Many people do the same task again and again in InDesign, but are wary of using InDesign’s automated scripting functions to make the job easier. Some may be simply unaware of the scripting capabilities within InDesign, while for others scripts are daunting and technical. In reality scripting can be very easy, especially if you don’t have to write the scripts yourself!

By default InDesign has a number of free scripts which ship with the product and you can find these in the Scripts Panel under the Window menu. You can also download free and commercial scripts from Adobe Exchange and you can write your own in any of Javascript, AppleScript or Visualbasic.

The following are a number of useful scripts that may change the way you work. The first 7 are already installed InDesign and those further down can be downloaded from the links provided. To install a script, copy it to the Scripts Panel folder inside the Scripts folder in your InDesign application folder and restart InDesign. (tip: quick way to find this folder is to right click on the User folder in the InDesign Scripts panel and select open in explorer.)

  • Add Guides. This script adds guides onto the page around the selected object or objects.
  • Export all stories. Usually text flows into InDesign but there are many reasons to export it out again. If you click with the type tool in any text box, then go to File>Export, you will be offered a range of text formats to export as, however this only works for the selected story. The Export all stories script, exports all text from the whole document (including master items).
  • Imagecatalog. A useful script that can take the pictures from any folder and display them in a grid with file names in a new InDesign page. This is a bit like the old InDesign contact sheet feature in Bridge.
  • Makegrid. This is quite a neat script which allows you to subdivide an existing box into columns and rows, it then duplicates the original content across the new boxes saving you quite a bit of time in the process.
  • PlaceMultipagePDF – Using file and place to put a PDF into InDesign only lets you place a single page from the PDF.  If you want to place multiple PDF pages onto multiple InDesign pages this script gives you a much quicker alternative.
  • SortParagraphs – Ever wanted to sort selected paragraphs alphabetically, well now you can with this script.
  • SplitStory – This script allows you to split a story up into seperate unlinked text frames.

Some other useful scripts which work in the InDesign CC 2014 version include the following:

  • Text anchors – This script allows you to see a list of all text anchors in a document and whether they are in use or not.
  • Unembed Images – If you have a document with a number of embedded images in it, you can use this script to unembed all the images, copy them into a folder you create, and create links in InDesign to the image files.
  • Sort tables – InDesign tables are great for layout and presentation, but are not designed as an alternative to a spreadsheet package like excel.  Sometimes though it would be nice to be able to sort your table alphabetically based on a particular column, and that’s exactly what this script does.
  • SwatchWatch – If you want to present a client with a nice grid of all the swatches used in a particular document then grab a copy of this swatch and run it. That’s exactly what it does.
  • Calendar Wizard – If you need to create monthly / yearly calendars then Calendar Wizard is a good starting point, enabling you to generate a calendar aat the click of a button.

Hopefully you find some of these scripts worth using but if you come across others that you find useful please feel free to post them in the comments below.

We use cookies to improve your browsing experience on our website and to understand where our visitors are coming from. By clicking ‘Accept cookies’, you consent to our use of cookies.