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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 from GitHub.

Older Versions of MultiPageImporter

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

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  • - November 30, -0001
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270 Comments on “Zanelli Releases MultiPageImporter for Importing both PDF and INDD Files

  1. Hi Guys

    I’m getting Error 55 in Indy CC 2104, but same script runs in all earlier versions of Indy…any ideas?

    I’m certain I’m using the latest version – I’ve used this fantastic script ever since CS3 and am dismayed that it seems broken with CC14 (iMac running Yosemite)


    • It normally works fine in both CC 2014 and 2015 (PC) so I strongly assume this must be another issue. Is there any detailed error message? Error 55 is rather cryptic.

  2. Thanks for the prompt response Mike

    I get a dialogue that relates to line 124 in the script …Object does not support the property or method ‘cropContent’

    This applies to any flavour or size of PDF – all of which worked fine in previous versions of IIndy.

  3. Error 55 to line 124 reads, Object does not support the property or method ‘cropContent’ … this applies to Pdfx1a PDF4x …they all work fine in the previous version of CC

    Any ideas appreciated

    • Really sounds like an issue with the placed pdf files.
      For PDF-x1a this might be due to the 1a (=archive) part – those are normally not meant to be changed. Maybe InDesign respects that setting in 2015.

      As for PDF x4 I’m not even sure as to the level this is supported in Indesign.

      Did you cross-check with a simple PDF you generated yourself?

  4. All our PDFs are generated direct from Indy in-house and before CC2014 all worked fine.

    Just tried a straight HQ PDF and Press Quality with and without crops/reg marks/bleeds I don’t get further than the error dialogue.

  5. Looking at the script at Line 124 this appears to be a parsing module – checking for TrimBox, BleedBox etc within the PDF to be imported…we always export our PDFs with bleeds all round and crops etc so I’m guessing that Adobe has rewritten some parameter that is addressed by the script resulting in an Error 55?

    Doesn’t explain why some CC2014 users in this thread are fine whilst others are not.

  6. Sorted! I have 3 versions of this script and automatically used the latest version which doesn’t seem to work on 2014CC…so I tried the CS5 version and bingo!

    So for those who are having the same issue try the version named … MultiPageImporter2.5-CS5.jsx

  7. Hello there,
    I’m under Indesign CS6. I’ve a made an indesign document called Master_file.ind composed of 50 pages. Each page contains 5 empty image blocs.
    I want to load a bunch of .indd files in these 5 blocs in each page until all is done.
    Do you know if there’s a script for that ?

    Help welcome !

  8. Thanks! This will save me hours of time. I need to place 125 8.5×11 PDF pages into InDesign at 5.5×8.5 and have them scaled at the same time. I have tested it with a seven page sample at it worked perfectly.

    Thanks for creating this script.

  9. Works brilliantly in CS6. Thanks to you and Scott! People should note, though—I had to rename a PDF file so that the file extension was all lowercase (.pdf, not .PDF) or else the script wouldn’t recognize it as a legitimate file to import.


  10. Worked great until today, now it will not let me set an end page higher than 100, and I also can not specify a start page above 100. I’ve reinstalled the script and it’s still doing the same thing. Any ideas? This is a huge hit to my imposition workflow.

      • Nevermind, my .pdfs were corrupted in a way that messed up the page count, though oddly enough viewed normally.

      • Sounds like a classic. ;)
        I usually recommend to test with a known-good file if things behave odd. In my experience the issue is usually with the pdf and not with the script – it has been running remarkably stable for years.

  11. Shaking my head… Indeed. My bad in not trying another file! This script is indeed a miracle that has treated me well for years :)

  12. Hi folks,

    Is it also possible to import cross-references and hyperlinks (linking to another page of the document) into another INDD document, so that they are still ‘clickable’? I tried importing both an interactive PDF file as an INDD file, but in both cases it seems to be imported as an image and the interactive hyperlinks no longer seem to work.



  13. The script basically automates what you would do manually using file->place.
    As such, it places the ID/PDF as a graphic – you lose any additional features inside.

    Depending on your project you could copy pages from one ID document to the other though.
    (Just in case you don’t know – it’s possible to do so:

    This won’t allow you to scale and/or offset the copied pages though.



    • Thanks Mike,

      Thing is, I used this script as a trick to create a document that is Left-To-Right from one side, (English, pp 1-49) en RTL from the other side (Arabic, pp 87-1). The book then opens at page 1 as a left-bound book on the “English” side, and also at page 1 as a right-bound book on the “Arabic” side, with the endings towards each other somewhere in the middle of the book. I could not get this figured out with copying ID pages so far, would you know of a way?



  14. I don’t know why, when I download one of the extensions I get a jsx file, which only opens with AE; if I try to install with the extension manager directly in ID, the file is unreadable. What can i do to install it for ID?

  15. Love this script. Use it a lot for placing PDFs.

    For a new project, I need to know — is there a way to place pages only on the right-hand pages, rather than on running pages?


  16. You’re a genius. I was starting to panic because I have an 58 pages document to hand in a few days and I’ve just been told it’s supposed to be in A5, not A4.
    You saved my life, man. Thank you ever so much.

  17. Is anyone else experiencing the same issue i am? Ever since I downloaded this script I’m having issues with the files I place in indesign. If i have a file that is 8.75×11.25, which in includes .125 bleed all around, when placed in the indesign it comes in at 8.5×11. I make sure the bleed is open in the original PDF before placing but it still comes in at 8.5×11, without the bleed. If its not the script, can anyone suggest what this could be?

    -Thank you!

  18. Great script. Awesome work from the developer.

    It would suite my application more if it had the option of creating new pages for each pdf page. Also if these new pages could be identical to a specific page in the document.

    Can this be implemented?


    • Hi Boniface,
      either I or you must be missing something: this is exactly what the script does as of now. If I set up a document with a single page and then import a multi-page pdf it will create additional pages based on the document I set up.

      Please explain if you meant something else.

      fyi: unless I am mistaken there is no active developer taking care of this script. I made a small fix a year ago and released it on GitHub for further development. That said, I don’t plan to add functionality unless my colleagues or I need it (too little time).
      Download link:

      • Hi Mike,

        Thanks for your quick response. I have tried it out again.

        You are right when you say “If I set up a document with a single page and then import a multi-page pdf it will create additional pages based on the document I set up.”
        My problem is: i have existing pages on indesign. I need new pages to be added automatically in the middle of the document. say i have an indesign document with 3 pages and objects already inserted. i need to add a pdf file with 4 pages in the middle of page 2 and 3 of my indesign document. What was my page 3 initially should now be page 7 and the new pages should apper as pages 3,4,5 & 6.

        What is happening when i run the script is that The new page 1 of the pdf appears as an object on top of the objects that were initially on page 3. The rest of the pages are added automatically as new pages 4, 5 & 6.

        I hope this is clear now.

        Kindly advise if this script can do what i just described

        Thanks again

  19. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for your quick response. I have tried it out again.

    You are right when you say “If I set up a document with a single page and then import a multi-page pdf it will create additional pages based on the document I set up.”

    My problem is: i have existing pages on indesign. I need new pages to be added automatically in the middle of the document. say i have an indesign document with 3 pages and objects already inserted. i need to add a pdf file with 4 pages in the middle of page 2 and 3 of my indesign document. What was my page 3 initially should now be page 7 and the new pages should apper as pages 3,4,5 & 6.

    What is happening when i run the script is that The new page 1 of the pdf appears as an object on top of the objects that were initially on page 3. The rest of the pages are added automatically as new pages 4, 5 & 6.

    I hope this is clear now.

    Thanks again.

    • Ah, I see.
      Implementing this correctly would get pretty complex. Would also require adding some sort of ui for selecting where to insert.

      I would normally suggest to manually move the respective existing pages (or the inserted ones – whatever is less) as a workaround. You can do that for a selection of pages so it should not be too bad.

      • Would like to add to Mike’s comment that this is exactly what I do. I regularly need to import huge PDFs (over 100 pages) into the middle of a 4-page template. I insert them at the end, and then move the pages around. It’s really not a big deal, and well worth it for the convenience of the script as-is. (Thanks, Mike!)
        — Dena

      • Mike,

        I’ve been doing this manually like you suggest. It would work a lot better for me and save me a ton of time if every PDF page was inserted into a new InDesign page.


      • Mike,

        Can you offer your support for modifying the code? I can get someone conversant with javascript to contact you for support.


    • Hi Boniface – just for clarification:
      I am not the maintainer/owner of the script. I have added some minor fixes in the past and implemented a (rather simple) feature as a quick hack to fix a need we had over here.

      But I can’t really add functionality unless one of my own use cases warrants the significant time invest. While I see the point you are making none of my colleagues use the script in this way – so for now I can’t offer any support on this except sharing my latest version here:

  20. Great Script! Hoping it works with CC 2018!

    Is there a way to UPDATE multiple page PDF links that may have changed number of pages AFTER you place them? I am placing a large number of financial reports that get updated on a regular basis. Right now, I manually go through and check for duplicate PDF page numbers in the links panel (if a multi-page PDF has shrunk) AND check each page to make sure that a total line is listed. Very time consuming on a 500 page document.


    • We use it in a similar environment (many document structure changes) and the only workaround I have is always placing the pdf into a new layer. That way you can delete the layer and the pages and re-run the script. Quicker than manually fixing the links.

      All the options I know for updating pdf links would also open the regular place options so they don’t save time here.

  21. I used it on my Mac for several years to convert A4 files to lettersize, since we work closely with a European company. I just switched to a PC and upgraded to CS6 for the first time, and was amazed that the same cs5 script worked on both. Saves me weeks of work on every catalog, since I used it on hundreds of pages every year.

  22. @Dave Blatner: can you please add the following download link in the article?

    I uploaded my modifications to GitHub some time ago and even got a submission by another developer/ID user. I just and published those changes as version 2.6.1.

    Would love if GitHub becomes the new home of the script and I will submit any future changes there. This article is probably still the top search result for it so it makes sense to re-direct from here.

  23. Works friggin great. I love the fact you can scale the PDF to fit to page.
    I make the indesign file the size I want it and import away.
    this script rocks.. GRASIAS much. you’re a rockstar

  24. Thank you for the scripts! They are so great!

    I want to make heavy use of them, so I know that you have some comments you can skip 2 pages,
    and would you tell me how to skip 4 pages, please?

    • That won’t work without further code changes. Unfortunately, I lack the time for that right now. Will need to consider it in more detail (including adding a respective entry in the interface) but that will take time.
      Sorry there is no easy way for this,

  25. What if you have pages within your InDesign doc that are named 1-1 or 2-1, etc? It will not let me import the pdf starting on those labeled pages that include dashes.

    • I was playing around a little bit and if I had a section, say section 2, and that technically started on page 4 even though it says 2-1 (and then page 5 would be 2-2). I inserted a pdf on page 4 and it worked even though in the Pages panel it reads 2-1.. hope that makes sense!

  26. Just downloaded this as an ultimate lifesaver in converting eight separate 400-page PowerPoint slides into handouts and creating press-ready print files in InDesign for binding. Works flawlessly on the first try with my Mac 10.13.6 running CC 2018. Thank you!

  27. Trying to read through all these comments but have given up. Please help!

    I am wanting to create a 174 page document using this script but I get the error message the ‘end’ page number must be 1 or less.’

    Is there problem with the way the page file names are setup (due to printer)?:
    mmedialuxury1118p001 then > mmedialuxury1118p002 and so on.

    Otherwise does anyone know the reason?

  28. Would someone be able to edit the script to accept multi-artboard Illustrator Files? Added bonus would be to be able to select multiple files for import at once!

    Thanks so much for everything thus far… huge time saver!! 

    • Good point but full AI support probably takes a lot of work.
      The good news is that basic support is already there provided you save your AI file with PDF compatibility (“Create PDF Compatible File” in the save options).
      You just need to rename the file to PDF. In my quick test it works fine including placing multiple artboards as individual pages

      • is it possible to just change the script to allow *.ai files with PDF compatibility as an input option without rebuilding the script for full ai support? I have a team of 30 designers and changing the extension would likely cause too many headaches.

      • Hey Aaron,

        I just tried to add .ai to the file list but there are multiple places in the script that look up document properties depending on the file type. So it’s not trivial to add it – need to fiddle with it to get it working. Can you maybe open an issue on GitHub so I can give you an update when I get to it?

      • Ah, got the last error – please feel free to nevertheless open the issue on GitHub for easier tracking.
        I published a new version with basic ai support here:

        I only did a basic test so please be careful and let me know on GitHub if you run into any issues. Should be good with pdf compatible ai files but I have no idea what happens on others. ;)
        Once we are sure it works as expected I will merge this into the main version.

      • Mike! Thank you so much!!! I will test this out with my team and let you know how it goes! Thanks again!

    • Mike,
      The select file dialogue window that comes up is still only allowing PDF or INDD files… the AI files are still greyed out (Indesign 2019 & 2018 on mac).

  29. Hello, thanks for this very useful script. It works great. But if and only if I comment out lines 86 to 94 AND set var usePrefs in line 49 to false. On the other hand, the script hangs. I also saw that there is no file named “MultiPageImporterPrefs2.5.txt”. That’s why I created this file as a “dummy” with empty content. This also causes the script to hang. But what is the cause for this malfunction?
    Thanks in advance
    Juergen Georg

    • Hi Juergen,

      thanks for the report – there should indeed be no need to comment any lines or to force the script not to use the preferences file (.txt).

      I have a slight suspicion that MacOS Mojave’s new strict file system permissions might be involved but that’s just a first guess. At least I don’t have any issues on Windows 10.

      Can you please share some more information on your system (Mac/Windows including OS version) and software (InDesign version, script version)? Preferably open a new issue on GitHub for easier tracking:



  30. Hi Mike,

    thank you so much for your nice answer. Let me try to make my problem more concrete. – I work in InDesign CS 6 on Windows 7.x64. I run the script directly with the toolkit CS6.

    Now I have noticed in a new test, that I can in fact omit my commenting above. But only if I press the start button again after the script in line 86 (prefsFile = File((Folder(app.activeScript)).parent + “/MultiPageImporterPrefs2.5.txt”);
    after the first execution. Now a window pops up and reports a runtime error and asks if I want to stop it. After entering “Yes” the script runs to end without problems.

    Contrary to my first claim, it doesn’t matter if ‘var usePrefs’ in line 49 is true or false.

    It is still noticeable that the file “MultiPageImporterPrefs2.5.txt” (which I created myself) remains empty.

    Translated with

    • Hi Jürgen,

      is there a specific reason why you run the script in the toolkit and not from within InDesign?

      If I’m not mistaken running the script from the toolkit is causing the config loading/writing issues you describe: the line 86 you quote looks for the configuration file in the folder where the active script is stored. This might execute differently in the toolkit – especially if you stored the file in a location that requires admin access for writing (basically everywhere outside your documents/user folders…)

      fyi: you typically would install and run scripts like this:

    • edit
      I don’t know what it was, maybe I should have made a restart, but now it seems to be going. PS.: Didn’t know that starting from toolkit may cause such problems. Thanks a lot, Mike

  31. In case anyone else has this problem, here is a fix for at least one of the errors that occur.

    One of my colleagues who was using one of my templates regularly has to import multiple pages of PDFs. It has been fine so far, but today she was getting an error ‘error string: the default engine ‘main’ cannot be deleted’, resulting in no PDFs being imported.

    It took me a while but I realised I could import the pages on a standard InDesign A4 page no problem so surmised there must have been a problem specifically related to the A4 template.

    One template has 8.5pt body text and the one that was generating the error had 10.5pt body text. Both versions of these stylesheets were aligned to the baseline grid.

    I managed to work out that in my Preferences for the 10.5pt template, I had adjusted the baseline grid to the Top Margin. When I changed this to Top of Page, which the 8.5pt template used, the PDFs imported no problem.

    Strange little error but was relieved to find a fix!

  32. Hi Mike, I have run into this problem and tried all the above processes I could. I am running on a Mac 10.14.3 using the latest InDesign 2019. When I run the script I get the dialog saying “Error: This value would cause one or more items to leave the pasteboard.”
    When I click past that I get a javascript error dialog for Error: 89867, Error String: The default engine “mina” cannot be deleted. The FIle points to the javascript located in my scripts folder. The line number is 582. The source is exit(-1).
    I have deleted the script file and the, .txt file reloaded the script a few times and it’s still not working. Can you help?

    • I think it’s the pdf version.
      I tried saving a word to pdf document with Microsoft word version 2019 and I get the error 89867, but, I uploaded it to my drive and converted it to pdf from there, I downloaded it and it worked great. I hope this comment helps.
      PDF from word
      Encoding: macOS Version
      Software: 10.14.5(Build 18F132) Quartz PDFContext
      PDF from drive
      Encoding: Skia/PDF m77

  33. To whoever designed this script and then added the every other page feature – thank you, thank you, thank you!!! You just save my butt. Trying to print a postcard mailing from command work station 5 using vdp and an image was being corrupted. Workaround was to create a 2172 page document with a static back for the even pages and variable front on the odd pages. Worked beautifully! In 2020!

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