When a package isn’t impressive

UPDATE 2014-11-08: Several more instances were found when package would not contain the appropriate images, and acknowledged that package in CC 2014 and up will now allow PDFs to be created during the packaging process.

When providing an InDesign file to another party, the most reliable way to make sure that all links and fonts are supplied with the file is to use the Package feature from the File menu. This step by step procedure collects all links and fonts used within InDesign into a neat folder with the InDesign file, an instructions file (which I have never seen anyone fill in), and two folders containing the links and fonts which were used. It is similar to the feature familiar to Quark Xpress users known as “collect for output”.

The package feature is only as good as the artwork which was used in the InDesign file though and does have its weaknesses. Using the following example, the feature will not:


  1. Package fonts that are not loaded or available.
  2. Package links which were cut and pasted from non creative suite programs, such as a picture which was cut and pasted from Microsoft Word.
  3. Package links or fonts which were on the pasteboard. that is, while the items will still appear on the pasteboard, will not be present as a link in the packaged file and when the InDesign file is opened, will appear as a broken link.
  4. Package fonts or links used within images, such as EPSs, PSDs and AIs. Warnings may appear at the time of packaging the file that fonts are missing, but not always. This is also a big issue for placed PDFs and INDDs which weren’t prepared properly by their respective authors, or for editing graphics such as EPS files later in Illustrator, as the links/fonts for these images won’t be available.
  5. Fix fundamental prepress issues such as the ones in this example (no bleed, RGB image which is low resolution) – it will simply collect digital assets which were used and save them so that the file can be given to another party.
  6. Package links that are missing in the InDesign file.
  7. Package links that are on the pasteboard, even though the images are in a threaded textframe as an inline graphic or anchored object.
  8. Package links that are in overset text as inline graphics or anchored objects, despite whether the text frame is on or off of the pasteboard.

Prior to the release of Creative Could 2014, package would not prepare a PDF of the artwork either – this had to be done separately. Fortunately from the release of CC 2014, the package feature will allow not only a PDF to be generated, but an IDML file as well.

Packaging is only half the battle. The next issue is to send the folder to the recipient. My personal recommendation is to make sure that the folder is compressed with zip compression so that one file is being sent rather than hundreds or thousands. This becomes even more important with fonts which are being sent from one platform to another (e.g. Windows to Mac OSX) using an FTP transfer or via email.

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