I'm currently using Adobe InDesign CS5.5 and Illustrator CS5.1. I'm working on a school project in which I have to make a book in InDesign and I would like to import either an AI file or PDF created in AI which has 4 artboards in it to ID. Are there any ways to directly import the artboards to InDesign?

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Place the file as usual with File > Place... (Cmd / Ctrl+D), but before clicking 'Open', check the 'Show Import Options' box. That way, you will have the options to choose the page / artboard you want to place. Simply repeat placing the file to place the other pages / artboards.

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It may not be very helpful in this instance since its only 4 pages, but if you're ever in need of importing/placing multiple pages which would be tough to do manually, there's an easy-to-use script that comes built-in with InDesign called PlaceMultiPagePDF.jsx. It can found in the Scripts panel under 'Samples → Javascript'. It works like a charm and is very efficient at quickly importing multi-page PDFs/Illustrator files (Illustrator because its easy enough to convert artboards to PDFs).

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We at Markzware have a tool called PDF2DTP. This is conventionally a PDF to InDesign conversion software. It will also convert most .AI Illustrator files into new InDesign documents as well. I say most, for you will have to have clicked on the "Create PDF compatible File" when saving the .ai file. (But that is on by default, so most are as such)

This is an Illustrator to InDesign conversion with all pages, geometry and placed images or elements. There generally will be some touching-up needed, but it can also pleasantly surprise! Here is a video on how that works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypyzFMKVxRE

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