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214 page PDF export missing spreads, pages and images/ data missing from indd file

Community Beginner ,
Nov 23, 2021 Nov 23, 2021

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There were some error messages in the export process (I think one said the document was too long to export) but a pdf was created.  When I inspected the pdf 13 spreads were missing/ blank.  When I went back to the InDesign file these missing spreads are now missing or missing data in the layout.  The export process appears to have somehow deleted pages from the file.  This is quite frustrating and disconserting.  I have a back up of some of the lost work from last week but I'm not sure if the file is corrupted and is I should import the missing spreads back into this file.

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Screen Shot 2021-11-23 at 12.43.31 PM.png

 Has anybody else experienced this export problem and have a fix?  

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 23, 2021 Nov 23, 2021

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The first step if a file appears to be corrupted is to try exporting as IDML. There is at least a chance that doing so will clear the corruption, and that you will see a clean file when you open from the IDML file.

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Community Beginner ,
Nov 28, 2021 Nov 28, 2021

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Thanks -- The IDML file is better than the corrupted file, however, photos are missing and many photo crops are wrong.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 23, 2021 Nov 23, 2021

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Hi Graham,

in your second screenshot one can see a damaged spread. So the best bet is to export the document to IDML, open the IDML file as new InDesign document and save to a new name.

If that will not work add a new spread before the damaged spread, try to grab all contents with the Selection tool and Copy / Paste In Place it to the new spread added. Do not use Select All to grab the contents. Instead use the Selection tool to draw out a rectangular selection area.

 

Regards,
Uwe Laubender

( ACP )

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Community Beginner ,
Nov 28, 2021 Nov 28, 2021

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Thanks -- The new IDML file is better than the corrupted file, however, photos are missing and many photo crops are wrong.  I will save the new file as an INDD and then bring in some spreads and images from the pre-corrupted file.  

 

Do you have any idea what causes INDD files to be corrupted?  

I think there was a message about the file being too big when I was exporting the printer PDF.    I want to prevent this from happening in the future.  

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 28, 2021 Nov 28, 2021

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I'd like to suggest a couple thinbgs I hope will help you.

 

First, since you're receiving alerts that your document is too large to process, is to create a smaller file to turn into a PDF. There are two ways to do that:

 

Create smaller page count PDFs — Rather than ship the entire 214-page document, split it in half, create two 112-page PDFs and combine them later in Acrobat. Save your old faulty PDF to use to check against your half-sized PDFs. It really could be that easy. At the very least, it'll help you to further sleuth the faulty pages. If there are fewer, it lets you know you're on the right track. It's possible that shipping two smaller chunks your system can process will fix all the problems. It's also possible that it may not fix any problems. And in exceedingly rare cases, it may create different problems, which would be the worst-case, but thankfully rarest result. But I'd take a quick glance to proof all the pages to be sure.

Create smaller-sized PDFs — You may be able to streamline and simplify the specifications for creating your PDF(s) from InDesign. InDesign's PDF tools have lots of switches and settings for how it creates PDFs. You can learn more a bout that through this link and the link defining Adobe PDF Options at the end of the help page.

 

If "cleaning up" the InDesign document by exporting an IDML file and re-saving as an INDD file again before PDF export hasn't fixed the problem, it's pretty unlikely that the InDesign file is corrupted. You're likely looking at the options listed above, or checking placed elements in the INDD file for the root(s) of your problem. I'd suggest if you can get the problem pages to run individually, you can run single-page output that works better and slip them into the overarching destination PDF. It goes without saying, but I will anyway for any novice users who may read this later, that it's important you replace all the bad pages with all the better single-page updates correctly, maintaining proper pagination to ensure that rude surprises don't show up downstream.

 

Hope this helps,

 

Randy

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 28, 2021 Nov 28, 2021

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Another way to have less pages per ID file, it seems to me, is that you could separate chapters or other logical divisions into separate ID files and combine them in a book (File > New > Book) via the Book panel, from which you can create a single PDF.

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 01, 2021 Dec 01, 2021

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Thank you for your help and troubleshooting.  

 

The IDML file I created required some resizing of photos, but spreads were not missing like in the problematic INDD file. So that is a good step.  I resized the photos and saved as a new INDD file.  When I went to export a pdf for printing there were "2 problems (1 failure) were found with background tasks - Version 4 ICC Profiles were converted to version 2 ICC Profiles during PDF Export.  Failed to Export the PDF file."  I exporterd a pdf in two roughly 100 page sections.  I received  received the same background task alert. The second time a PDF was created and there weren't any missing spreads.  I combined the two sections in Acrobat.  

 

All of these troublshooting steps take time and tests my patience.   I have not yet exported spread by spread (if I have time in the coming weeks I may take this step) to fine the problematic spread, that will take additional time.  

I created seperate files for different chapters/ sections earlier in the project, however, in the collaborative writing, editing and design process I ended up moving pages around and changing the design system that having multiple files created more work.  I'm open to ideas/ lessons learned  about layout workflows for long form, graphically rich book projects.  I've watched a few InDesign tutorials for longer book projects.  The tutorials I watched assumed that the designer was recieving a near complete text transcript.  My experience is that the design development process usually involves experimenting with different layouts as visuals/ graphics/ infographics/ photography and text are gathered.  In an ideal world the designer would have all this content before starting a layout, however, it's rarely been my experience when working with corporate clients.

InDesign is a powerful tool but I wonder how to set up my projects so that the application can reliably export PDFs when I am on tight deadlines.  I have concerns about the reliability of exporting PDFs on larger projects with InDesign given my recent experience.  

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 01, 2021 Dec 01, 2021

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I understand your frustrations sleuthing your problem. But when there are multiple possibilities at the root of your issue, the only way to sleuth them is troubleshoot the various options and narrow down the issues until you find them. I can see how that may test your patience, but without testing your output, you're not going to get past your issues.

 

There often aren't magic solutions. This was one of those cases. We're happy to help, but we generally can't wave a wand and make things right. Collectively, we're pretty good. But we're not that good.

 

If you're looking for better ways to create InDesign files for long documentation, I'd suggest that you consider using InDesign's book functions. Since busting your job into halves helped, I'd suggest that you're on the right track to solving your issues. Rather than having to sleuth what could be wrong with a 214-page document, you could divide the document into smaller, bite-sized chunks and combine them into a large document when your work is completed and it's time for distribution. Plus, if your individual InDesign documents are smaller and processed sequentially rather in their entirety, you may well avoid the problem entirely.

 

You can explore how these functions can make your life much easier by using this link. Be sure to also check out the related links at the end of this help page. I can assure you that going down this rabbit hole for an hour or so will make your life much easier as you're producing long documentation with InDesign in the future. I speak from repeated and regular personal experience on this.

 

Don't sell InDesign short. It has its issues, like most any production software. But they can be addressed and overcome with effort. In this case, very little effort.

 

Hope this helps,

 

Randy

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 28, 2021 Nov 28, 2021

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"Do you have any idea what causes INDD files to be corrupted?"

 

No. Over the years we had similar cases like yours here in the forum.

Never had a chance to identify a root cause for this. It never happened to me; even with very large InDesign documents with a lot of tables and about 600 pages.

 

Regards,
Uwe Laubender

( ACP )

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