How can we improve InDesign?

Actions Panel

An Actions Panel that runs the same type of Recording/Playing features as Photoshop and Illustrator already have would be fantastic.

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Tom Miatke shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

Hello All,

Kindly provide more information about this ask. How do you plan to use the Action Panel in InDesign? Do you want it to work exactly like that in Photoshop? What are the most important actions/operations that you want to record?

Abhinav Agarwal
Product Manger – InDesign


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  • nora commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Actions would be amazing to have in indesign. Exactly the same way like on Photoshop. Every project is different so different operations will be needed.

  • Stephen_A_Marsh commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I would challenge anyone to deny the usefulness of actions in Photoshop, despite action limitations and the power of scripting. Scripting development is not accessible to the average GUI based user. Actions are very accessible and if implemented correctly (i.e. Photoshop) they are fantastic… If implemented incorrectly (i.e. Illustrator) they are often frustrating (i.e. not recording values entered into dialog boxes).

  • JThoeming commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Mostly asked is something like the »Macro Recorder« in Word and store it, for example, as javascript.

    The good - you can make changes or additions etc. (if you know what to do) ... the bad - you can make changes or additions etc. (even if you dont know what to do) :0) ... but this is the same to all external scripts which can be edited.

    For rudimentary processes »macro recording« is certainly sufficient for most people.


  • Dot commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    This has 56 votes as of today. Why are there STILL no Actions in InDesign like Illustrator and Photoshop?

    Most important for me would be applying series of style sheets, GREPs and Find/Replace to client's Word files, especially in places where Next Style can not work.

    There have been many others over the years.

  • Colin Flashman commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    If the actions panel could work in a similar manner to how actions work in photoshop or illustrator, that would be greatly appreciated. Currently, to add recursion to boring tasks, this involves either having a javascript on hand that can perform the said task, or knowing how to write a javascript to do the same. An action panel removes the need to understand javascript for most users in order to add recursion to mundane or repetitive tasks.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    As I sit here reformatting 168 pages of client-supplied text by selecting an individual paragraph, applying a particular (nested) Style, then running a series of Find/Change queries which require being performed in a certain order…yes, I'd love an Action panel!

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Like the one in photoshop, but with the added ability to assign any shortcuts, PS only supports F1,F2, etc.. but it'd be nice if we could use any key.

  • Bastian Saris commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Basicly stuff that you would usualy do with a script..
    1: Show Layer 2, Export PDF, Hide Layer 2 / Show Layer 3, Export PDF... and so on (some Projects are done in the same file on different Layers.)
    2: Adding your most used GREPS to a new Paragraphstyle that's different from your previous so you can't just import it.
    3. Write a Fix Action to force refresh textboxes since indesign sometimes fails to do so when doing heavy DatabasePublishing with InDesign. (Like enter every Textbox - add a space and remove it or change a Paragraph Style and then change it back both works to fix this issue)
    4. Copy something - Paste it into a new document with the size of the Copied item and export as Transparent PNG.
    5. Execute common Searches to fix mistakes - Like a Set of GREP Searches to fix double Spaces etc. (I know there is a script for that..)
    6. Set your standard Settings for Checkboxes / Textboxes in Interactive PDF Files (Which still needs to be improved btw - we need more options in InDesign >:O)
    7. Remove all unused Paragraphstyles / Colors etc. at the same time - add colors that don't have a swatch to the swatches etc. (an action to clean up the Document)
    8. As an easy Way to paste sample Text that we want and not the one you provide to test Fonts.
    9. Write an Action to switch objects positions after left and righthand pages have been switched due to to an inserted page.
    10. Copy Missing Links Paths - create a new Document and paste the Links.
    11. Create a Spread of Images with DPI / Size and Name (I still know there are scripts for some stuff of this... iam just trying to give ideas :))
    12. Remove linked Textboxes and Paste the Text of the content in 2 independend boxes (yeah... you guess it - there is a script for this)
    13. Create a list of all Images Below "X" dpi and the Page that they are on (usualy done in preflight - but a list to send to the customer would be nice.)

    The downside to scripts is they can't be modified my most People working with InDesign - Thats why actions in Photoshop are so popular. They can be mofidied easily and by everyone without knowing how to write any code or anything else.

    I hope this are more than enough ideas :)

  • Lam H. Nguyen commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Yes, it would be great if it worked like Photoshop. I may use this action in InDesign for repetitive task like find and replace ™, ® and others all with one action.


  • Bob Rubey commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Yes, an Action panel more like Photoshop. Illustrator's implementation is weak.

    I recently had a job that required several repetitive steps including scale, rotate, center, and change transparency. Having to do that a few times isn't a big deal, but doing it over 200 times was a PITA. An action/shortcut key assigned to those steps would have saved me some time.

  • Pierre Ruiz commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Hello, I'd like to use an action panel like in Photoshop, to create scripts on the fly. I have no programming skills like many graphic designers and I would never be able to script in jsx, that's why an alternative is really expected.
    If in addition the saved actions could be saved as .jsx as with script listener in Photoshop it would be great

  • Dhafir commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I need to use this feature to make action for daily repeated things and give it every one a shortcut.
    Such as:
    - Apply style to certain master pages, like none to empty pages, and chapter master page to page has a chapter title, ... etc.
    - Chain GREP queries in one action.
    - Draw or make an object with style in certain position of page or margin.
    - Import pics from the folder and put it in their frames.
    - Move selected to another page, document, or file.
    - Change color, such as: every red to blue.
    - Change color document mode, RGB to Grayscale.
    And more and more, in one click!
    Thanks a lot

  • Justin commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I find the Photoshop actions panel more intuitive than Illustrator, so would prefer that. I'd use it for things like taking all the text on a layer and converting it to outlines. Or applying set object styles (and subsequent text styles) to all objects on certain layers, so I could style some repetitive jobs just by putting the unstyled text frames on relevant layers and launching the action. Anything I can think of really. An option to ignore (or preset responses) to dialog boxes as they came up would be an awesome part of the feature too.

  • A.C. commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    That's such an obvious request but it never occurred to me!

    Would be a great idea, the only thing is in my case it would have be very subjective in practice to be of any real use.

    For example would it count using GREP F/C queries as actions (which would partially answer a request I made for a batching feature), and if so, how would it respond if say, a colleague copied across the action (I assume they'd be easy to transfer/load, like paragraph styles etc.?) without the GREPs already in place on their system? Or would it be smart enough to create them if they weren't in place? If it could actually do that last part it would be amazing.

    Either way, you have my vote.

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