Down Save InDesign File: Open CS6 File in CS3 with Markzware

Down Save InDesign File
to Lower Versions of Creative Suite (CS)

Need to down save an InDesign CS6 graphic design file for use in CS3? Can you use InDesign CS6 files in CS4? Markzware has an InDesign Down-Save File Conversion Service. If you have various copies of older InDesign CS on your computer, you can maybe do it too. Watch this “How to Down Save InDesign File” video to learn the steps to save INDD files in a lower version of InDesign CS:

How to Down Save InDesign File

Markzware shows how to down save InDesign file to lower InDesign CS version
(video created in Adobe Illustrator, Adobe After Effects and Apple iMovie)

Down Save InDesign File
Hi, everybody! David Dilling from Markzware. Today’s quick tip is “How to Down Save Adobe InDesign Files”. Well, in effect, how do you open and work with InDesign files in different versions? Can I open a CS3 InDesign file in CS6? Can I down save a CS5 file to CS3? These are all questions we get pretty much daily here at Markzware. We deal with customers using, believe or not, even as low as InDesign CS2, still, right on up, of course, to many using InDesign CS6. Thus, down saving InDesign files is often discussed.

Here, we have a suite of various InDesign files and a PDF made from a CS3 file we’ll get to in a moment. These were all native files created within CS… (I should switch these around.) within CS6, here, which I have on this machine, CS5, which I have on our other machine, and CS3, which I have yet on another machine. How to down save InDesign can be tricky!

So, on this modern machine, we have only CS6, so, the file appears to be a modern file, when, in fact, it is an older version. Well, can we just take the word of the file name that it’s CS3, or CS6? Opening a CS3 file in CS6 can cause unwanted shifting, if the designer used custom plug-ins or an XTension in Quark.

Markzware’s Q2ID converted this into InDesign CS3 at the time, and now they want to bring it to CS6. You have to be careful for reflow. And are the correct fonts used, and all that? So, what we use to see which version these files are, because we have to be sure, and the file name does not usually say which file version it is. This I added myself. It just has “.indd“.

And what we use is… We’ll just drop this file on FlightCheck. You’ll notice I have FlightCheck in my Dock between InDesign CS6 and QuarkXPress 9. I kind of do that on purpose.

Alright. So, FlightCheck is easy. It’s a way to see real basic information to real detailed preflight information, and it can also package files. In this case, we just want to see which version of… You see FlightCheck loading the fonts database. And back in FlightCheck, we’ll see the results and what we see is version 5.03. The modern version is v7. So, this tells us this is a CS3 file. It tells us our application loaded on this machine is CS6.

So, you see right away that this is, indeed, a CS3 file. And we see there are other potential issues. The fonts are missing on this machine and so is the image, which I’ve created on an older machine. So, that’s how you can use FlightCheck. You can preflight to check for missing fonts and images, as well as collect files and see just which version it is.

So, now we can drop… that was version 5. We can drop the modern CS6 file on FlightCheck. (FlightCheck eagle screeches) You get a couple preflight warnings, and we see here the version is 8.0. So, CS6 is the v8.0 and CS3 is 5.whatever that was now. So, you see how confusing it can be just in the technicalities of the versioning.

Now, that’s what happens when you have software around for years and years. Desktop publishing (DTP) has been around for 27-28 years now, and we have a nice post on that on our web page with historical timeline. All this introduced the first layout application way back when, I think it was 1985, offhand. Here we are today in 2012.

So, PageMaker, InDesign, Quark have been around a while. Quark and InDesign have been the defacto standards in publishing. Many file formats are floating around. With InDesign alone, a huge number of files date back to CS3, or even CS2, or even maybe some odd CS1 files, We’ll just call it InDesign.

How can we down save a CS6 file to work in CS3? Because we’re going to show you in a moment on the old machine how that works, or how that doesn’t work “out of the box”. So, what’s interesting is now you can… and now let’s pop open InDesign. You can take a CS3 file, drop it on InDesign, open up InDesign CS6 here on my modern MacBook Pro. You can open a CS3 file. What we just showed was a version 5 InDesign file, in InDesign CS6, or version 8 file, we can now save this as.

So, I can up save, but how do I down save? Well, let’s go over to the other machine first and see if we can open this CS6 file here and open that in CS3. It should be just as easy, right? We can open CS3 in CS6. Why can’t we open CS6 in CS3? So, let’s go check that out. Down save InDesign; more like an up Save!

Okay, so here we are on another machine with InDesign CS3. I have CS5 here, but just to show you in native CS3, itself, if we try to open up a CS6 file, here’s the message that we’ll get: “Missing Plug-ins”. “Conditional Text.InDesignPlugin” “SharedContent.InDesignPlugin” “WorldReady.InDesignPlugin”. These are all plugins used in the most current version of InDesign, they’re required to open this CS6 file. We don’t have those plugins for CS3. Can we down save InDesign files like this? They’re just not available. (laughs)

Adobe does not provide those. It’s obvious Adobe doesn’t want people to interchange higher documents or versions with lower. Otherwise, it would slow down the update or the upgrade process. Fair enough, on one hand. On the other, yeah, people need to use and work in workflows with various file format versions from CS6 to CS2. And why not? It’s your content. It’s content that you or your customers want to use. You can democratize it, and that’s what Markzware is all about is democratizing content. We’ll show you in a moment how we can help you, with a service to down save these files, but, also, we have many tools to help you convert files.

A lot of people come in with this message and send us bad files. The file is corrupt. They’re trying to use our “bad file” recovery service for InDesign or Illustrator. It’s a a wonderful service to fix bad files. It works 70-80% of the time, maybe more like 75% of the time, and you get back a file when you have an error code. If you get an Error Code 5, or InDesign is crashing all the time when you open a particular document… Error Code 4, Error Code 3, these sorts of things are bad files. There’s nothing you can do to fix that, apart from using our system.

There are some troubleshooting techniques that we showed in another video. A lot of people get this message here, the “Missing Plug-ins” message and think, “Well, my file’s corrupt. Can you fix it?” All you need to do is down save it. And that you can do with our service, or with yourself ,or with somebody who has various versions of Adobe InDesign.

Alright. So, that’s what happens when you try to open CS6 in CS3. What happens if we… ? And then you get this “Cannot open” file message with a whole bunch of things that just aren’t available in CS3. CS5, let’s try to open CS5 in CS3. A similar message. Only two plugins are missing: “Conditional Text” and “WorldReady”. But we cannot open it, and a host of other “Cannot open” file error messages. So, we can’t open any of these, and even CS4 will not open in native CS3. You need to make it IDML.

We just saw that we cannot take a CS6, a CS3 file and open it… Sorry, we just cannot take a CS6 file and open it right up in CS3. We have to take a couple steps, and those steps start here by opening a file. Let’s take this native CS6 file. You just saw that you’d figure it could, but it can’t. What you need to do is go up top in InDesign and do something with your file and then do an “Export”. So, File > Export. And then you have your PDF (Print), and, you know, a JPEG, whatever you might want to export as, but now you want to choose “IDML”. You export that IDML, and now let’s go check that out.

Down Save InDesign File Infographic (Adobe Creative Suite version Chart from video):
Down Save InDesign Files (.INDD) File Format

And now you get this IDML file here, this CS6 file, so, you think that would just open right up in CS3. Well, it’s not that easy, either. You need to go to CS5 or CS5.5 and talk to them; and then talk to, let’s not forget, CS4 over here, and then we can talk and finally get this into CS3. So, let’s show you a little bit about how that works.

Well, will the IDML open in CS3? Let’s go down and drop it on CS3. No. “Cannot open the file ‘Indesign-CS6-test.idml’.” The InDesign, you know, the exchange format that they have. “Adobe InDesign may not support the file format, a plug-in that supports” is missing. A similar message, different, you know, prettier, screen or interface.

So, what we need to do to open that CS6 file, which is now down saved as a “.idml”, which will open in CS5. Let me show you that here real quick. Let’s launch Adobe InDesign CS5 and see if that helps us get this InDesign CS6 file into CS3. OK, so here’s CS5. We also have the Markzware menu item up there, not needed in this case, but there are our products. Show those off, of course. Right. So, now, let’s go down here. Still starting up.

Yeah, the older the machine, the slower the software; or is it the older the software, the slower the machine. I don’t know. In any event, a combination of both. Let’s go down here now and take that IDML file on CS5. So, CS6 exported as .idml, and it’s going right to CS5, right down to CS5. Will it open? I hear a lot of churning of my RAM. (computer beeps) Look at that. That’s a better sign.

Well, yeah, we get some preflight, preliminary information here. Right there, we have the file. I just need to have the fonts, which I do have the fonts, I just need to get the image. But now we can open up this file. If we had the image, it would show up, and that’s… that’s pretty cool. So, CS6, I can skip over CS5.5 and go right to CS5, by exporting in CS6 via File > Export, which is similar in CS5 to .idml, so CS6 .idml. And we could do the same in CS5. We could export as a .idml.

So, now we’re going to do an “Untitled”. Lost its file name. And we’re going to export that and see if that helps us get into CS3. From CS6 now to CS5. So, you would think, “If you can skip over CS5.5, you should be able to go from CS5, skipping CS4, right to CS3, right? Will that down save?Well, the tension is mounting here.

Let’s now get out of CS5. Let’s first get that .idml file here and put it in here. Alright. So, there it is. There’s the .idml file. Now, I’m going to drag and drop that onto CS3. Well, look at that. Cannot open. So, how do we get a CS6 file, now exported as a CS5, as a .idml, how do we get a .idml file opened in CS3? Well, you need CS4. There, you’d open the file, do a File > Export, but there, you export as a “.inx”, and the .inx will then open in CS3. So, the law of every other version being able to down save doesn’t work. The lower you go, the more specific the down saving is. And the “.idml” switches in CS4 to “.inx” interchange format, which is different. So that is, in a nutshell, how it works, how you can get CS6 into CS3. You need two or more versions of InDesign.

Now, we also have Markzware’s conversion tools, which can help in this aim. How? I’ll show you. Alright, so we’re going to save out this file, also. We also, apart from exporting it, “Save As”. Just let me show you another technique. CS5 file. And we save that out like this. Now, we’re in QuarkXPress 8, and this is our little shortcut, if you don’t have CS4, but you have Quark 8, or even Quark 7, ID2Q from Markzware.

You can go “Convert InDesign Document”. Then you can select the document, we just saved to our desktop. You want to open that CS6 file that IDML exported. Open in CS5, saved out again. Now, we can open it in Quark 8, do a full conversion with all stylization, positioning, everything included. In this case, it’s a small file, not a big deal.

And what you see is we get the file now in Quark, not handy if you’re in Quark, but our goal here is CS3. Now, we do a “File”. And not just a normal “Save As”, but an  Export > Layout As Project. And then we can down save the Quark file, (laughs) yeah, I know, even further, down to version 7. Save that out to the desktop.

We can also use our tool, under Markzware > MarkzTools for Quark 8, which will allow you to down save to version 4 or even version 6. So, I’ll show you how that works real quick. If we down save to version 4, then we’re sure that will open up .qxd in CS3 with our other tools. Alright. So, there we have it.

Let’s get out of Quark and let’s get into CS3. And we’re back into CS3 here, and what you see… Just to let you see, it’s CS3. We can now go Markzware > Q2ID > Convert QuarkXPress Document and we can choose between that exported file… We can choose between the file from MarkzTools we down saved or the file we exported here. We hit “Open” and there you have it.

Now, we have that file that started in CS6 now in CS3. Now, of course, we should have added that image back in way long ago, but you see here how… yeah, what a process that is. So, you can lose a lot along the way. So, you can better have everything updated, but you can open a CS6 file in CS3. You just need to export IDML along the way. Then, at a certain point in CS4, export .inx. Then you can open in CS3; or you can use that in combination with some Markzware tools and get it open, as well.

Now, what I want to also show you is: let’s suppose we don’t have any… any of this, no “.indd”, no “.idml”. We have nothing left, but only this: a PDF, and it doesn’t matter what type of PDF it is. In this case, we know someone created it from that CS3 file. And PDF is great for viewing and getting a quick idea of what’s in the file, for information’s sake. But for reusing, for repurposing, a PDF is, you know, not, you know, it’s not as bad as having nothing. You at least have a visual of what you want to re-create or re-design.

You can’t just open this up in InDesign. You can place it, but you can’t open it as a native layered file, and, particularly, if we’re talking about a multi-page file. That’s a real issue. That’s why Markzware, as we showed you earlier with the CS6 document here over Michael Jahn… And I’ll put a link to the other video where he had some great comments, along with many others, as well.

By the way, there’s a lot of praise coming for this new product from Markzware, PDF2DTP. And how that works… We’ll close this InDesign file. Up top in InDesign, CS6, CS5, or CS5.5, you can choose Markzware’s PDF2DTP and Convert PDF. Now, if we go in onto the desktop there, and choose that PDF file, what will happen is it’ll convert over. Look at that. Now, we have, not just a visual, like we have in Preview on the Mac, or Acrobat on the PC… What we have now is an actual file with… And I don’t have the font here, so, I need to make this a little bit bigger… with stylization, colors, size, and all the images. In this case, it’s a simple document, but you see it’s exactly, more or less, like it was in the original file and in the PDF.

So, this is a great tool, Markzware’s PDF2DTP, to also play into this picture. Because, sometimes, when you need to down save from CS6 to CS3, or from CS5 to CS4, you don’t have anything left but a PDF. What do you do then? Search around for your native file. But if you can’t find it, Markzware’s PDF2DTP is a great alternative. It allows you to edit PDFs in InDesign… Or to open that PDF and create it back into a layout that you can use in your familiar desktop publishing environment.

Alright. This has been David from Markzware on how you can down save and use Adobe InDesign content in various ways, shapes and forms. You don’t always need to have the latest version, because Markzware also has a file conversion service. Now, the problem is not everybody has all these versions of InDesign: CS6, CS5, CS4, CS3, CS2, whatever it might be. We at Markzware, here, we do.

So, we offer you a service to down save InDesign file or files for you. You can always check with colleagues. See if they have older versions of InDesign, if they can take a file and export a “.inx” for you… Or export a “.idml” from a certain higher version, so you can open it in a lower version. That is all you have to do, in most cases.

Sometimes, you need to do some advanced down saving. A lot of times, we’re using Quark in the middle, to help this need of getting older files in the newer versions, or newer versions. More often, the case is newer versions into older versions. So, the advice is to get on the latest version, but that often requires being on the latest Macintosh or Windows operating system. It means a new machine. And in these rougher economic times, someimes, that’s not always possible. We understand that. That’s why we have this affordable down saving / file conversion service at 19 dollars, or 19 Euros, per file. And we will down save it for you, as long as it’s under 125MB.

Love our little Markzware logo there. Good job. Right. How to down save InDesign file, how to use many versions of InDesign file formats within your workflow. I hope this has been helpful. We’re always here. Please feel free to always contact us. If you need more information, we’re here to help you. Just visit Markzware and you get all our details, form, and all our details in Europe and the USA. So, we’re pretty much 24 hours a day available, more or less. And when it comes to fixing bad files and doing conversions, we even will sometimes do that on the weekend, as well. We know your time is valuable.

Once again, David Dilling from Markzware, wishing you a fantastic day! Check out our other conversion tools: PDF to InDesign… Or PageZephyr for searching and indexing your desktop publishing formats… And, of course, our popular Pub2ID or Q2ID for QuarkXPress to InDesign… And even ID2Q InDesign to QuarkXPress, also doing quite well, for there are still many QuarkXPress users out there. Have a fantastic day and a happy holiday season!

Down Save InDesign File with Markzware!


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