Wednesday, July 28, 2010

IDML is the new INX

InDesign has always had the ability to export a file that can be opened in a version of InDesign one version back. In the past, this was achieved by choosing File > Export and choosing the "InDesign Interchange (INX)" format. The resulting INX file can then be opened by the next-oldest version of InDesign.

Starting with InDesign CS5, the INX format is gone, replaced by the "InDesign Markup (IDML) format. This format functions exactly like the previous INX format for opening in the previous version of InDesign.

The IDML format is also useful for resurrecting a damaged InDesign file, as I wrote about previously.

Why the change? The IDML format is a well-documented XML-based format that makes it possible for developers and scripters to automate InDesign document creation and modification, beyond what was possible with the old INX format.

20 comments:

Julie Oakley said...

Plus it means that all those people using CS3 will have to upgrade if they work with designers using CS5, so Adobe wins all round.

Anne said...

Keith and Julie, is this true that there is no workaround between CS3 and CS5? Presumably you can back trace from CS5 to CS4 to CS3 but really nothing if you don't have access to CS4?

Keith Gilbert said...

@Anne: Short of some sort of hack such as the one described at http://indesignsecrets.com/double-downsave.php there is no way to save directly from CS5 to CS3.

Surge said...

This is good to know. thanks for the info.

Sérgio St. Tavares said...

Hello Keith,

I'm having a big trouble here, cause I designed a whole magazine with CS5 and the editor has only CS4. I am sending them right now the IDML files I've exported - but to make sure he will be able to open them I'd like to send them a plugin download link that would assure that. Question is, where can I find it? I simply did not find it anywhere! Do you have any clue? Thanks a lot and congratulations on your blog, it really helped me out!
BR
Sergio

Keith Gilbert said...

@Sergio: I don't understand what kind of "plug-in" or link that you're looking for. Can you explain further?

Sara Korn said...

I am trying to convert down from CS5 to CS3. I exported the file to IDML format, had a friend open it in CS4 and export to an INX file.

But when I try to open the INX file in CS3 I get an error message saying "Cannot open the file. Adobe InDesign may not support the file format, a plug-in that supports the file format may be missing, or the file may be open in another application."

Do you know what plug-in I need to get and where I can find it?

Keith Gilbert said...

@Sara, you need to make sure you have the latest dot release of CS3 in order to open CS4-generated INX files. Be sure you have the latest InDesign updates from Adobe.com.

pharmgurhl said...

I've exported my file to an idml file for my editor (CS4 user) to view and make edits...however, we can't get the images to preview without having to send all the images/links and relink images on her laptop. Didn't have to do this before I upgraded to CS5. Do you know how to make images preview without having the links?

Keith Gilbert said...

@pharmgurhl: Unfortunately, the idml format doesn't include the screen preview information for the graphics. The only way I know of to include the data would be to embed the graphics in the ID file before exporting to IDML, but there are some serious downsides to doing this. In most workflows you're probably better off sending the linked graphics along with the idml file.

Philippe said...

How do I convert a IDML file into a INX file without using older versions of Indesign?

Amy said...

Ok, I saved an idml file and when the designer at the other end opens the file ALL of the styles have vanished from the document. Any idea how to retain those or can I export another file with those? HELP!

Stephen said...

I have saved a damaged InDesign CS5 file to an idml. But when I try to open the idml, I get an error message. It seems to be saying that I need some sort of plug-in. My software is all up to date. So what is the problem?
Please? Someone? Help?

Keith Gilbert said...

@Stephen, you might be able to edit the idml file with a text editor and locate the reference to the plugin, and carefully delete the line that is requesting it. Worth a try!

Protonic said...

Hi all. I read your interesting posts, and nobody here is pointing some batch saving from IDML to INDD. Is here any way to do it at a nice way?

Keith Gilbert said...

@Protonic: Try Peter Kahrel's excellent Batch convert/export documents script at http://bit.ly/AuisFK

Anonymous said...

Hi all. I have a new computer with Indesign CS6. My old pc has Indesign CS3, and I need some way to "upgrading?" the CS3 files to be able to use them in CS6. I copied the files across to the new pc and can open them, but can't access to change text etc. I have tried exporting as XML and as a INX. The XML file was 1kb (from CS3) and wouldn't open on CS6. The INX file looked more promising (file size) however I couldn't find where to import into CS6. Help.
Kind regard Sandra

Keith Gilbert said...

@anonymous: CS6 can open CS3 files directly. If they are not opening editable, some strange is going on. Try opening (not importing) the inx file directly in CS6.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Keith, appreciate your reply. I opened the inx file in CS6 and was able to view the file, and even print it, however not edit, so I will refer the matter on to an IT consultant. Thanks again. Sandra

Anonymous said...

Hi Keith, I thought I would provide a quick update as it may help someone with the similar query. I can now edit my Indesign CS3 files in CS6, by clicking the "Object" "Unlock on all spread". It appears all the spreads are now locked on the CS3 files. I also had problems accessing the window panels at the right hand side of the screen. This turned out to be a display setting issue in Windows 7. See "Control panel", "display". On my computer the setting needed is 1680x1050, and display either Smaller 100% default, or Medium 125%. I had it set at Large and the panels would not work. Sorry I didn't keep the links where I found these solutions, both found through googling the problem. Thanks to the person who set up this blog.