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I'm making materials to teach children how to read, and the two main products are

  1. A primer book so children can follow a lesson, and
  2. A teachers' guide that includes a preview of the corresponding page from the student primer surrounded by explanations and directions for that lesson.

Here's an example: Teachers' guide with view of the corresponding lesson from student textbook

I've designed a template for the student primer, and I'm ready to start the teachers' guide. What workflow can I use so that the lesson preview in the teachers' guide will automatically update when I change the student primer?

I don't want to have to copy/paste or recreate pages from the student primer in the teachers' guide.

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Export the Student Primer as a PDF.

Use File > Place in InDesign when working on the Teacher's Guide to place individual pages from the Student Guide PDF as needed.

If the Student Primer changes, export again as a PDF with the same file name as previously used and make certain it's in the same location as the previous Primer PDF.

InDesign will ask if you want to update images in the Teacher's Guide when the Student's Primer has changed.

Basically... InDesign will treat placed pages of a PDF the same way it treats linked images.

Really you can just File > Place pages from the Primer directly into the Teacher's Guide. They'll be treated like placed images. I merely prefer the PDF method for organization purposes and better control over actual updates.

  • Important details: In the File > Place… dialog, there is a hard-to-see button for Options with a checkbox Show Import Options. That is the only way to manually place more than the first page. If you want a script to automatically post more than one page, do Window > Utilities > Scripts > Application > Samples > Javascript > PlaceMultipagePDF.jsx. – Merchako Aug 31 '17 at 17:26
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You could simply place the StudentBook.indd in the TeacherBook.indd.
Placing an indd file works just like placing graphics: if you modify the Student Book file, you'll just have to update your links.

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