Migrating Illustrator Templates to InDesign

Community Beginner ,
Dec 01, 2020 Dec 01, 2020

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Hi folks,

 

My company has made the error long before I arrived to use Illustrator for basic layouts and templating for what are essentially cataloguing purposes. I'm trying to convince them that InDesign is the appropriate tool. I showed them the features we were missing out on and they saw the merit.

 

The trouble comes from the fact that we have hundreds of .ai files created by Illustrator that we still need to be able to access and modify if needed.

 

I was a little dismayed to find the interoperability between the two programs seems somewhat limited in the way of editing capabilities within InDesign...? I ended up copy-pasting from Illustrator into InDesign in order to recreate the layout/template. But is there some functionality I'm missing here?

 

I'm still learning the ins and outs of InDesign, so can someone please fill me in: Is there no way to make edits to Illustrator files (or PDFs) with InDesign?

 

My read so far is that Adobe is steadfast in posing InDesign as the program where all your content meets up, but not a place to edit said content. It seems really hard to make edits to things that weren't natively created in InDesign.

 

Even though InDesign is the more suitable choice, it's not going to be so fun to be paying for 2 subscriptions just so we can use InDesign going forward and also access our old work with Illustrator.

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Adobe Community Professional , Dec 01, 2020 Dec 01, 2020
Hi @Henry933:   I'm still learning the ins and outs of InDesign, so can someone please fill me in: Is there no way to make edits to Illustrator files (or PDFs) with InDesign? No. A typical workflow includes creating line art in Illustrator, editing photos in Photoshop, typing text in Word and then placing all of this content into InDesign for the layout. There are many, many variations on this, but that's the general idea. InDesign allows you to quickly link back to the source applications for g...

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 01, 2020 Dec 01, 2020

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Hi @Henry933:

 

I'm still learning the ins and outs of InDesign, so can someone please fill me in: Is there no way to make edits to Illustrator files (or PDFs) with InDesign?

No. A typical workflow includes creating line art in Illustrator, editing photos in Photoshop, typing text in Word and then placing all of this content into InDesign for the layout. There are many, many variations on this, but that's the general idea. InDesign allows you to quickly link back to the source applications for graphics edits.

 

If someone was using Illustrator for layout, and you want to take it to InDesign, then you are going to need to put in some work. CC libraries may help—you can add assets (color swatches, color groups, paragraph styles, character styles, text blocks and art) into a library while in Illustrator, and then access these assets from within the same library in InDesign. This will help, but there will still be a lot of work to do. 

 

For a paid solution, there are a few apps you can purchase that can convert a PDF to InDesign:

https://www.recosoft.com/products/pdf2id/

https://markzware.com/products/pdf2dtp/

 

~Barb

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 01, 2020 Dec 01, 2020

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Right, that's what I suspected but I thought I should get a second opinion before proceeding. Thanks for your help Barb!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 02, 2020 Dec 02, 2020

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>>  typing text in Word

I do prefer to say that typing text in InCopy is better 🙂

Remember, never say you can't do something in InDesign, it's always just a question of finding the right workaround to get the job done. © David Blatner

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 01, 2020 Dec 01, 2020

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The only way Illustrator content can be edited in InDesign is via Copy/Paste. Copy/paste is somewhat limited in that complex Illustrator appearances will not paste faithfully. The other downside is that once an object is pasted into InDesign, any editing you do will not be reflected back to its .ai original. If you're OK with these limitations, copy/paste can be a helpful strategy in some situations.

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 01, 2020 Dec 01, 2020

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Yes that was my experience in remaking the templates in InDesign. The formatting didn't like to stick when copying from Illustrator but it worked as a reasonable base.

 

In this case there's relatively little work involved in converting the templates to InDesign and proceeding onwards, but we can't just abandon all of our old work in inaccessible .ai files. Which means we'd have to pay Adobe for Illustrator licenses that we'll barely use for this mistake. I guess it is what it is!

 

Thanks for your input Scott.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 02, 2020 Dec 02, 2020

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Just prepare your .ai as background for InDesign file (clear text by pasting text into InDesign text frame, place by CTRL+D your .ai as graphic frame). You can open your .ai background and do changes if need it (CTRL+double_left_click on your graphic frame with .ai). 

 

Don't forget after all works to do package. https://helpx.adobe.com/indesign/how-to/indesign-package-files-for-handoff.html

Remember, never say you can't do something in InDesign, it's always just a question of finding the right workaround to get the job done. © David Blatner

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 02, 2020 Dec 02, 2020

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@Henry933 :

 

In this case there's relatively little work involved in converting the templates to InDesign and proceeding onwards, but we can't just abandon all of our old work in inaccessible .ai files. Which means we'd have to pay Adobe for Illustrator licenses that we'll barely use for this mistake. I guess it is what it is!

I just checked pricing and (in the US at least) Adobe is extending the cyber Monday pricing through tomorrow, December 3.

  1. Single apps are US $21 monthly with an annual subscription (so around US $42 a month for InDesign and Illustrator)
  2. All apps are US $40 monthly with an annual subscription. The all apps plan includes:

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