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A simple guide to package and share InDesign files

by Casey Schmidt  |  March 23, 2020

3 min. read
Digital folders on a yellow platform.

The Adobe InDesign files (extension INDD) are packed with different fonts, graphics and links. In order to send them in the manner you have created them, you need to first package them. The following is a complete breakdown of how and why to package your INDD files. First, let’s be sure you have a clear understanding of the INDD and its functions.

What is an InDesign file?

The InDesign file format is the file extension used by the software system Adobe InDesign. It includes a wide array of unique elements such as page data, layouts and more. The INDD is typically used for professional, business creations such as marketing layouts, flyers and newspapers. The INDD lets users add text and graphics without disrupting the overall layout of a project.

Why package InDesign files?

When sharing anything that has the InDesign file extension, it’s important to have all the elements in their right place. Because of the complexity and many variables of an INDD project, sometimes things like fonts or links get lost during the sharing process. Packaging the files is the solution to this problem. It ensures a consistent flow from one process to the next, keeping things like layouts and structures of a project in the right place.

A row of empty bottles.
Packaging behaves similarly to mail tracking systems.

Think of this process like physically sending something in the mail. For example, let’s say you have ten different bottles to send all to the same place. You could place them into ten separate containers and send them individually. However, this is a cluttered option that lacks efficiency. You should instead decide to place them all into the same box and only have to send one item now. This is the idea behind the packaging utility for InDesign.

Necessary preparations to undergo

Before packaging your file, make sure you know what’s about to take place and how to prepare everything correctly. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by naming or renaming all of the included files something uniform. This keeps everything neat and tidy. Next, check to see if the potential recipients have the same access to the fonts you used. This is especially important when sending the INDD to another team member who needs to further edit it. Finally, check your links to make sure they’re all valid.

Now that you have everything ready to go, it’s important to know what happens you package it. Packaging the INDD file creates a new folder, which you can name whatever best details its contents. It then places all the materials necessary from the document inside the folder, such as fonts and links. This is then ready to email and share, depending on the size limits of your specific emailing systems.

A folder in front of digital numbers.
Take the right path to ensure everything goes smoothly.

Step-by-step instructions to package InDesign files

  1. Open Adobe InDesign and load the intended INDD file you wish to package
  2. Under the ‘File’ menu, select ‘Package’
  3. Click the ‘Package’ button on the popup window
  4. Click ‘Continue’
  5. Select where you would prefer the file to be packaged to on your computer
  6. Click ‘Package’

You can now locate all the contents of the packaged file in your newly created folder. From there, you’re able to compress and send the contents to other users. Different tools are able to unpackage these files. It’s likely even that whichever operating system you (or whoever you share your file with) use has a way to open these files naturally without any third party software tools.

Because INDD files don’t share the same way other digital assets do, use the package option to share all of the contents of your INDD file in an orderly fashion. The better your understanding of this process, the quicker you’ll finish projects.