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Convert PDF and XPS Files into InDesign Files

PDF2ID has come a long way since version 2 was last reviewed in Layers magazine (September/October 2009, p. 93). The new version 4 is exclusively for InDesign CC, although the previous version is available for InDesign CS4-CS6. (The v4 license allows you to install the older version on the same system.)

New features include a 64-bit version, which makes sense considering InDesign is now 64 bit, and the ability to convert Microsoft XPS files (XPS is Microsoft's attempt to replace Adobe PDF). Many of the improvements aren't directly noticeable by the user, such as better text frame linking and more accurate text wrap.

I ran a test on a fairly complex PDF, made from an existing InDesign layout, then converted the PDF using PDF2ID and the similar plug-in from Markzware. The Recosoft plug-in has the advantage of user settings, including the ability to create a default font-substitution list (a benefit when converting PDFs using Arial or Helvetica to the OpenType Helvetica Std.). One nice feature dealing with graphics is the ability to recombine graphics into a single image. This is especially useful for raster images that have been sliced into small sections then converted to PDF, and for vector files, which usually are broken into many pieces. Paragraph rules are now supported, too.

Both plug-ins converted the file, but each had advantages. Recosoft did better with tables, linking text frames, and retaining layers. Markzware did a better job of maintaining the original look of the layout, but no text linking. I wasn't completely happy with either program's method of naming the paragraph and character styles.

As of now, there's not a perfect PDF-to-InDesign conversion tool, but Recosoft does a good job of getting most of the job done. One major edge it has is the options panel and font-substitution panel. Recosoft PDF2ID comes in many flavors, including a $99 version available through the Adobe Exchange panel in InDesign, and a server-based Enterprise version.

Company: Recosoft Corporation
Price: Lite: $99; Standard: $199; Professional: $299
Rating: 4.5
Hot: Easy-to-use conversion plug-in
Not: Some layout fidelity issues