PDF to Illustrator to InDesign?
Print PDFs are often needed back in InDesign. Problem is, it is not always possible to find or have access to the native source files. Many think that a work-around is using Illustrator. Pry the PDF open in Adobe Illustrator (click here for free Illustrator CC trial), then copy and paste the layout content from there into Adobe InDesign (click here for free InDesign CC trial). That easy? No, not at all.
PDF to Illustrator to InDesign (how to open PDFs in Adobe InDesign)
Hi, everybody! David Dilling from Markzware. And, today, we have an excellent customer question with regards to our PDF2DTP plugin for InDesign, also available for Quark, by the way. In any event, her question was: Why do I need to have PDF2DTP when I can open a PDF in Illustrator, copy and paste a page, open InDesign, make a new document, make a new page, and paste it into InDesign?
Well, sounds easy, till you start realizing it’s a multi-page PDF. It’s a multi-page document, and furthermore, there’s a lot of information and data that’s actually lost, or transformed into a format you’d rather not have. Well, let me show you what I mean. And last, but not least, Illustrator will only import one art board or one page at a time of a multi-page PDF. So, let me show you what I mean, and you’ll see why Markzware’s PDF2DTP is the way to go, if you need to get layered and complete layout PDF files back into your desktop publishing environment, Adobe InDesign, in this case.
Alright, let’s check it out. I already knew that PDF2DTP would be better in this case, but you want to be sure, so I did a little research further, and what you see here in this thread, and the same applies in InDesign CS6, sorry, in Illustrator CS6 (and InDesign CS6) and in the most current CC version, as well. And you see here, that, hey, I’m looking for a plugin in that open multi-page PDF file, in a multi-page Illustrator file.
And if you read, there are all kinds of problems, and basically, what it comes down to, I need the objects in the PDF pages to be editable. If I use InDesign, then I won’t have to edit every page of the PDF in Illustrator, separately, page by page, like I just mentioned, much the same in doing it in Illustrator, one by one.
Now, Illustrator is a vector drawing program. You can use it to make various sorts of layouts. You certainly can, but InDesign is your layout application. That’s the layout application of choice by Adobe and by professionals, alike. It’s like QuarkXPress. It is a tool that will handle your typography better, your text and your fonts, your positioning, your layering. Everything can be better controlled via InDesign, for a multi-page layered document. So, let me show you what we mean.
Here we have some multi-page PDFs. I’ll open them up in Preview on the Mac, here. The same applies on Windows, of course. And this is from the local soccer club. And we’re very proud that, from our club, comes a professional Dutch player, Mike van Duinen. He plays for the ADO Den Haag team, the Hague. In any event, I’m digressing here. Well, you see here, we have a print PDF, registration marks, and we have a full PDF here, with graphics, typography, advertisements, obviously, placed images, and a relatively nice, complex, professional layout here, a little newspaper. With this in mind here, let’s go look at what the options are.
Okay, if we go into Adobe Illustrator and we try to open this file, in Illustrator CS6, in this case. I don’t know why I haven’t loaded Illustrator CC. I’m just familiar with this CS6, I guess. I’ll need to do that. In any event, the same applies. If we try to open this in Illustrator, or if we go File > Open, for clarity, and we choose the Oliveo Presentatie PDF, here, we just had open. Click Open. You get this option. Select a page from the PDF to open.
Now, it doesn’t matter if you do 2 of 8, or 3 of 8. It’s only going to open one page. Go here and say open that page, or, let’s say, open this page. It’s not going to open 3 to 8. It’s only going to open 3 of 8. It’s only going to open 4 of 8. It’s only going to open 5 of 8. So, it’s not going to open the entire document, page by page, unfortunately.
So, if we click OK, we get a host of warnings. PDF objects have been reinterpreted. Now, of course, missing fonts is just a big problem in this whole process, any way you cut it. But, in any event, what you get… and you see the missing fonts here. What you get is, well, wait a minute. Are they even fonts?
Look at that! You see, it’s cut up the text. So, you get various… You don’t get like a whole group of text here, like it should be. This should be a text story, a text box, and I can go in there and make changes. Well, I can’t. I can, literally, font or group of, group of fonts at a time. Let’s zoom in a little bit here, so you see what I’m saying. So, you see what I’m saying?
I can select case, but case is broken into two elements, ES and CE. So, this is just dangerous, not even really usable. So, I mean, you could then go copy, Select All, Copy, open InDesign, which I have open, CC by the way, make a new print document, I can then just paste the whole thing in here. The beach ball spins and everything is placed as, well, you can see.
It’s just not even usable. It’s one big, huge EPS file, one big, huge image. So, if you’re talking about a simple vector diagram… Let’s get out of InDesign here. If you’re talking about a simple vector diagram with no text, alright, sure. You could open the PDF in Illustrator, copy and paste it, and put it in InDesign. But using the PDF to Illustrator to InDesign method is just not professional, or even usable, in this case.
Alright, so, now, let’s get out of Illustrator, back to InDesign. And this is where Markzware’s PDF2DTP comes into play. It’s a very affordable 199 EUR per year plugin, which, once loaded, will show up, up top in InDesign, under the Markzware menu item, with our other products, like Quark to InDesign [Q2ID].
And it’s as simple as Convert PDF File. You then select that PDF file we have right here, and a host of preferences will pop up. PDF2DTP will also extract images at resolution used. Very handy, and you can see where it saves to down here. I have it coming to the Desktop for this demonstration.
I like to have Substitute Missing Fonts off, because I prefer to find the font from the customer or whoever, before Substituting Missing Fonts. That can cause all kinds of strange things. Toggling on or off preferences, for example, Replace “Marked Content”, can drastically change a conversion for the better or for the worst.
So, you might want to toggle some of these on or off. For the rest, I just let it be. I click OK, and the conversion starts. This PDF file, this professional newspaper, a small newspaper, is converted right on over into a fully editable, stylized, layered InDesign file.
The conversion is relatively fast. I’ve cut out about, till now, about 30 seconds worth of time, but you’ll see it really chugs right along, taking a professional PDF and converting it right into InDesign for us.
I don’t know where this was created from. This PDF could come from Quark, it could come from InDesign, probably InDesign. And, but it could come from FrameMaker, PageMaker. It doesn’t really matter. Or CorelDRAW.
Okay, now, you see we have a typical InDesign message. You’ll see we have all of our links over here, all of our images are showing up over here. So, we click there. We see we get, now, a CMYK image. Everything is in the resolution and format used, as embedded and exported in that PDF file.
Now, if we zoom in and we see we have full layers, a full list of the pages. And as, if we zoom in a little bit… And, by the way, pink text just means the fonts, the exact version of font, I don’t have. I’d have to load those. Just a little… It’s not really a problem, in this case, for this demonstration. So, if we go in here, we can actually see that now, we can actually select the text and delete or add, etc. Alright, so you see how this works.
So, you get a fully layered document right back into InDesign, where you can get to work on this file. So, you see it’s exactly like it was, more than less, in the PDF. So, the reworking is a lot less than what you just saw with that PDF to Illustrator to InDesign. But PDF to InDesign, directly with Markzware’s PDF2DTP, is a really much better option.
Well, what I’ll show you first is you get a job folder and, in that job folder, you’ll get all of the images extracted at resolution used. I mean, look at that! Everything right in there, and you get… See all the sponsor logos here? And you get the InDesign file itself, fully editable, exchangeable, InDesign file. Alright?
That’s been Markzware’s PDF2DTP, and you see we have a range of products, including FlightCheck, which you just saw, and our new PageZephyr Search, for searching your InDesign files. Without opening them, you can see what’s used where within your document. Very, very handy. If you’d like more information on Markzware’s PDF2DTP, under Products, you can cruise down to PDF2DTP and click there.
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You can buy PDF2DTP, today. It’s very affordable and an extremely handy plugin to have in your toolbox of goodies. It’ll open PDFs and even native Illustrator files and convert them right into Adobe InDesign documents. Great for those PDFs where all you have left is that PDF file, or if you have a corrupt InDesign file and you have a PDF of it. It’ll help you get out of that jam. We also have a file conversion service to fix a bad file, which helps, as well.
David Dilling from Markzware on PDF to Illustrator to InDesign, and why that’s not a very good idea at all, and the Markzware PDF2DTP (PDF to InDesign) is the way to go. Thank you. Wishing you a fantastic day!