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InDesign IDML files not yet?

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Hey guys, when I was testing an early Beta of Publisher it was able to import an InDesign file directly, so I bought Publisher in anticipation of a complete escape from Adobe, but Publisher doesn't seem to be able to do that now.  I read a thread that last year the ability to import IDML files was expected in weeks, but when I converted all my InD files in anticipation of Mac Catalina (my CS6 will no longer work) I found that they are still not importable. All greyed out.   Where are we on this issue?

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I have used Publisher since the first Public Beta, and there was never a time it was able to import InDesign files, that I saw.

There was discussion that it might someday be able to import InDesign files, later clarified to indicate that someday Serif intended to support import of IDML but not other InDesign files. Never has a date been stated.

I'm sure Serif views it as a high priority, but I have no idea when it might arrive as a function accessible to us.

-- Walt

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I echo what Walt has said. I also began using the beta on the first day it was publicly available. In fact, the thread where many people requested support for opening InDesign files dates back to the very first day:

I am not aware that the ability to import IDML was ever promised to be mere “weeks” away. Officially we have no idea when it will be implemented, but we have been given a rather big clue. Another user posted a link to an interview (see below) with Ashley Hewson.

On 9/25/2019 at 2:31 PM, RNKLN said:

Ashley Hewson the CEO of Serif was in the Essential Apple podcast recently and talked, among other things, about support for IDML files. Here's a link.

So here is some of what he said:

Beginning at 35:17, the host of the program asked this question: “When will there be a workbook for Publisher?” Ash answered: “That will definitely be out next year… I would expect it to be out in the first half of next year… We actually also want another couple of features to make its way onto the app before we launch the workbook, so the first thing is that the IDML import is very close to being available.” The host, after his own commentary, added, “There are a lot of people out there rubbing their hands with glee should that come up as a headline feature in the, well, let’s say in the next year or so.” Ash responded, “Yeah, I mean, hopefully it will be sooner than that, but at the same time it would be rather amiss if we launch a workbook that doesn’t talk about the IDML import feature.”

Based on that, the public estimate (I should call special attention to that word, especially as elsewhere in the interview Ash talked about the uncertainties of dates in development) is that IDML import should be available by the time the Publisher workbook becomes available, which itself is expected next year, hoped for the first half of next year.

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  • 2 weeks later...

i hope also for this because for me my cs6 now is totally gone because of OS Catalina (an I think we (@jefferis and me) are not alone with this.  I am happy with the Serif products. Yes some details are missing but it is very good to work with it.

 But sometimes i have to search things in old Indesign files and hope publisher is ready to made it in the (near :) ) future!

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3 hours ago, Petar Petrenko said:

It needs, actually, to have InDesign inside Publisher because ALL of InDesign features must be converted to Publisher's ones.

Not really, I suppose some tidbits will be ignored.

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On 10/21/2019 at 3:35 PM, HugoIII said:

my cs6 now is totally gone because of OS Catalina (an I think we (@jefferis and me) are not alone with this

That is the main reason many users are not going to update to Catalina.

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In anticipation of a way to convert InDesign files via IDML format, I now save all final InDesign project files as IDML as part of my project tidy up procedure. I'll also be going through past projects as time allows to do the same. Might not be a bad policy for all designers who are waiting for this update to do likewise in case they don't have access to Adobe products once they make the switch?

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13 minutes ago, JoDalry said:

In anticipation of a way to convert InDesign files via IDML format, I now save all final InDesign project files as IDML as part of my project tidy up procedure.

I would recommend creating high resolution PDF also, just in case IDML import is going to be postponed. In the worst case you can import the PDF quite well. This is my workflow, I am not going to rely on an import procedure that might come.

Windows 10 | i5-8500 CPU | Intel UHD 630 Graphics | 32 GB RAM | Latest Retail and Beta versions of complete Affinity range installed

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Yes they mostly work. They sometimes die on quit which means new defaults are not saved (or something like that). Colour preferences tend to cause trouble and I cannot all the time be sure if assigned colour profile has really taken (as opening old file can bring profile mismatch alert. Weird.)

Photoshop CS5 used to be unstable but it seems to be fixed by some Mojave update (I use both CS5 and 6).

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Last week I did a copy of a one page document (advertising) in Indesign and pasted to Affinity Publisher – and it was a pretty much a perfect match – with editable text. I just wanted to see if it was possible before recommending it to a client. It was. This of course requires you to be have both Adobe Indesign and Affinity Publisher installed on your Mac. Would be nice though being able to open IDML-files, but there's probably a lot of restrictions from Adobe – hefty price tag – to do so.

Adobe did the same when 'running over' Quark in the early days – when Quark didn't missed (wasn't ready to deal with) a Mac OS-upgrade) – allowing switchers to open Quark documents in Adobe Indesign.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I‘d like to give this topic a push because idml-support is also on my list of the most wanted features.  

Is there any update on this? any progress? 

Even more important for me would be a feature that would make it possible to create fillable PDFs forms in Publisher.  (No DP-Software i know of does that just right and compfortable and so it could be one killer feature)

Edited by Aphelon
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As a Professional designer who is freelance, I'm working for Design Agencies all the time.

Import .indd

None of them - not one is using Affinity. No designer I know is using Affinity. Plenty moan about the difficulties of subscription software.. actually they all do. They will not shift away from Adobe if they cannot open their archive of Indesign files though, no matter how painful Adobe might get. Certain types of Design Agency have to keep an archive of works because of the possibility of legal action some time in the future (I'm thinking those specialising in interpretation work for Museums and public bodies as an example). Also you never know when a client will come back and ask for that report you did three years ago to be used as a basis for another... so Import is really important. There's reasons why Design Agencies back-up and archive clients work.... otherwise they wouldn't bother.

Export .indd

The shift from Adobe to Affinity will be greatly helped by the ability to freely exchange work... if I could work in Affinity and pass the art to the Agency in a form they could open (**without any mucking-about or issues**) and work with it using their Adobe, then we have an ideal situation and no software related barriers to change. If there's any doubt I'm going to give my clients (Design Agencies) difficulty working with my files, I'll avoid-avoid affinity. So that's both: Import and export.


Yeah, if the Affinity future manifests and Adobe fades like QuarkXpress - (QuarkXpress who? Exactly) - then the need for import/export Indesign format should enter the land of "historic curiosity". Both import and export until that day will be the key that unlocks the avalanche of professional design businesses migrating to Affinity. (I have a feeling Adobe will go to war myself, hope Serif are prepared. They've been aggressive in the past).

You know, when I've mentioned Affinity to other designers, they've been entirely unaware of it. Freelancers like me who have the autonomy to decide what software they use may well have an influencer role by raising awareness in the industry.... I don't push it currently because it's not "there" yet. I tell them it's not ready yet, but also say "one to watch".... usually when they're fuming about Adobe.

Timing my run.. few years yet?

Totally get that the software has to be mature enough to have the two features added...  I've been monitoring the development of the Affinity suite for years now... trying to judge when to time my run. I ideally want to hit the sweet spot of going through the pain of migrating just before the swell. So I'm thinking it might be a bit early right now by quite a few years.... though the 'three' (Publisher, Photo & Designer) now in place is a milestone.




Mortgage Free Pro Designer - designing, illustrating and retouching stuff 100% of the working day, 100% of my career, 100% of my income.

User of InDesign since it was PageMaker v2 (yeah, that old, but not too old to learn new tricks).

Some of the new tricks over the years: Illustrator after FreeHand (Gold standard); PageMaker after QuarkXpress; InDesign after PageMaker; Flash (& ActionScript) after Director (& LIngo); early adopter touch pads; early adopter Google; ProCreate (Gold standard in focussed apps).

Edited by ProDesigner

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8 hours ago, ProDesigner said:

The shift from Adobe to Affinity will be greatly helped by the ability to freely exchange work... if I could work in Affinity and pass the art to the Agency in a form they could open (**without any mucking-about or issues**) and work with it using their Adobe

Everyone is aware of this. A-Team, too. I'm pretty sure they work on this solution and it will come soon. Not in 5 minutes as an answer to your post. Just wait. We all need this feature as many others. Just be patient.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 11/13/2019 at 6:52 PM, fde101 said:

IDML import is in the latest beta, with some limitations in terms of the features that are currently imported.

No word on IDML export, but they obviously needed to start somewhere... :27_sunglasses:

thanks for the info

... that feature will help Publisher to be more of a competitor and is the reason some people have not made the switch yet... more so if they also implement idml export somewhere in the near future

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