that can fix that?

  3. I’m using it because of Adobe’s inability to address the bug caused in “Print Booklet”.

    If you are like me, enjoy making off-page sizes to enhance your book, DO NOT USE THE PAGE TOOL TO CHANGE PAGE SIZES. YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO USE THE PRINT BOOKLET FEATURE LATER ON, TO COMPILE YOUR PRINT SPREADS.

    You will get the error specifying that you cannot print the booklet because of multiple page sizes. Even if you fix all your page sizes to be exactly the same, it will still produce the error, because this is a software bug. And Bob’s your uncle.

    • Exactly what I’m dealing with right now with CS6. So what is the solution? I feel like my brain is about to explode.

      • I don’t see that error. At what point do you see it? You should be able to reset all your pages to the same size, but make sure they match the File > Page Setup size, and make sure you change the size of all master pages, too. If the problem persists, start a new Forum thread about this (probably much better than trying to figure it out in comments here).

  4. How can I import PDFs only on odd or even pages in InDesign with MultiPageImporter2.5?
    The problem is i have two pdf files, each has 2000 pages. I want to import one pdf on odd pages and the other on even pages. Is that possible?

    • Hi Kepano,

      I was in the same situation last year and did a quick hack of the script to make this possible.
      Basically, I added the option to skip every 2nd page when placing. So you just have to watch out which page you start on and enable this option.

      Good question is how to make this available to you…
      @all: is there some kind of general repository where we could centrally collect updated versions? Mine is based on the 2.5JJB version…

      Cheers,

      Mike

  5. I have a scanned book that is divided into odd and even pages as separate files.. Is there a way to import them on a single idd file? so that I can have the final book arranged???

    • Hi Sara,

      last year, I made a small addition to the script that would allow for this.
      You basically have to import every second page (new option in my version) and start at the correct page number in the original doc.
      Then you import the other second pages in a second run.
      It’s a quick hack but it worked when we needed it back then.

      I have uploaded it on my google drive account – would prefer sharing it on this site though:
      https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0ByBLPJL93nQCVXg1cUVFeUswRmM&usp=sharing

      Cheers,

      Mike

      • Hi sorry bit of a blond here, I have downloaded the pdf multi page file script and it is open like a program with all the script in it, but how do I put it into my indesign, !! where is scripts on it?

  6. Hello,
    Is there a way to specify which pages the file gets placed on? Such as pages 1, 3, 5, etc.
    I’m trying to number a 2 part NCR Form with indesign. Not for any important reason, I just have time and would like to figure it out.

  7. Scott’s script and Mike’s script won’t download on my computer. I have Indesign CC and none of these scripts work for this. If Indesign CC has an added function for placing multi-page pdf files in an InDesign document I can’t find it. If someone knows how to do this for InDesign CC I would appreciate a post which details how to do this.
    Thank you.

  8. I can’t really comment on CC compatibilty as I’m still on CS6.
    One thing I remember reading is that Adobe made substantial changes to the user interface part of scripting in CC. So maybe that’s breaking things now.

    That said, I’ll need a working version of this in CC for sure. I would even make some effort to update it once I make the switch.

    • Thanks for the reply, Mike. Later this morning I called Adobe Tech support and the person showed me where the “place multipage pdf” script was located in InDesign cc.
      It is” >window
      >utility
      >scripts
      >samples
      >java script
      > place multipage pdf

      However, when I try to place the multipage pdf in my document with the margins which I set, it is place outside the document. I called Adobe tech support again about this and nobody knew how to fix this. I was able to do this in Pagemaker 15 years ago! There certainly must be a way now in 2014. Could you, Mike, or anybody help me with this problem?

      Thanks in advance!

      • If I remember correctly, the original script did nothing except pacing the file at some default position. I assume was the original reason for creating this version in the first place.

        Sadly, there isn’t much I can do at the moment as it’s pretty much impossible to update the script for CC without having access to it.

        Cheers,

        Mike

  9. Hi,

    I am using cs6 on pc. I have downloaded the multiple page importer but when I select the number of pages to place, I get a message that ‘the end page number must be 1 or less’. Does anyone know how I can fix this?

    Thanks in Advance.

  10. Is there any way to number the pages or have it use your master page setup to number the pages as you import them? I hope I’m explaining it right. lol

  11. Hi I have downloaded the script, opened it it looks like a program so I saved it to my desk top and then copied it to the scripts file, samples and also the javascript place. But how to I ignite it to make it work? or I have I done it wrong.. beginner but desperate here thanks Debs

    • I tried that one, and it didn’t work. It placed pages everywhere but where I wanted them.
      Can somebody please let me know if they could get this to work, and how they got this to work?
      Thank you.

  12. The script doesn’t work anymore. I get a javascript error.
    The error number is 55
    There’s something wrong in rule 124.

    Is there someone who has a solution?

  13. Love this script.
    Helped me to import a 62Mb pdf in InDesign and compress it while exporting it into a 5 Mb pdf.
    Thanks David/ Zanelli!

    • I’ve been trying to figure out how to get the pages where I want them. I have two columns. Did you have to make many adjustments in order to get the pages where you want them using the mulitpage importer script?
      Thank you, Bill Helmer

    • The CS5 version is working fine for me under CC (Mac OS 10.10, CC2014.2).
      Install here:
      /Applications/Adobe InDesign CC 2014/scripts/Scripts Panel/

  14. Seems like the script has some compatibility issues in CC – I haven’t tested it myself but I’d be willing to have a look. (It’s a matter of time though)

    I really hope that it doesn’t suffer from Adobe’s decision to totally re-do the user interface parts of their scripting. There were quite a few comments from experienced developers hinting that it’s pretty unusable.

    Will let you know how it goes.

  15. This is working great in Adobe CC 2014. Okay, there is one more option that I desperately need. Can someone brilliant edit the script so that there is an option to duplicate each page of the document 2, 4, 6, or 12 times per sheet with specified alignment and spacing. This would make this script perfect! That way if you’re setting a file up for print, (such as business cards, or post cards, etc.) you can gang-up page 1 two times on the first page and page 2 two times on the second page, etc. Does that make sense? Saves money and sets things up for smaller printers that don’t have that knowledge, skill level, software etc. Just makes nice n-up files ready for print.

    Please do not say that InDesign is not an imposition software or designers need to go to the print shop to learn. We are not all in San Francisco or New York where life is just wonderful and everyone knows their place.

    • the script doesn’t work for me in CC2014. I don’t even get an error message, just a beep and then nothing. Did you do anything special to get yours to work?

      • I didn’t need to do anything special to get it to work – just installed the script and used it like in previous versions.
        Did you check with a relatively simple pdf that is known-good?
        The only problems I ever had with the script were caused by broken input files or when placing the pdf would position it outside of the InDesign scratch area.

        Cheers,

        Mike

  16. I’m a prepress manager and constantly find myself in need of work arounds for client’s troublesome files. I had a 92 page PDF of which fonts were giving me fits. I find that sometimes placing it in InDesign and exporting a new PDF with my preferred settings works miracles. I just came upon this post because I wanted to do just that with this 92 page PDF. Worked great and couldn’t be geeking out any more, that I found this! Thank you, thank you!

  17. The scripts have been working great, except if i update something in the imported PDF, Indesign does not update the imported pages correctly. Is there a way for the ‘modified image’ PDF to update to the original imported page numbers?

  18. In answer to your question David, I use this for impositions for digital print: the offset/scaling option is a lifesaver.

    – A4 document printed double sided for wire binding: 2 up on A3, and I’ve halved my click rate
    – 6up etc raffle tickets, particularly with numbering
    – any imposition for a book that’s smaller than media size; for example an A4>A5 book printed 2up on A3/SRA3 – the longer it gets, the worse manual imposition is.

    If I supply my printer with files they can literally drop on their RIP, I save on fees, and they like me a bit more.

  19. I have read all the previous responses and I am still having trouble getting my 100+ PDF file into my document in the space that I want. I currently have several headers and footers on my document to explain the PDF file, but when I use the CC Scripts place multi-page PDF, it places the document over my headers and footers, so I have to go in an resize each page… Very time consuming. I used the script that was discussed previously and it places in center, but it still covers my headers and footers. Is there a way I can place a frame and have all the PDF pages automatically fit to the size I want on each new page. Please let me know this would save me a ton of time. Any and all suggestions greatly appreciated.

      • How about placing them onto a different layer and arranging the layer to be front most.

        Michael

      • Set up a new ‘Master’ page with the headers and footers in place. Use the multipage pdf importer script to flow your pdf into a new indesign document. Then select all pages and apply the master to all. The header and footer items on your master page should now appear above the pdf layers.

    • In addition to David’s suggestion I always find it very helpful to manually place one page and scale/transform it until it fits. You can then use it’s scale/position values to set up the multi-page import.
      You may have to fiddle around with the registration point of the inserted object and the ruler units to get the same coordinates that the multi-page-importer dialog uses.

  20. I have a problem with Indy CC … on running this script the PDFs are greyed out in the Select PDF dialogue.
    Has there been an update to this script to enable it to work with Indesign CC?

    • Weird, works fine for me – we never had to modify this version (2.5JJB) to get it working in CC2014 or CC2015 (Windows).

    • And the file it fails with is a pdf for sure?
      The only issues I ever had with it was with corrupted PDFs – but those cause errors at a later stage (inside the dialog and when being placed).

  21. yep definitely a PDF, not corrupts as it imports manually OK – guess what, I’m not gonna lose sleep over it…I’ll let the operator do that :D

  22. this is great, just wondering if this can be modified to make sure that imported content stays within the page margins. my issue is im important a 500+ page pdf, where most of the pages are scanned in at size 8.5×11 but need to be scaled to fit in the margins, but SOME of the pages are smaller and can just be centered, not scaled. im trying to prevent myself from needing to go in and scale almost all the pages by hand. if I use the scale option, it will scale all pages even the small ones, making them too small.

  23. I have a 2048 x 1536 InDesign document meant to be published as a single edition interactive app with DPS. Now that DPS is no longer an option, I need to convert my document to 1024 X 768 in order to use another software company (Twixl) to publish the app. Should I use the script in this thread to rescale my document, or is there a better way? Will my document’s interactive overlays be preserved? Thanks.

    • Don: This importer script is probably not what you want. You want something that will resize your document and leave you with editable objects on the page, right? You might take a look at QuickResize at id-extras.com/products/quickresize

  24. Hi David,

    Been using this great script A LOT in the past few months and it’s been a life saver! But now, (since last INDD update last week?) it seems to have stopped working… Unless I am missing something? After several attempts + removing and reinstalling, I keep getting the same error:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/egpka3accbpxc3r/Screenshot%202015-12-10%2007.15.20.png?dl=0

    and then…

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/4h8f86bbgl5q2sq/Screenshot%202015-12-10%2007.15.44.png?dl=0

    TIA for any help… I’m STUCK!! :-(

  25. OK…! I think I have found the culprit! Somehow, the original INDD file to be placed had section numbering… but never could find it! So, I selected all pages in the Pages panel and applied “Automatic page numbering”… Seems it resolved the bug…

    Anyhow… happy it is solved!
    Might be useful to someone eventually…

    Maryse

  26. Hello, I am working on modifying the existing MultiPageImporter in CS5. I’m trying to make it so that when I import a multi-page PDF and have the “Place Pages on a New Layer” check box selected, each page will become its new layer. So Page 1 would be layer 1 and pg 2 would be layer 2 and so on. I was wondering if anyone has been able to do this or could offer some assistance in the matter. Thank You.

    • Hey Dwayne
      I can’t really go into details right now but instead of changing the existing functionality of the “New Layer” option I’d suggest adding another one to control this.

      Otherwise the function will probably make less sense for most users – this seems like a very special use case (imagine placing a 600+ page pdf on new layers…)

      It should be relatively straightforward to add some new checkbox and based on it add a new layer in the main “place loop” instead of before running the loop.

      • Hi Mike,

        This was a request by my users. They do a lot of work with layers and would prefer that all 600 pages be a different layer. But it makes sense to add the functionality to the main loop. Ill try that approach first and I’ll let you know how it goes. Thank you!

  27. One thing that comes to mind: if you add a new setting and want to save it to the prefs file for later (default behavior) bear in mind that the new prefs file will be incompatible with the old one (the script expects a specific order).
    I ran into that when I added an option to skip every second page.

  28. Ok, I got each page to be on a new layer by nesting it in the main loop. But they actually want one page with multiple layers. Is there a way to debug the code so that I can see where the page is being added for the import process? I can’t debug directly form Extend Script, because it requires an open document.

    • Beats me why anyone would want to place x pdf pages onto one page inside InDesign but I guess they know what they want. ;)

      I suspect you can’t debug in ESTK because the #target=InDesign; is missing in the original script and because the script has some hard-codec preference path.
      You could always try $.writeln messages – those end up in ESTK even when you run the script from within ID.

      What you are looking for should be in the addPages function – essentially you “just” have to disable adding pages altogether. theDoc.pages.add(LocationOptions.AT_END);

  29. I work for a large scale printing company. My understanding is that the main layer (1) is say all of the color and every layer after that (2-N) is different black lettering. This allows them to quickly overlay the images just by turning off all but 2 layers. This also allows them to you use the page exporter utility to then extract individual pdf groups 1&2, 1&3, 1&4 and so on to 1&N.

    You were correct, that was exactly what I needed to remove to put all layers on one page. I had to do a little tweaking outside of that because the next line of code was looking for the next page. So i just set that piece of the code to always look for page one and it worked. Thank you so much for helping me with this problem!

  30. I am placing a lot of scanned pages using MultiPageImporter2.5.jsx. Working great in CS6. The original for scanning is a cutout from older books and the text blocks are not always in the same place and do often have a minor rotation – different between pages. Does anyone know of a way to correct the placement and rotation automatically? With a script or something that can “read” the orientation and the placing of the scanned text?

    • This sounds more like a job for other tools – prepare the scanned pages before placing them. Even Acrobat has integrated tools for this (don’t know how good they actually are). Otherwise, Photoshop would be an option – not fully automatic workflow though.

  31. The latest update to InDesign CC 2015 (released Feb 2016) seems to have broken this script for me. No errors, it just locks up when I select any file to import (the scripts option window doesn’t ever open after the file is selected). Just me, or can anyone else confirm?

      • Should have mentioned, I’m on 11.2.0.100 (Windows 7 Pro 64). It could be something on my system – but I wanted to see if anyone else had the problem with the latest update. I’ve done the usual troubleshooting steps and tried a few different files. Next I guess I’ll uninstall and reinstall.

      • Just noticed a typo on my side: I’m on 11.2.0.100 as well.
        Do you have a pdf that’s known to have worked before?
        Sounds like there are issues when trying to open the PDF.

      • Uninstall/Reinstall fixed it. I had tried known good PDFs and they weren’t working either – but thanks for the quick responses. All good now.

  32. I’m wondering if there is a modification to the script available that I could use on single pdf’s instead of multi-page pdf’s?
    I receive 96 pdf’s that I have to manually place in indesign, page by page, then export out as a printer specific pdf with page numbers. The current script worked beautifully if I took all hundred pgs and created 1 pdf. But I really would like to avoid that step and just grab all the individual pdf’s and run the script, saving a ton of time. Is there anything that would do that? Thanks so much

  33. Both the default sample script and Zanelli’s script work fine for importing multi-page PDF’s into InDesign CC2015. But how can I automatically resize the imported pages?

    Currently, they import and the full size of my letter size page. But I would like to resize the PDF to 7 1/2 x 9, centered in the page, so that my documents header and footer can be seen clearly.

    I would also like to proportionally fit the PDF, with the top 1/2 in margin and bottom 1 in footer (of the imported PDF) cropped out. I think I can do this with an Object Style, which seems to be created when importing the PDF.

    • Thanks for the recommendation Maryse. I am probably not using the script correctly though as unfortunately it does not appear to be what I am looking for.

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