InDesign keeps crashing - what can i do?

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InDesign keeps crashing - what can i do?

Whilst InDesign is generally pretty stable I do sometimes come across people who have an issue with InDesign crashing repeatedly.  There are a few things you can do to stop this, other than simply reinstalling InDesign.

Restart the machine

OK it sounds kind of obvious, but one thing you could do it restart the computer itself.  Generally this won't resolve the problem but I have come across situations where it has.  It's worth a go and only takes a few minutes.

Reset the Preferences

The next thing which I usually try is resetting the InDesign preferences.  This does wipe any customisation so if you have personalised workspaces, etc.. they will be wiped.  Having said that it generally does fix recurring crashes in InDesign (and Photoshop / Illustrator). In fact personally I find this method has worked almost everytime over many years.

To reset the preferences simply restart InDesign and hold down Ctrl + Alt + Shift (Windows) or Cmd + Ctrl + Opt + Shift (Mac).  After a few seconds you should then get a pop up box that asks if you want to reset the preferences.

Personally I find this fixes almost all my crashing issues.

The downside of this is it wiped your personal settings, including document and print presets, so I would suggest synching whatever settings you can to the cloud first to save a bit of time.  That way if doing this doesn't solve the problem you can always restore the preferences.

You can also save and then reload things like print presets and document presets by going into them from the file menu and clicking define then saving them.

Corrupt document

Sometimes this kind of problem can be caused by corruption in an InDesign file, and this is especially obvious if the crash always happens when you try and open one particular file .  One thing worth trying if you suspect that might be the case, is going to File / Export and save it out as an IDML file, then reopening that file and saving it as a standard InDesign file.  The IDML file is a backward compatible file that strips out all but the essential stuff, and doing this can often clean out minor corruption issues in an InDesign file which could be causing the problems.

Incidentally if you have a file that is crashing indesign every time and you literally can't open it, you might want to try Marzware's recovery service. Marzware have been around for many years offering tools for conversion to and from InDesign. I haven't personally needed to use their recovery service, but as a company they have a good and well established reputation and I can't imagine this being any different.

Font Conflicts / Issues

I don't ever recall personally experiencing this problem, but have come across others who have. Sometimes a font conflict can occur causing InDesign to crash. This could be too many fonts installed, old or incompatible fonts, damaged fonts etc...

There are a number of ways to fix this so rather than repeat them all here I thought it might make more sense to link to Adobe support pages on the subject.  If you are running on Windows click here or alternatively on a Mac click here.


Hopefully corruption and crashes aren't something you come across often, but when you do this list should help you save a bit of time resolving them. Good luck.