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Quick Tip: How to Fix Corrupt InDesign Files

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Read Time: 2 mins
This post is part of a series called Beginners Guides to InDesign.
Quick Tip: An Introduction to Scripts in InDesign CS5
Quick Tip: Eleven Tricks That Will Help Your Workflow in InDesign

If you regularly use InDesign, you may find that from time to time a file may be corrupt and glitch. In this Quick Tip you will learn a technique that may help recover your file in just a few easy steps.


If you have a file that wont open, keeps crashing or doesn't preview properly try this Quick Tip to solve the problem. I came across this information a couple of years ago and it has proved invaluable. I can't promise this will fix every file but in my experience it has worked most of the time, so I thought it was worth passing on. This method only works on corrupt InDesign files that open. If your file doesn't open skip to Step 6 for another solution.

Step 1 : If you Can Open the File but it's Corrupted

Ok, let's start by opening the corrupt file. Once open go to File > Export

Step 2

Within the export panel select "InDesign Interchange" from the drop down menu. Name it and save it to your preferred location. If everything has gone smoothly the extension should look like this: filename.inx

Step 2 : If You Are Using CS5

Within InDesign CS5 the IDML format has replaced the Interchange INX format, so instead of selecting "InDesign Interchange", select "InDesign Markup".

Step 3

Now close the corrupt file and open the new .inx file you just created. When the .inx file opens within InDesign you will notice that it is classed as an "Untitled Document". More importantly all of the original content / design should be present and bug free.

Step 4

Ok, double check that the bug has been removed. So for example, if InDesign kept crashing when you tried to resize a particular image frame, try performing this task. Hopefully all is good and the bug has gone. Now check all your links and typefaces are linked correctly. I always check images, colors and typefaces by using the preflight option File > Preflight

Step 5

When the file has been checked and all is in order go to File > Save and select the destination where you want to save your new document. That's it! You should now have a fully restored InDesign file.

Step 6 : If you Can't Open the File

Ok, all of the above is fine if you can open your file, however what if you cant? Well the only other solid solution I have came across on the net is a company named Markzware. They basically offer a service where they will take your file and attempt to fix and re-supply an uncorrupt file. For more details visit Markzware


I have only dealt with and needed these two solutions for fixing my corrupt files. However, if you have a different solution, leave a comment in the section below, we would love to know about them.

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