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Correct Way to Import and Convert PDF to InDesign

Importing or Converting PDF to InDesign


The purpose of this article is to provide clear and precise knowledge and solutions when working with PDF files and InDesign. We cover the topics of Importing a PDF into InDesign as a static object and separately Converting a PDF into an InDesign document type which is editable.


Adobe InDesign is the go-to product for your daily Desktop Publishing needs. However, in a Creative Professionals workflow, many a times, you end up needing to source the contents of a PDF within InDesign due to the project at hand. There are various reasons why this can occur such as the original InDesign file was lost, or the INDD file became corrupt or the only file you have is a PDF with no access to the original file type.

PDF Processing with InDesign

Explained below are 2 distinct and separate processes of Importing a PDF into InDesign and Converting a PDF into InDesign type.

1. Converting a PDF to InDesign type

Converting a PDF to a native InDesign file requires a plug-in like PDF2ID. That’s because InDesign can’t convert a PDF to an editable file (it can only place the PDF as a static object as explained below).

Converting a PDF to native InDesign type to a native InDesign file allows you to recover assets such as graphics, text, images, tables, and other data in the PDF (which may include also incldue Form objects or even Accessibility tags) and have it layed out in a proper desktop publishing fashion. Once the PDF is converted to an InDesign file, you can edit everything within it (you can update the layout and move things around all you want).

There are other reasons why you need to use a plug-in like PDF2ID to directly convert a PDF to InDesign (instead of going through a route like converting the PDF to RTF or another format). When using PDF2ID, all color spaces in the PDF (Lab, CMYK, RGB) and detailed information such as clipping path’s, masks, and other properties such as drop shadows get accurately formed. Thus, this direct method allows for maximum precision.

To convert a PDF to InDesign type using PDF2ID we simply use the steps below:

A. Click the Recosoft menu in InDesign and choose the PDF2ID – Convert PDF/XPS file command

When you need an editable PDF in InDesign use PDF2ID

B. Choose the PDF to convert and when the PDF2ID – Options window appears, click OK

Editing a PDF in InDesign is easy if you have the correct plugin

C. The PDF is converted to a fully editable InDesign document

You can now open and edit PDF in InDesign 2022

2. Importing a PDF file into InDesign

The objective of importing a PDF into InDesign is for it to be placed as static data (like an image).

Importing a PDF into InDesign is used primarily when you have some assets that already exists as a PDF, and you don’t want it to be edited and/or you simply need to include a small section of the PDF as a static object to an existing document.

Importing a PDF into InDesign and using it as a placed object is done by following the instructions below:

A. Create a New InDesign document or Open an existing InDesign file then Select the Place command and choose the PDF file to Import

B. When the Place PDF options window appears, specify the settings, and click OK

C. The PDF is imported into the InDesign file


We hope this article elucidated the differences between Importing a PDF into InDesign and Converting a PDF to an editable InDesign type using a product like PDF2ID.