How to recover an indesign file

Updated July 20, 2017

InDesign protects document data against unexpected power or system failures with an automatic recovery feature. Although this features exist, designers should save documents often and create backup files in case of an unexpected hardware or software conflict, system errors, power outages or other problems.

Restart the computer as soon as the file is lost. While changes are being made in a document, InDesign performs quick saves to the document about once a minute. The program stores the changes in temporary files in the InDesign Recovery folder (although, the folder's temporary files are replaced by permanent files when the user properly saves a document). If InDesign shuts down unexpectedly, the program will automatically use the temporary files to recover any unsaved changes to the document.

Start InDesign. InDesign automatically displays the recovered document and includes "[Recovered]" in the document's name. For example, a recovered file would show, "My File [Recovered]." InDesign will ask whether the user wants to overwrite the original document during a proper save. Select "Yes" to overwrite and remove "[Recovered]" from the document's name. If InDesign fails to open a document using automatic recovery, the recovered data may have been corrupted.

Choose "Edit" in the menu bar and select "Preferences," then "File Handling" for Windows to change the location of the recovered documents. For Mac OS, select "InDesign" in the menubar, then "Preferences" and, finally, "File Handling."

Click "Browse" in Windows or "Choose" on a Mac in the Document Recovery Data dialogue box.

Specify the new location for the recovered document and click "Select" for Windows or "Choose" for Mac. Click "OK" to finalise.

Choose "File" in the menubar and select "Revert" to undo all changes made since the last time the document was saved, if desired.

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About the Author

Elyse Gibbons started writing in 2006 as a contributing reporter for the "Press-Republican." In 2009 she became an interim managing editor for CNHI Publications, then returned to editorial writing in 2010 as a senior reporter for the "Malone Telegram." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Plattsburgh State University.