Output Single Page PDFs from InDesign

Let’s say you have a magazine or book you’ve created in Adobe InDesign and your printer requires single-page PDFs with specific names and page-numbering. I have always accomplished this by outputting a massive single-file PDF and then exporting the pages individually in Adobe Acrobat. That works, but it seems like there must be a better way.

There is!

(Read more on opensource.com)

I found a script by reading David Blatner’s InDesign Secrets from September 4, 2007. This has been around for ten years, who knew! The script is called Page Exporter Utility (PEU) and the version I used is 5.0.1 for the Mac. I have rarely used scripts in InDesign so I was a bit uncertain it would work or I’d be able to do it, but it was really easy. I’ll expand on Mr. Blatner’s article with step-by-step instructions on how I did it.

First, get the files, which are available from that article.

Unzip the archive and place the script in the InDesign folder in Applications (fig 1).

location of script in application folder


Then, with InDesign open, you find where the script is in Window>>Utilities>>Scripts (fig 2)

location of script in InDesign

Fig 3 shows the Script Panel in InDesign.

script panel in InDesign

Fig 4 shows the opening box of the script. In my case, I chose PDF and left the Base Name alone, which is the InDesign document name.

script start box

Fig 5 shows the PDF Presets. Choose the PDF setting that you normally would for your project.

select PDF output options

Fig 6 is fun with script editing! If you have the Adobe Extendscript Editor installed (or get from Creative Cloud as part of your subscription), you can make modifications to the code, which is open source. Here’s the attribution from the code itself (website didn’t work for me):
// Copyright (C) 2007 Scott Zanelli. Lonelytree Software. (www.lonelytreesw.com)
// Coming to you from Quincy, MA, USA

// This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or
// modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License
// as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2
// of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

extendscript toolkit

I changed the default Cancel message so it would address me personally (fig 7).

edit open source script as desired

The last thing I did was batch rename the files from Mac’s Finder. I opened the folder that contained my PDFs, select All (cmd-A), right click, then entered my renaming parameters. Fig 8 shows an example of what this looks like.

rename files

And, of course, check the output in Adobe Acrobat to make sure it worked as expected.

I hope this helps anyone struggling with creating single-page PDFs from Adobe InDesign. Thank you for reading.