Giving Scripts Descriptions with Tooltips

Adobe InDesign ships with a limited set of scripts within the scripts panel. While these scripts are appropriately named, they do not contain tooltips that elaborate on how the script works or what each script does.

For users of InDesign who rarely – if ever – open the scripts panel, this is not really an issue. But for users who have embraced the power of scripting within InDesign and have acquired or created scripts, the scripts palette can become quite unwieldy. Left unchecked, the scripts panel can get to the point where it is unknown what many scripts do, how they work (i.e. if they had a user interface or were designed to be implemented in specific workflows) or if they still work since they were added to the scripts folder.

It is possible to organise the scripts folder into categories using Windows Explorer or Mac Finder. Even so, there are still hundreds of scripts, and the file naming of the scripts often leaves very little to the imagination.

Scripts can have tooltips

Seasoned scripters will be aware of this, but for InDesign users who have used scripts but cannot write them, this practical tip may be of some use.

It is possible to have better descriptions in the form of tooltips – some script authors have the foresight to add such a tooltip to a script so that when one hovers over the script name in the scripts palette, a good description of the script was given instead of relying on the filename. Such an example is IDentify, from InDesign javascript expert, Jongware.


Luckily, it is possible to add tooltips to scripts that do not have them. To demonstrate, a description will be added to the empty text frame script. To do this, Right click (or control click) on the script while in the scripts panel of InDesign and choose “Reveal in Finder” (or Explorer on Windows). Once the folder window is presented, open the text editor (NOT a word processor but a plain text editor) of choice.


The following script needs a description added to it. To do this, add a line at the start of the script that looks like this:

//DESCRIPTION:type the description of what the script does here

(since it is known what the script does, a better description will be written)


Save the file and return to InDesign. Return to the script panel and hover the cursor over the script that was just edited.


And there it is – a better description for the script, in case the script isn’t used for a while and its purpose becomes forgotten.

Fixing readers spreads: Third time lucky

For print providers, finished art PDFs supplied as readers spreads can create a nuisance. So that the imposition software can correctly impose the pages in the correct order for press, the pages have to be presented as individual pages as opposed to readers spreads. Rather than inconvenience a customer and ask for the file to be prepared again, it is easier to split the PDF into individual pages, but until recently this procedure was a tedious method of copying and pasting a PDF into an InDesign file set as spreads and then preparing an output PDF as individual pages.

However, this blog has provided two solutions so far to do this:

  1. Via two javascripts and a procedure within InDesign (read the full story here);
  2. A javascript within Acrobat (read the full story here)

Now a third method exists. This method uses both Acrobat and an InDesign script.

1)   With the “spreads” PDF open in Adobe Acrobat, save the document as single pages. This can be done (in Acrobat X) by using the split document feature and splitting into 1pp documents;


or (in Acrobat 9 or above) by extracting pages as single pages.


Put these PDFs into a folder of their own.

2)   Create a new InDesign file the correct finished trim size, as readers spreads, and the same amount of pages as the intended finished artwork.

3)   Once the file is created, run this script:  A prompt will ask for the folder of PDFs to import – navigate to that folder and click OK.

4)   A prompt will warn once the file is finished. All that is then left to do is tidy up the first and last pages that are centered within the spreads, they only need to be centered within their appropriate pages and any unnecessary pages deleted.

I’m not sure who was the original author of the script but can only credit those who contributed to the forum where the script was adapted for this purpose.

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