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Importing odd size PDFs into InDesign - automate the process

Community Beginner ,
Dec 11, 2023 Dec 11, 2023

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Is there a script to be able to flow different size PDF's into an InDesign doc with rules/conditions?

The document can vary in page count, but is never less than 16 pages. The pages are 6 columns wide, have half inch margins, and the PDF's are sized exactly from 1 col wide to 6 col wide and the height can vary. 

I am needing to import the PDF's from one folder and have them dynamically place on the pages from the bottom up so that 55% of the page is filled before the PDF's flow to the next page and so on. 

Is there a way to do this through InDesign? Does anyone know of a script that can intelligently place PDF's onto a page?

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Experiment , How to , Import and export , Scripting

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Community Expert ,
Dec 11, 2023 Dec 11, 2023

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You say, that PDF's - I assume one page per PDF - can be from 1 to 6 columns wide - what if there will be 1C and 3C wide PDFs?

 

Then:

# ###

or

#

###

 

Can you show few example screenshots?

 

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 11, 2023 Dec 11, 2023

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Sure. Here is an example of a couple 2 page spreads with the layout that I would need to automate. The sizes of the boxes are random each week, but tend to all be around this size. Larger PDF's need to be at the bottom and outside, smaller pdfs need to be on top or on the inside. Screenshot 2023-12-11 at 4.32.23 PM.pngScreenshot 2023-12-11 at 4.34.47 PM.png

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Community Expert ,
Dec 11, 2023 Dec 11, 2023

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Ads for the newspaper? 

 

What would be the key? Because you've said "PDFs from one folder" - so who - you or script - will decide which PDF should be placed on which page? 

Alphabetically?

Are they pre-grouped for each page? 

Or "best fit"? So largest for each page then topped up with smaller ones? 

 

 

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 12, 2023 Dec 12, 2023

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Correct. Ads for a newspaper. All the pdf's would be placed in one folder and the script would pull them and place them by size for best fit.
Currently, I place everything manually. I am hoping there is a script out there that can place the pdf's like this in the document. Does such a thing exist?

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Community Expert ,
Dec 12, 2023 Dec 12, 2023

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It's rather custom solution - but what would be the key / order for placing them? 

 

Completely random? 

 

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 12, 2023 Dec 12, 2023

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If there's any solution at all, then I can rearrange  manually if any of the ads have conflicts, however if there could be rules and conditions, these would be what I would like. 

PDF's fill the page from the bottom up, larger dimensions at the bottom and outside, smaller dimensions on top. There are specificly named PDF's that would need to go on specific pages as well. 


 

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Community Expert ,
Dec 12, 2023 Dec 12, 2023

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Fully automatic solution could be too complicated... 

 

BUT, semi-automatic would be much easier to create and would offer much greater flexibility... 

 

You could get a list of PDFs - sorted from widest or tallest - or by area - height x width. 

After you select first for current page - then you would get a list of PDFs that can fit on the side - if C<6 - or by height.

 

It could be even done in a way, that currently selected PDF would be automatically loaded and replaced with another one from the list - until you hit Enter / space. 

 

So in the end - you could forget about using mouse - and do it with only one hand - arrow keys + Enter / space ...

 

Plus of course navigation between pages - PgDown / PgUp - and starting location in the page's grid. 

 

To sum up:

Space - switch between navigation in the doc and on the list of PDFs, 

Arrows - navigation in the doc's grid or list of PDFs, 

Enter - acceptance of the PDF. 

 

Not sure if it would be possible to do in JS - this kind of reaction to a keyboard? Piece of cake in VB - but then only PC... 

 

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Community Expert ,
Dec 12, 2023 Dec 12, 2023

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 12, 2023 Dec 12, 2023

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Thank you for the links! Yes, that is something that I will explore, however I would like to add or change my workflow that wouldn't cost more money. I would like to know what the instructions are from Robert Tkacyk

 

Right now my process is I manually place all the PDF's and arrange them by sight where they would fit together on each page. I can select multiple at once and scroll through the pages and click where I want them placed. Can you describe how you would place them instead to be faster? Thank you

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