How can we improve InDesign?

Make InDesign be able to import/Export comments from/to PDF

I want to be able to get the comments from PDF into InDesign so that I can easily incorporate/respond on the comments from people.

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    Jesper shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

    Hello All,

    InDesign team is targeting to implement the “Import” part of this feature. This means an InDesign user will be able to import the PDF comments in InDesign. He will not be able to export the comments though.

    Mentioned below is the proposed solution workflow. Kindly provide your feedback on the proposed workflow: Does the proposed solution solves your pain-point? What are the concerns (if any) you see in the proposed solution?

    Proposed Workflow
    • User will be able to import the comments from one or multiple reviewed PDFs into InDesign
    • All the comments will be seen in a dedicated panel in InDesign
    • Except the following tools (Attach File, Record Audio, Stamp, Polygon, Cloud, Connected Lines), all other commenting tools (of Acrobat) will be supported
    • Once a user clicks on a comment in the panel, the relevant portion of the layout (which that comments is referencing to) will be highlighted
    • User can mark comments as resolved – they will be archived
    • User can copy the text from the comment panel and paste onto the layout
    • Due to incorporation of a comment, if layout changes, all remaining comments will still continue to refer the correct location/object on the layout

    Note: For this feature to work correctly, it is important that user imports the comments in the same InDesign document from which initially PDF was exported for review. This means source InDesign document should not be changed before importing the comments

    Abhinav Agarwal


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      • Rhiannon Miller commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Thanks Abhniav. When you say that the comments should be imported to the same InDesign document, will that still work if you import them into a copy of the document?

        Also, can you confirm that the InDesign user will have a chance to inspect and approve e.g. additions and deletions before they are applied?

      • Barb Binder commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        This all sounds like a good start, Abhinav, but what I don't see is a reference to connecting the traditional mark up tools (Add text, Delete text and Replace text tools) with track changes. Again, in FrameMaker, after importing the markup, we can accept or reject the changes. Is this under consideration?

      • Lindsey Thomas Martin commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I still want the ability to export notes to PDF but I'm happy to see you moving ahead with import. The proposed workflow sounds good to me but I'd like more information about what you consider to be 'the relevant portion of the layout' referenced by a comment and how that is to be highlighted.

      • Sandee Cohen commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        More questions:

        1) If a comment is resolved and archived, can I get a text file with all the comments, authors, etc?

        2) When text from comment is pasted into document, will it take on the formatting, style, etc. of the paragraph it is going into? I really don't want to have to clean up text that comes in as Helvetica 18 in my Minion Pro 9 point paragraphs.

        3) I'm confused by your last point. If I import comments, then as I work, the text reflows down, will the Comment panel show the original position of the comment? Or will it travel with the text to show the new position of the comment?

      • Sandee Cohen commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Here are some questions:

        1) How much is the text highlighted. For instance, if my editor uses the Insert Text at Cursor comment tool, and clicks between the words "endThe" and then types a period, at the moment only the period shows in the comment window. It won't help me know where that period is supposed to go if the only text that is highlighted is the inserted period. I don't know how to fix this, but a single highlighted period will not be useful.

        2) Same thing as above with underline and strikethrough text comments. Highlighting a single strikethrough single quote in the text "'quote" isn't going to be easy to find.

        3) Will text marked with the yellow highlight tool show that highlight? Many times that's the only way to tell how much the editor wants made bold, italic, etc.

        4) What's going to happen if the PDF is circulated and some people respond to other's comments? Will I see that train of comments?

        5) What happens to a sticky note that is sitting in whitespace with no text to highlight? What will get highlighted? How will I know what it is referring to?

        6) How will you handle things like lines, arrows, and text callouts that point to specific things?

        I know this has been a huge request for many years, but the feature feels like it is mostly for text edit comments. I have so many image-related comments that I'm going to end up working side by side with PDF and ID docs just like before.

      • Sandee Cohen commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I'm disappointed that Stamp, Polygon, Cloud, and Connected Lines will not be supported. Polygon, Cloud, and Connected lines are often used to surround, highlight, or call attention to images and areas without images. It would be difficult for me to explain to everyone who would see my PDFs how they should comment.

        Using the Stamp tool is also necessary. I have a few custom stamps with logos, signatures, etc that are used as part of the approval process for documents. And I routinely use the "Sign Here" stamps.

        If you can't import these tools, these are the workarounds I would want:

        1) At the very least I would like an alert to show up to explain there were x# of comments that were not imported. This would be a help but I would still have to wade through the PDF to try to figure out what isn't in my ID document. This would make the imported comments almost useless. It's almost as bad as if some imported comments were missing and I didn't know it.

        2) In the alert a list of what type of comments and their page numbers. This would help make my first note here useful. But if the list is only an alert that would be lost after I click "Import" it would still be a problem. I should be able to get a text file that I could place into the ID document with the page numbers, locations, comments, and author of thos missing comments.

        3) BEST POSSIBLE SOLUTION: A way to convert the non-supported comments into supported ones that can be imported. These comments would have a note in the comment section that would explain that they were originally a stamp or cloud.

        I have more thoughts, but I'll cover them in a separate note.

      • Kelly Vaughn commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        When the comments are imported, would they appear in the layout like they did in the PDF? As sticky notes and rectangles and such? Or would it just say “sticky note” or “rectangle” like it does in the comments pane of Acrobat?

        I ask because often, a client will draw a rectangle around some text and say “move this text to page X.” But if the rectangle doesn’t appear in InDesign (and only the content of the comment does”, that would not be helpful. I would still have to open the original PDF to see what block of text they were referring to.

        Also, will the note color and icon be displayed in the new dedicated panel?

        Another thing, if the comments are going to be in a dedicated panel, how does that affect the current Notes panel?

      • Claudia McCue commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        This would be very useful. What would be even more useful is a 2-way capability, including yellow "sticky notes" in InDesign.

      • Steve Edwards commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        This sounds like it would work perfectly for us based on your proposed workflow. Most of the changes we get have other notes that aren't to go into the document so it would be good to be able to cherry pick parts from the comments to then put into the document. It sounds like that's how it's going to work anyway so all good!

      • Tobias Wantzen commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        It would be a huge timesaver to accept/reject inserted, deleted text comments from Acrobat by clicking through them with the following options:
        accept and next
        accept and previous
        reject and next
        reject and previsous
        accept all
        reject all

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Hi Abhinav. Thanks for the feedback. Looking forward to seeing this feature in Indesign. Could you please also add a sticky note tool in Indesign, allowing creatives to add comments for the client ? Designers should have the option to export a PDF-file with or without sticky notes.

      • Begonia commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I have the same comment than Kelly Vaughn. I daily use InDesign but all my co-workers work on word or PDF. InCopy is of no use for us. But a workflow PDF-InDesign would be an improvement. A workflow word-InDesign would be the top. Thanks.

      • Matt Mayerchak commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I use Annotations plugin from DTP Tools for this ALL THE TIME with many editors and it works well! If Adobe could build something like this into InDesign, so much the better.

        I have never understood why people say you should work back to front using Annotations. Once you import the annotations into the document, they move with the text so it's not a problem at all to work from the front. You just don't want to edit the InDesign file before importing the comments. And, turning off preflight improves the success rate for importing comments.

      • Lindsey Thomas Martin commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Abhinav, Thanks for this. I'm not up for a full beta programme at the moment but, when you start work on this feature, let us know and I'll test as needed.

      • Lindsey Thomas Martin commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        The InDesign-InCopy workflow is fine for a publishing house with a staff of editors, designers, typesetters, and tech support. My work is with economists and policy analysts, in and out of house, who write in MSWord using only the minimal set of features necessary for them to complete a paper. I can usually induce them to mark-up proofs in Acrobat. They will not learn to use InCopy and they and their organisations will not invest in setting up such a system. Add to this that these authors are spread around the world and many do not have the resources to adopt InCopy. In addition, many travel internationally a great deal, making their revisions on aeroplanes or in hotels and aeroports.

        Now, if InCopy were free and easy to use while disconnected …

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