How to fix a corrupt indesign file

Written by sarah simmons
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How to fix a corrupt indesign file
Back up your InDesign files for peace of mind. (the programmer and a computer image by Andrey Andreev from

The powerful layout program Adobe InDesign offers many features. Sometimes a document has corrupt elements that cause it to quit unexpectedly while you are working. Adobe-certified trainer Anne-Marie Concepcion recommends exporting a corrupt document in the Interchange file format. The Interchange (.inx) format, which you can use to save back to an earlier version of InDesign, also serves as a filter, or scrubber, taking out corrupt elements such as spot colours that won't delete or fonts that won't allow replacement.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Adobe InDesign

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  1. 1

    With your corrupt document open, choose "Export" from the drop-down File menu. A document window will open. At the top of the window, give your file a name, and choose a location for saving. From the drop-down Format menu at the bottom of the dialogue box choose "Interchange (INX)." Click "Save." Depending on the size of your document, the process may take some time. Files of 100 megabytes or more may take two to five minutes to process, depending on the complexity of the design elements.

  2. 2

    Close your original document. Open the .inx file you just created. The new file will open as an untitled document.

  3. 3

    Save your new document as an InDesign file, using the "Save As" command. As you scroll through your document, you may see grey boxes in place of images. Update the images in your Links palette so the images will preview correctly.

  4. 4

    Check your new document to see if it still exhibits corruption. If it does, repeat the Interchange process on the new file.

Tips and warnings

  • Sometimes an element such as a text box or a photo box causes corruption in an InDesign file. Try deleting elements. By the process of elimination, you may be able to pinpoint the corrupt element.
  • If your InDesign document is so corrupt that the Interchange process will not work, go back to an earlier version of your document and begin rebuilding.

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