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How to convert a PDF to an INDD image file

by Casey Schmidt  |  January 10, 2020

3 min. read
An arrow with digital prints inside.

The PDF is a powerful multimedia document that allows for secure sharing. There are times, however, when it fails to live up to user expectations. When this is the case, it’s important to know how to convert it. Here’s a guide to show how to convert the PDF to INDD.

What is a PDF?

The PDF document file stands for Portable Document Format and is a format which deals with printed documents. Within a PDF, users can search for specific terms and view hyperlinks. PDFs house multimedia like audio and video. They’re also very secure and accessible for a lot of different systems.

What is an INDD?

The INDD extension is the standard digital file format for the Adobe InDesign software program. The InDesign file extension typically contains things such as layouts and page data. It’s often used when creating things like newspapers, flyers and other advertising layouts. INDD is perfect for all types of graphic design.

A picture of the INDD file icon.
The INDD is great for publishing layouts.

How to convert the PDF to INDD

Though it is possible to export a file from INDD in PDF format, the inverse isn’t easy. There are ways to think outside the box and bring all your elements of a PDF into an INDD. However, this is just too much work. Instead, you’ll want to use a converter of some sort to automatically change the format. Typically, there’s a few different ways to automate the conversion process. However, since this conversion is so unique, the only way to accomplish it is through a system-based converter.

System-based converters are great for users who have a lot of hard drive space and limited internet access. They allow for conversion of a lot of files all at once. There are two programs I personally believe in, starting with PDFelement. This program not only converts PDFs to INDD files, it also is capable of numerous other format conversions. The other system I suggest PDF2ID, which is exclusively for converting PDF to INDD.

Connected digital points.
Sometimes, a conversion is necessary.

Why convert a PDF to INDD?

The elements of a PDF are very hard to edit, making them sort of locked into place the way they were intended. Unfortunately, this isn’t always a good thing for all parties involved. Sometimes users have specific intentions with a PDF they need to actualize. Whether it’s share it with someone for the purpose of editing or edit it themselves extensively, sometimes the PDF does better as an INDD.

As mentioned above, sometimes a PDF needs to be edited. By converting it to a INDD, users are able to use the elements within the PDF inside the Adobe InDesign program. This allows for plenty of in-depth editing. In fact, it’s overall pretty tough to edit a PDF in any manner without first converting it to a different file type.

The PDF ultimately is sometimes too secure for its own good. It prevents users from editing it extensively or accessing it easily. When this limits your work, make sure you know how to convert it.