How do I unlink a missing document

Participant ,
Nov 20, 2019 Nov 20, 2019

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I've searched for a long time but haven't found a "proper" solution to this problem. I receive Indesign files with links to a Word doc. However, the Word file is missing and I cannot get it. The unlink option is grayed out in the Links flyout panel.

Has anyone ever found a good solution to this? I've found several solutions that half-work, but this should be a very simple option.

I'm using ID 14.0.2 on a Mac, Mojave. I've trashed preferences and such, all the usual basic solutions, but there doesn't seem to be a proper fix. This happens to others often, too.

Thanks!

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Participant , Dec 12, 2019 Dec 12, 2019
I created a video with 5 different methods for fixing broken links. I actually found 3+ methods that actually work when the original document isn't available. The other 2 methods may work if you have the Windows version of Indesign:https://youtu.be/P8wPLywjXmo

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 20, 2019 Nov 20, 2019

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Actually, as a rule InDesign doesn't create a link to word processing files.  It usually takes a conscious effort to create the link, and in the workflows I've worked with, I haven't had good reason to maintain a link between word processing and InDesign documents. I can always export MSWord format text, or my preference, RTF word processing files which can go most anywhere I need them to go.

 

So if I didn't have a specific reason to link my InDesign document files to MSWord files, my suggested solution would be not to do it.

 

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Participant ,
Nov 20, 2019 Nov 20, 2019

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I understand it might not always be the best idea. However, sometimes it's great for maintaining editing in Word (or the like).

In any case, sometimes I receive INDD files that don't have the original linked doc, hence the issue. And I've done this before myself of not noticing a broken link until I'm too far down the road. Based on the comments on multiple forums over 8+ years, I'm not the only one who has run into this.

 

Do you have a solution to deleting the link but not changing the text/object in the file? Leaving a broken link causes export issues sometimes.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 21, 2019 Nov 21, 2019

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Frankly, you've got me confused. Deleting the link only breaks the background connection to the source MSWord file. It has no access to the actual content of the file, or as far as I know any ability to change that content. 

 

How is deleting the link changing the text/object in the file? Perhaps if you can identify how that's happening, I can help. As it is, you've got me in a quandry. I don't understand your problem.

 

I want to help,

 

Randy

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Participant ,
Nov 21, 2019 Nov 21, 2019

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Hi Randy,

Sorry, I'm not explaining it correctly. The INDD file I received has content that was linked from a Word doc. However, I don't have the Word doc any more nor can I get it. I only have the INDD file. Without the linked file, it's not possible to export to a PDF.

See 1st picture.

Can't export with broken links.Can't export with broken links.

When I go to export to print PDF, I receive the above error.

 

So, I click on the broken linked Word doc, then click on the flyout menu, and you'll see that Unlink and Link options are grayed out.

Click on the 3-hashes for the flyout menuClick on the 3-hashes for the flyout menu

 

And if I just right-click on the doc, I receive the following popup menu. No help there.

 

Right click on broken linkRight click on broken link

 

Unfortunately, this is a common problem for people. The layout is fine but I don't have the original Word doc (this happens with Excel sheets, too), so I'm stuck copying/pasting into a different doc, hoping I don't make a mistake. It can be done but I want to find the elegant/proper way to do this. The book is 160pp. It's not terrible, but it can be a waste of a morning.

I've seen some people write scripts, but I haven't found one with the function that gets rid of the link out of the link menu while still leaving the layout intact. I've tried a few variations but just don't know the proper function to call to fix the problem.

I'm using a Mac, Mojave 10.14.6, Indesign 14.0.2. I've trashed preferences, re-installed, etc. I don't want to upgrade to IN 15.0 - heard lots of problems. This broken link issue has been around since CS4.0 at least.

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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Participant ,
Nov 21, 2019 Nov 21, 2019

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I tried running this Apple script:

 

tell application "Adobe InDesign CC 2019"

delete (parent of every link of active document whose status is link missing)

end tell

 

But it just deletes the layout contents, it doesn't remove the link. Is there a function in Applescript that would delete/unlink in the panel without touching the layout?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 20, 2019 Nov 20, 2019

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You should be able to right click on the link to the Word file in the Links panel and choose unlink. This will break the link to the Word or Excel file but leave the text in the document as static text.

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Participant ,
Nov 21, 2019 Nov 21, 2019

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Hi Chad - Perhaps in the PC version of Indesign this works? Here's the menu I get when right-clicking on the broken link.

 

Right clicking on broken link.Right clicking on broken link.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 21, 2019 Nov 21, 2019

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Hi elellirah,

I'm on Windows 10 with InDesign CC 2019 and tested with a linked docx file saved from my MS Word installed on my machine. No problem to unlink the broken linked Word file. Hm. I do not suspect a genuine error with InDesign on Mac OS X.

 

But: Maybe there is something odd with the docx file name or file path?

Maybe it was once placed on Windows with a character in the file or in the file path that is not allowed on OS X ?

 

Regards,
Uwe Laubender

( ACP )

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Participant ,
Nov 21, 2019 Nov 21, 2019

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Possibly, but I've seen so many others talking about the same problem. Can you screenshot yours on the PC with the red dot showing a missing document and the unlink not grayed out? If you to into Preferences->File Management, is the "link files" checkbox checked or not? This doesn't seem to affect the Mac OS version but perhaps it changes things on the PC edition?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 21, 2019 Nov 21, 2019

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Maybe I'm missing something, but couldn't you just select the link in the Links panel and press the delete key? Thus deleting the link (same end result as unlink, I think).

 

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Participant ,
Nov 21, 2019 Nov 21, 2019

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Tried it... No luck on Delete, fn-Delete, CMD-Delete, etc. I wish!

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Participant ,
Nov 21, 2019 Nov 21, 2019

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Give it a try...create the condition where you link in a doc, then change the file name in finder, have the red dot of death come up, then try and unlink/delete it in the Mac version. I've had this issue in CS5, CS6, ID-2018 (13.X), ID-2019 (14.X) and I've seen the issue with others in ID 15.x.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 21, 2019 Nov 21, 2019

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Don't have time to test thoroughly, but... how about exporting the file to .idml and then re-opening it? That can sometimes fix really screwy things, and it used to fix "ghost" colors on the swatches panel. 

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Participant ,
Nov 25, 2019 Nov 25, 2019

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Unfortunately that doesn't work on this type of problem. It certainly does fix other issues. 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 22, 2019 Nov 22, 2019

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elellirah said: … Can you screenshot yours on the PC with the red dot showing a missing document and the unlink not grayed out? If you to into Preferences->File Management, is the "link files" checkbox checked or not? …

 

My screenshot from my German InDesign CC 2019 on Windows 10 is showing the command "Verknüpfung aufheben" ( Unlink ) not grayed out. And yes, I can unlink the linked docx file:

 

Linked-docx-Broken-Link-CC-2019.png

 

Unlinked:

Unlinked-docx-CC-2019.PNG

 

A solution for you could be this:

 

1. Select all the text in the story.

2. Cut it to the clipboard.

3. NOW try to unlink the docx file.

If that will work:

4. Paste the text from the clipboard to the text frame.

 

If not: Paste the text to a different frame.

Remove the original frames the story was running with.

That should remove the link as well.

 

Regards,
Uwe Laubender

( ACP )

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Participant ,
Nov 24, 2019 Nov 24, 2019

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Hi Uwe Laubender,

Yes, copy/paste is an option, albeit a slow and potentially risky option. I've had to use that before. I just wish the Mac version had this everlasting bug fixed. Thanks!

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Participant ,
Dec 12, 2019 Dec 12, 2019

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I created a video with 5 different methods for fixing broken links. I actually found 3+ methods that actually work when the original document isn't available. The other 2 methods may work if you have the Windows version of Indesign:

https://youtu.be/P8wPLywjXmo

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New Here ,
Jan 18, 2022 Jan 18, 2022

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Greetings from 2022. I have a new PC and I am having exactly this problem. My entire workflow is based on placed Word docs and if I can't figure this out I might as well leave the business and work at the corner convenience store for comparable pay. Please help, because I do not want to work until 4am selling scratchoffs. 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 18, 2022 Jan 18, 2022

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If you don't want to Link Word files in this way, you can always turn that off in Preferences > File handling.

Or are you also having trouble unlinking missing files...?

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