Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Create contact sheets in InDesign

I've written an article for the June/July 2007 issue of InDesign Magazine about how to use the Tools > Create InDesign Contact Sheet command in Adobe Bridge to create contact sheets.

First of all, if you are serious about becoming a "Jedi Master" of InDesign, you should subscribe to InDesign Magazine. (Enter the discount code "BACKPAGE" to subscribe for $39 (1-year) or $69 (2-years). Each issue packs in an unbelievable amount of InDesign-specific information.

The Create InDesign Contact Sheet command is a great way to automate contact sheet, photo album, catalog and coffee-table book production with either InDesign CS2 or CS3. Since the Create InDesign Contact Sheet "command" is really a Bridge script, its features are largely undocumented. That is where my article is useful.

The Create InDesign Contact Sheet command also contains numerous bugs and doesn't quite work as expected. For this reason, I rolled up my sleeves and dug into the JavaScript code, and produced a much-more-useful version of the script for InDesign and Bridge CS3, as well as some other helpful scripts and templates for both CS2 and CS3. Again, all the background information you need for using these scripts and templates is in the InDesign Magazine article. However, if you want just the scripts and templates, you can download them here (906k zip file).

You can also read more about this at InDesign Secrets.


Nathan said...

Thanks for sharing your template, scripts and expertise. On Windows 2000, CS2, I'm getting the following error from Bridge after installing the modified Contact Sheet script: Error in Line 2237: ReferenceError: WasLib is undefined.

Digital Awakening Studios

Keith Gilbert said...

Nathan, the modified "Create InDesign Contact Sheet" script only works with InDesign and Bridge CS3, not CS2.

The CS2 and CS3 scripts are quite different, so it would be another big effort to modify the CS2 script. Also, the legal verbage in the header of Adobe's script is different in CS2 and CS3, and it is unclear if one is allowed to modify and redistribute a CS2 version of the script.

For these reasons I decided to only undertake improving the script for CS3. The other scripts in the downloadable zip file, in the "Cleanup Contact Sheet Scripts" folder, will work in either CS2 or CS3.

This is explained more fully in the InDesign Magazine article.

Jean-Claude Tremblay said...


Thanks for the reviseda nd fixed version for Bridge CS3.

Their is one thing that we really hate with the CS3 version. It’s the gray frame option. Even if we uncheck it, a frame around the image is created. That means that all our calculation are wrong if we want a real precise width & Height.

Do you know a way to fix that?

Keith Gilbert said...

Jean-Claude, I'm sure I could modify the Script to not include the extra frame, but I just haven't had the time to try it. Without modifying the script, I'm afraid you are stuck with the extra frames. Keep in mind that my "Delete Empty Frames" script will remove the extra frames after the contact sheet is created. This doesn't exactly address your problem I realize, because the spacing is still off to accomodate the extra frame.

Jean-Claude Tremblay said...

Keith... Thanks for the reply. I have printed the script itself and will try to figure out how to do it. Thanks for what you have already done withthe script.

John Simoudis said...

Hey there Keith:

I'd like to script but I'm afraid I'm getting the same error as Nathan. I have Bridge CS3 and InDesign CS3 but it doesn't seem to want to load. I followed you instructions and I could n't fins the Workflow Automation folder. Does that mean that the script won't work.


Keith Gilbert said...

John, do you have the entire Creative Suite 3 Design Standard or Design Premium, or just the InDesign CS3 "point product"? As I mention in the InDesign Magazine Article, the workflow automation scripts are only installed and available in Bridge if you have the Suite, not with the point products.

Jason said...

I'm trying to make a contact sheet of InDesign snip-its. Bridge will show me thumbnails of the snip-its, but when I select them and choose the create contact sheet in InDesign command, it tells me that no files selected are the correct type. Any way to fix this?

Keith Gilbert said...

Jason, the script would need to be modified significantly to work with .inds (InDesign Snippet) files. Snippet files cannot be "placed" in a frame, they appear on the page as a collection of InDesign objects. So the script doesn't know what to do with them.

Instructions on how to make the script create a contact sheet of InDesign files can be found here: http://blogs.adobe.com/scratchdisk/2007/05/customized_inde.html

papacito said...

the script is not working with bridge CS3, it is showing the following error : ContactSheet.captionSyntax = new WasLib.Hashtable( true ) WasLib is undefined.

please advise.

Anonymous said...

thanx... very helpfull