Monday, September 15, 2008

Packaging multiple files at once

Tom wrote and asked:

"You know how when packaging in InDesign, each package comes in its own folder? What if I have 25 versions of a project, all using same elements. Is there a way to package them into one folder, so that the links end up all in one folder for all documents? Or do I have to just merge the Links folders?"

InDesign's Package feature (File > Package) is invaluable for moving a copy of an InDesign file and all of its placed and linked graphics into a single folder. But when you find yourself in the situation that Tom describes, you'll want to take advantage of this little trick:

1. Choose File > New > Book, and give the new temporary Book file you've created a name and location.

2. An empty Book panel will appear on your screen. Drag each of the InDesign files that you want to package into the book panel to add them to the Book file list.

3. Make sure that none of the InDesign files in the Book list are selected, and then choose Package Book for Print from the Book panel menu. InDesign will create a new folder, create a copy of each of the InDesign files in this folder, and then create one Links folder. All the graphics from all the InDesign files will go in this common Links folder.

NOTE: If two of the InDesign files use a graphic with the same name but from different original folders, the graphics will be dynamically renamed and relinked by having a numeral appended to the end of the filename. If two InDesign files use the same graphic from the same original location, the graphic will only be copied to the new Links folder once. This is exactly the behavior that I'd expect.


Anne-Marie said...

Cool tip Keith!

If you're just using the Books panel for packaging ... and you don't want to change anything in the docs themselves ... remember to turn off Automatically Renumber Pages and Section in the Book panel menu (Book Page Numbering options) before you bring in the ID docs. It's on by default.

I've been bitten by that one before!

Keith Gilbert said...

Good point, Anne-Marie. Thanks!

Just to clarify, what Anne-Marie is referring to is the "Book Page Numbering Options" choice found in the Books panel menu. In the dialog box that appears, deselect the "Automatically Update Page & Section Numbers" option.

Rekanize said...

It's funny that I found this post today, because I'm trying to research a problem with InDesign CS4 where packaging a book file is yielding the exact OPPOSITE result when collecting the links into a central folder.

If there are two different images with the same name in different folders, InDesign is creating two copies of ONLY ONE of the images, and linking one to each page.

Result? there's a repeat image in the new book, and one of the images disappears into the ether.

THEN, if there's a single image linked to multiple pages (like a single background image) I'm getting multiple copies of the file in the links folder, each appended with a unique sequential numeral, severely bloating my total project size.

I was hoping there was a setting in the preferences that I might have overlooked...

I'm using OSX CS4 Design Premium

Keith Gilbert said...

@Rekanize, I don't understand why it might be behaving as you're describing, and unfortunately I don't have time to do any more testing of this at the moment. But I can tell you that there aren't any preference settings that affect the behavior of linked files in this situation.

DJ said...

Great writeup. Just want you to know people (like me) are still getting value out of it.


stevehall52 said...

2 Questions:
Have there been any improvements since your original posting?
Can you include a book within a book to create multiple documents with single destination links?

It's a great tip. A real timesaver


Keith Gilbert said...

@stevehall52: No, there haven't been any changes to the book panel since I wrote this post 6 years ago. And no, there is no way to include a book within a book.