How to troubleshoot an IDML file effectively

If you are experiencing an issue with an INDD or IDML document, the first step is to identify which elements are causing problems.

We can do this by trying to limit our search to a few single pages. To be more effective, we can use several scripts to:

  1. Break down the document into single-page INDD documents.
  2. Convert each single-page INDD document to IDML.
  3. Check if any of the IDML files created have an unusual size. The size of each IDML file should be around 300kb or less.

⚠️ Before moving ahead with this guide, make sure to export and link any pasted or embedded images as well.

1. Break down the document into single-page INDD documents

The script we will use for this part is only available in German. However, even if you can’t read German, I will guide you on how to install and run the script.

  1. Open your InDesign document in InDesign.
  2. Download and install the script “DokumentAufsplitten” from Hans Haesler (Look for “Split a Document in Several Sections” on this page). The script allows you to split a document into several sections.

    🗣 In case you're unfamiliar with installing or running a script in InDesign, you can follow this guide: Installing an InDesign script.

  3. Make sure you have saved your document in INDD file format, and run the script.
  4. In the script pop-up, select Jede Seite ein Dokument, and click OK.
  5. Again in the script pop-up, select mit ursprünglicher Seitennummer, and click OK .
  6. In the folder where your document is saved, the script will create a new folder with the name of the document. Then, it will start breaking down your document into single-page INDD documents.

2. Convert each single-page INDD document to IDML

After the first script has created all the single-page INDD documents, we can use another script to convert these documents into the IDML format.

  1. Follow this guide to convert the INDD documents to IDML.

3. Look for IDML files with an unusual size

  1. Open the folder that contains your single-page IDML documents and arrange them by size.
  2. Look for any IDML file with an unusual size. We should expect each IDML to weight less than 300kb.
  3. If you find an IDML file that weighs much more than 300kb, try to remove the elements inside until you find the one that’s causing the large file size (Start with the images and tables).


If you are still experiencing issues after following this guide, you might want to consider rebuilding your document using the best practices of working with InDesign (click this link to download our free ebook).

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