Save InDesign Alternate Layouts as Separate Documents

Justin | design,extensions,HTML5,InDesign | Monday, May 13th, 2013

I was sitting in Colin Fleming‘s One Design, Multiple Devices: Adaptive Design in Digital Publishing Suite lab at Adobe MAX, when someone mentioned that it would be useful to split Alternate Layouts into individual documents when building Folios. Many of our in5 customers are working with Alternate Layouts as well, so I’ve included a script with the latest update of in5. The script is available to use at no charge for in5 and DPS users alike.


Just double-click on the script in the Scripts panel:

Save Alt Layout as Docs


The script is installed free with in5. A license is required to use the full edition of in5, but this script will work even if you don’t have an in5 license. So, head over to the in5 download page and get the latest version (which includes this script).

Free Hex Color Scripts Now Available with in5

Justin | design,ExtendScript,extensions,HTML5,InDesign | Friday, April 19th, 2013

Adobe InDesign originated as a page layout application for print documents. Over time it has evolved into much more. Our tool, in5, exports HTML5 directly from InDesign and automatically converts CMYK, LAB, and RGB colors (as well as tints) into hex values. Hex is the default language of color on the web. Hex combines 6 characters that can be digits or one of the first 6 letters of the Arabic alphabet (A-F).

If you prefer work with hex colors in InDesign…now you can!

Both scripts are available in the Scripts window once installed (double-click on a script to run it):

Scripts Panel

Add Hex Swatch

The Add Hex Swatch allows you to enter a hex value in the Color field. You can enter the value with an opening pound sign (#) or 0x (used for hex values in programming languages)…or leave it off entirely. The color of the palette provides a real-time preview of how the swatch will appear.

You can enter a Name (optionally), or the hex value itself will be used for the name of the swatch.

Add Hex Palette

If you don’t have any documents open, the swatch will be added to the InDesign application default swatch set.

Export Hex Swatches

As I mentioned above, in5 already converts and exports swatches when producing HTML, but perhaps there are occasions where only the swatches are needed. This may be the case if you’re working with a developer.

The box below shows a live preview of how the hex swatch export appears. All the information is stored in a single, self-contained HTML file that can easily be shared or emailed.


The hex color scripts are installed free with in5. A license is required to use the full edition of in5, but these 2 scripts will work even if you don’t have an in5 license. So, head over to the in5 download page and get the latest version (which includes the hex color scripts).

(If you have the Kickstarter edition, open the in5 dialog and go to Info > Updates > Check now… to download a version that includes these 2 scripts).

in5 Showcase Accepting Submissions

Justin | design,HTML5,InDesign | Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Have you produced a fantastic website or app with in5?

If so, we’d like to help you get the word out!

We’re putting together a showcase of great work to display on the in5 website and to show at conferences (like PepCon and Adobe MAX).

To submit your publication(s), send us a link to the web address of the site or a link to the app in the app store using this form. Enter the subject line as in5 showcase.

We’ll send you an email if we decide to feature your publication.

Copy InDesign Fonts to Folder

Justin | design,ExtendScript,extensions,InDesign | Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

InDesign guru, AnneMarie Concepcion ‏ (@amarie), put out a request for a script to copy fonts from an InDesign document to a folder. So I put together this script.


Double-click on the script in the Scripts panel to run:


It will prompt you for any conflicts:


…And display results at the end:



  1. Unzip the download package.
  2. Double-click the CC installer that matches your system (Mac/Win). For CS4-CS6, double click the MXP file (inside the CS4-CS6 folder) to install using Adobe Extension Manager.


Copy Fonts to (CS4 and newer)

Where does your project fall in the ebook Spectrum?

Justin | design,HTML5,InDesign,iOS | Monday, March 18th, 2013

It’s a brave new world in digital publishing. How does one decide where to commit precious resources at the start of the project?

Enter: the ebook Spectrum (or Digital Publishing Continuum, if you prefer).


If you can determine where your project falls within this spectrum, you’ve overcome a large, practical hurdle.

On the left side of the spectrum are formats like EPUB (non-fixed-layout), which focus on text content and readability. These formats are generally best served on an e-reader like the Amazon Kindle. This kind of device includes reader-friendly features like a display that emits no light (easy on the eyes), and the ability to adjust the size and flow of the text. In this format, where a page breaks is arbitrary. The layout—relative positioning of text and images, colors, specific typefaces, page alignment—is forsaken for the experience of the reader. This end of the spectrum serves a format like the novel quite well, because the page layout is of little consequence in most novels.

On the right end of the spectrum are formats that permit greater layout fidelity (apps, HTML5, HPUB). These formats are best served by light-emitting, highly interactive devices like an iPad or Android Tablet. This end of the spectrum is much better at serving a format like a digital magazine that includes complex graphics, colors, and typefaces, as well as interactivity.

If you know ahead of time what device(s) you’re targeting, it may help you place your project within the spectrum. Once you’ve determined where you project falls on the spectrum, as well as which device(s) you will target, you have a solid foundation for choosing a tool or technology that can help you complete your project successfully.

Let’s looks at a few examples. Let’s start with InDesign as the source of our layout and content because of InDesign’s advanced tooling and flexibility.

  • If your project is solidly on the left end of the spectrum, your InDesign project simply has to be laid out as connected textframes, and you can export directly to EPUB.
  • If your project falls on the right end of the spectrum and you’re producing regular periodicals for paid subscribers (e.g., The New York Times or Martha Stewart Living), then DPS offers you a direct route out of InDesign.
  • If your project falls on the right end of the spectrum, but you want/need to distribute your content to a wider array of devices, or you don’t have paid subscribers, or you don’t want go through an app store (or can’t), etc…well, this is the reason we created in5 (InDesign to HTML5).
  • Going the other direction, perhaps your project needs are extremely specific. Perhaps you’re only targeting Apple devices. Apple provides a free design tool called iBooks Author.
  • Or perhaps you need interactivity that exceeds what the current authoring tools offer. In this case, developing a custom app may be your best option.

Because digital publishing is still in a form of infancy, the road to a successful project can be a long and winding one. If you can determine where a project falls in the spectrum, you can start addressing some of your technical needs early and save yourself some trouble and unnecessary effort.

So, where does your project fall in the ebook spectrum?

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