How to repair InDesign document that categorically crashes the Application


I have a document that I created that now categorically crashes ID. I've tried opening the file on multiple computers (Windows) and multiple versions of ID (7 and 8). The document opens, and then, the app locks up.

The last time I was able to work with the file, I was resizing the bottom of a text box and the app malfunctioned (there's a bit of a bug with resizing / reflowing text files, maybe it's my graphics driver). The app crashed, and since then, nothing.

Anyone have strategies that would allow me to recover this file?

9/11/2012 4:26:00 PM

The first approach to debugging an InDesign file that crashes is to save it (export, in versions earlier than CS6) as an IDML. Opening the IDML in InDesign will create a new INDD based on the saved XML information.

This has another benefit: InDesign files grow the more you edit them. Internally, an INDD is a database, and it doesn't shrink as much as it grows while you are working on it. The INDD > IDML > new INDD cleans out all the cruft.

If you are still experiencing crashes after this, look for corrupted or damaged fonts and any EPS files placed as images in the layout.

Replacing all fonts in a test copy of the document with something that's known to be good (like Minion) is a good way to eliminate or confirm fonts as a problem. If the issue goes away, one or more of the fonts in the original is defective. Once you figure out which, either pick a different font or download a more up to date version and use that.

Some older EPS files have picked up nasty habits from hanging out in low places. I've known and heard of several instances where a document would crash on a certain page, or while printing or updating (page count or a TOC), and the problem traced to an EPS.

Adobe has a good list of InDesign document troubleshooting tips here.

A few years ago, an engineer on the InDesign team called Tommy Donovan was more than willing to take a look at any problematic INDD. I don't know if he's still actively engaged, but he posted this on the Adobe InDesign forum:

If your file is small enough for email, you can send them directly to me ([email protected]).

For larger files, you can post them somewhere for me to download, or you can upload them to our customer support FTP server. Here are instructions uploading to our FTP server:

If all else fails, and the file is critical, Markzware has an InDesign file rescue service (free if they can't fix it).

9/12/2012 4:31:00 AM