I have a document that I created that now categorically crashes ID. I've tried opening the file on multiple computers (Windows) and multiple versions of ID (7 and 8). The document opens, and then, the app locks up.

The last time I was able to work with the file, I was resizing the bottom of a text box and the app malfunctioned (there's a bit of a bug with resizing / reflowing text files, maybe it's my graphics driver). The app crashed, and since then, nothing.

Anyone have strategies that would allow me to recover this file?

  • I won't answer, because I am brainstorming, but try disabling GPU acceleration, uninstall all the typefaces you are using in the document if possible, and disable all plugins. Also, move all assets (linked files) used to a different location. Then try opening the document again. – horatio Sep 13 '12 at 14:18

The first approach to debugging an InDesign file that crashes is to save it (export, in versions earlier than CS6) as an IDML. Opening the IDML in InDesign will create a new INDD based on the saved XML information.

This has another benefit: InDesign files grow the more you edit them. Internally, an INDD is a database, and it doesn't shrink as much as it grows while you are working on it. The INDD > IDML > new INDD cleans out all the cruft.

If you are still experiencing crashes after this, look for corrupted or damaged fonts and any EPS files placed as images in the layout.

Replacing all fonts in a test copy of the document with something that's known to be good (like Minion) is a good way to eliminate or confirm fonts as a problem. If the issue goes away, one or more of the fonts in the original is defective. Once you figure out which, either pick a different font or download a more up to date version and use that.

Some older EPS files have picked up nasty habits from hanging out in low places. I've known and heard of several instances where a document would crash on a certain page, or while printing or updating (page count or a TOC), and the problem traced to an EPS.

Adobe has a good list of InDesign document troubleshooting tips here.

A few years ago, an engineer on the InDesign team called Tommy Donovan was more than willing to take a look at any problematic INDD. I don't know if he's still actively engaged, but he posted this on the Adobe InDesign forum:

If your file is small enough for email, you can send them directly to me (tomdonov@adobe.com).

For larger files, you can post them somewhere for me to download, or you can upload them to our customer support FTP server. Here are instructions uploading to our FTP server: http://www.adobe.com/go/kb402038

If all else fails, and the file is critical, Markzware has an InDesign file rescue service (free if they can't fix it).

  • Thanks Alan. Unfortunately, as I mention in my original question: "The document opens, and then, the app locks up." I probably wasn't clear enough. The point is that the application crashes immediately after the file loads. There is no time to save as an IDML or do anything else. Your tip about Tom Donovan might be helpful. Thanks for the response! – Tom Auger Sep 12 '12 at 12:31
  • If you don't get anywhere with that, I'll find out from the product team if there's someone else doing this kind of thing. For obvious reasons, this is a point of great interest to them. – Alan Gilbertson Sep 12 '12 at 20:02
  • Any luck with the file? – Alan Gilbertson Sep 14 '12 at 5:43
  • THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! I worked 10 hours straight yesterday on a report saving versions as I went along. Very complicated document. Then this morning every time I got to page 22 - BAM! ID quit on me. Tried on another Mac - BAM! I was flipping out. I followed you instructions and saved as the IDML then reopened it. Its fine now. Hope it stays that way. BTW, Your solution superior the the convoluted solution Adobe has on their sight. – user21149 Mar 27 '14 at 6:55

You can use the Place command to place one Indesign document into another. But the placed document is not editable. This may help for a few pages. But overall I believe the only real option is to rebuild the file.


I'm working with InDesign 5.5 and my file started crashing just a minute into working with it and trying to browse btw pages. Exporting to IDML and re-opening solved the problem!


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