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.
This feature is now available in latest InDesign CC version. Please upgrade to the latest release.
Raja, Gejaraj commented
Thanks Abhinav, I prefer option #4, as users will ensure that all the comments are properly imported by cross-verifying the comments and hope we'll have an option thro' Scripting to block the PDF generation process when the user is forgetting to hide the comments and retaining in the layout.
Also please confirm whether users will have an option to show again the comments after hiding the comments?
As you can see in specs, there is an option to show all the comments on the Id layout. For example, text will be highlighted if reviewer had used the highlight tool. Similarly, for a drawing tool, corresponding drawing would be shown on layout.
Consider the scenario: comments are shown on layout and user wants to edit the document. What is the
expectation in this scenario?
1) As soon as user starts to edit the document, all the comments hide automatically from layout (they will still be seen in the panel)
2) As soon as user selects a page item, all the comments attached to that page items hide automatically. All other comments on the layout will remain visible
3) Editing of document gets blocked until the time user hides all the comment on the layout
4) All comments remain visible on layout while user is editing the document. User can hide comments manually if need be.
Which option you prefer and why? We want to ensure that editing is not obstructed in any way.
Thanks Lindsey and Raja for your comments.
Answers to your queries:
1) Regarding unidentified comments: these will be comments which InDesign can't map properly if Id document had been modified before importing the comments. If document was not modified, all comments would map properly
2) All imported comments will persist with the Id document. However, these comments will not be exported if Id document is exported as PDF
3) Maintaining history of review round is not possible.
4) XML functionality is not impacted with this feature. It will continue to work as before
Steve Edwards commented
This sounds really good and I'm keen to get using it as soon as it's available. For us, the workflow would work really well as once we've sent a proof to the customer, it's very rare that we'll keep working on the document.
The history feature someone suggested would be a great idea too.
Lindsey Thomas Martin commented
This is moving very much in the right direction. I am eager to test.
 I don't understand the information about unidentified comments on page 9 of your demo.
 Very happy to see filtering by commenting tool used.
 Having to import to an unmodified document fits our workflow nicely but I can see difficulties in shops where the designers continue working on a publication while editorial proofs are with the authors.
Both  and  look as if they will increase the need for careful supervision of editors, designers and authors and create additional administrative overhead.
Raja, Gejaraj commented
Thanks Abhinav, sounds good. And for your question on mapping comments incorrectly for the modified InDesign document, looks okay for me, also expecting same from all. I also have some questions, which are shared below:
(1) Whether we can generate the PDF after importing the PDF comments with the markings to verify our internal QCs that all the comments given by the Authors are incorporated well as like the option available in Blacklining Plug-in?
(2) Whether it's possible to store the history of the comments imported in different rounds as like the option available in Blacklining Plug-in?
(3) I believe it's not possible, still asking this question, whether XML related changes will be taken care after importing the comments especially the formatting related changes?
Please let me know, if you need clarifications on any of the above given details.
Rhiannon Miller commented
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
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
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.
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?
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.
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
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
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
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!
Axel Schellkopf commented
The proposed workflow would perfectly fit my needs.
Tobias Wantzen commented
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
Tobias Wantzen commented
I strongly second Rune Eilertsen’s comment!
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.
Rune Eilertsen commented
It should be possible to accept/reject changes in inserted and deleted text.