is now part of!

Double Down(save)

129 0

I’m sitting here in Denver, digesting airport pizza, en route to the InDesign conference in Seattle. Hmm, what should I do with a 2-hour layover? I could do laundry. Note to self: never put a light-colored jacket in the X-Ray machine again. I could check out the gigantic Croc kiosk… Nah. When in doubt, blog.

The other day I was in on a discussion about whether it was still true that you can’t downsave an InDesign document more than one version at a time. Previously we’ve all heard and repeated the truism that you had go CS3 to CS2, then CS2 to CS. But that was then, this is now. Had things changed now with CS4? Is it possible to go directly from CS4 to CS2? Inquiring minds want to know. I want to know!

I think the answer is no and yes.

First the no part. If you export an INX from CS4, the dialog box makes it clear that you’re saving in CS3 format, not CS2. If you open the DOM documentation and compare CS4 to CS3, there are a lot of differences. But in theory, most of them shouldn’t matter. When processing the INX, CS2 should just ignore what it doesn’t understand and move on. However, if you drop INX from CS4 on top of CS2, you get an error: “Can’t open the document … The version of InDesign Interchange format used in this document cannot be opened by this product.”

Fair enough. But no one said we had to tell ID the truth about where that INX came from. It is just a text file, after all. Shall we tempt fate and edit the INX so CS2 thinks it came from CS3? Hopefully I won’t have my serial numbers revoked for even suggesting such underhanded dealings.

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So I peeked over my should to make sure no one was looking, and I opened the INX and changed the XML declaration from:

<?aid style=”33″ type=”document” DOMVersion=”6.0″ readerVersion=”5.0″ featureSet=”257″ product=”6.0(352)” ?>


<?aid style=”33″ type=”document” DOMVersion=”5.0″ readerVersion=”4.0″ featureSet=”257″ product=”5.0(662)” ?>

That is, I told CS2 my file was from version 5 (aka CS3), and could be read by version 4 (CS2). I changed the “product” attribute to boot, just in case CS2 was looking at that also.

Inside my head, the dialog went something like this:

Me: “Knock, knock.”

CS2: “Who’s theeeere?”

Me: “INX delivery, I got a document downsaved from CS3 for ya.”

CS2: “Oh thank you. The door’s open. Leave in in the front window.”

Me: “Muhwahahahahah. CS2, you just got Punk’d!”

So yes, the document opened in CS2. The deception worked, but I feel a little guilty lying to my favorite app. Plus even though the document looks OK, who knows how stable or unstable it is. I feel like it’s kind of a Frankenstein experiment. The thing’s alive, but it might be evil. Bob Levine offered some sage advice to immediately re-INX the file in CS2. Done.

My feeling is that if you have CS3, it still might be better to go the long route, and downsave twice. Since I had to trick InDesign, we can be sure this is not supported behavior. But if you’re in a tight spot and have no access to CS3, this is the way to get your CS4 document into CS2. Further testing will reveal how well this trick holds up.

And now I think I hear my flight being called. See you in Seattle!

Editor in Chief of CreativePro and InDesign Magazine. Instructor at LinkedIn Learning with courses on InDesign, Illustrator, GIMP, Inkscape, and Affinity Publisher.
  • greg says:

    so… question is… when will we get the “plugin” that does all this magic “double-down” for us? seems crazy that adobe couldn’t design a plugin that could do this to put in the box. maybe they want to save some work for developers, but it does bother me that this shouldn’t be as hard as they make it.

  • erique says:

    Love the trick, but why should we even need a plugin to do this?!? If it’s this easy (and you may call it a hack, but a rose by any other name …) why can we not do it from within CS4?!?

  • Danny Spits says:

    First: Is INX really DownSaving?
    Real downsaving would create an .indd file as that has always been the format for any version of InDesign.

    Second: People often already see changes in things like textflow and will complain about it
    The more that is stripped/discarded the less likely the file will look or behave the same

    example: an InDesign CS3 user has added many word to the dictionary to define the hyphenation the way he likes, sends an INX and lowe and behold, everything is reflowed and hyphenated differently

    I think this what made Adobe Decide NOT to include a real Downsave function to assure consistant looks as much as possible

    I already found the Reader version some 18 months ago when CS3 was launched but even though I’m in support, chose not to share it because not being able to rely that what I read, is what was written by a certain InDesign version, make troubleshooting near to impossible

    Therefore if you ever have to use this trick because someone on the other side has 2 or 3 versions down make clear you have done this tweaking so they won’t hang on the Phone with support when it misbehaves

  • DrWatson says:

    Hi Mike,

    did the document that you double-downsaved contain any features CS3 has, but CS2 hasn’t? For example cell styles? The XML header says “feature set:257”, which sounds like a definition of what features the reader version knows and will be taking out of the xml. So what if CS2 tries to interpret a feature it doesn’t know. Will it ignore it (good) or will it be confused forever and fall apart (not so good)?

  • Eugene says:

    I think Mike has said in the post already that it will read the XML file and ignore what it doesn’t understand. But it needs the header information to be correct to be read by InD CS2.

    But I think his double-entendre really was that double down(save) on a .inx is a gamble.

    You have a 42% chance of beating the house with a 5 or 6 when you play blackjack, so that’s when you double down.

    I’m not saying that there’s a 42% chance that your file will work, I’m drawing on Mike’s double-entendre.

    But you wouldn’t do this sort of gamble on a file that you really needed to work properly and really relied on, it’s not something to gamble on.

    If you can’t afford to double down(save) then don’t.

  • Mike Rankin Mike Rankin says:


    In the tests I’ve done so far, it behaves pretty well. For example, if there were cross-references in the CS4 doc, those based on paragraph styles are converted to regular text, those based on text anchors are stripped out. Nothing I’ve seen so far completely breaks the file. Stay tuned.

  • Harbs says:

    “Feature set 257” just means it’s a Roman file and not a Japanese one.

  • Alex says:

    Phuuh, the trick is cool, and would help you sometimes. But I teach every times the same. DonĀ“t convert Indesign documents to older versions. Its a dangerous game.

  • Leigh says:

    This may be a dumb question, but what program do you use to edit the XML info?


  • Mike Rankin Mike Rankin says:


    For a superquick edit like this, you could use almost anything that saves plain text. I was using BBedit on my Mac, but TextEdit works just as well.


  • Mike Rankin Mike Rankin says:

    Actually, I just tried it again, and it’s even simpler than I thought. You only need to change ONE character. In the second line of XML, just change





  • Leigh says:

    Thanks Mike. This will really come in handy.

  • Andrew Oliver says:

    I was just wondering will this work in any other cs4 program?

  • BT says:

    Where is the inx file. How can i edit it.

  • Mike Rankin Mike Rankin says:


    In CS3, you can create an INX file by choosing File > Export and selecting Format: InDesign Interchange in the Export dialog box.

    InCS4, the format choice is InDesign CS3 Interchange (INX).

    Since INX is just a text file, you can edit it with any text editing application. I like BBEdit on the Mac, but TextEdit would get the job done.

  • Bob says:


    My problem is that college has IDCS3 and I have IDCS4 at home.

    I want to work at home on my page layout in IDCS4 and then work and print it out at college in IDCS3.

    My page layout comprises two A4 sheets with a number of .jpgs, some text boxes, and coloured boxes. Very simple.

    Is editing the INX file the way to achieve this transfer?

    And if so do I just need to take only the edited INX file into college ie not other supporting files?

    Any help or advice gratefully received

    Best wishes

  • Mike Rankin Mike Rankin says:


    If you only need to print the document, and do nothing else, it’d be easier to just export a PDF and print that.

    But if you do want to use InDesign, it’s still pretty straightforward. You don’t have to edit the INX. When you’re done working in CS4, first package the file, so you have collected up those JPEGs, fonts, etc. Then choose File > Export, and in the dialog box, choose Format: InDesign CS3 Interchange (INX). Put the INX in the same folder as the JPEGs so it can find them for sure.

    Bring the package folder with the INX, JPEGs, etc with you to college. Drop the INX on top of CS3, and you should be good to go.

    Two potential “gotchas”:

    1. Any page objects that use new CS4 features may be changed.

    2. In order to open the INX, Cs3 must be updated to version 5.0.4 (go to Help > check for updates).

  • Bob Levine says:

    There’s another gotcha…it’s almost a given that text will reflow due to the differences in the text engines.

  • Susan Yang says:

    Life saver!

    Just went from editing a CS3 doc (from work design centre Mac) in CS4 (personal mac) and double down saved to CS2 (for my work PC).

    I shake my fist at you, Corporate World!

  • Joane McIntyre says:

    Thanks all for the tips! If you are a Windows user, the XML can be accessed by opening the document through Notepad.


  • awh says:

    I love you (Stop it! not that way!). That worked great!!

    Thanks for the tip and all the other tips. Now if I can talk my boss into springing for CS4 I won’t have to do this!

  • JL says:

    I am trying to open a CS2 document in v2 by trying the trick you detailed above and I can’t seem to make it work. This may be a really silly question, but do I just open the InDesign document in TextEdit in order to alter the appropriate code (as per your comment above about using TextEdit)? I tried that and could never find anything in the thousands of lines of code that looked anything like ” <?aid style=?33? type=?document? DOMVersion=?6.0….”. I’m sure everything would be easier if I just upgraded…but that wouldn’t be as much fun!

  • Bob Levine says:

    InDesign version 2 cannot open any file created in later version of InDesign. You’re wasting your time even trying.

    You’re going to need to “upgrade” to CS4. Why the quotes?

    Because you’ve waited too long and you’re not even eligible for upgrade pricing.

  • LuisRM says:

    Mike your post really saved my bacon with one of my clients. Thanks a ton!

    The simple solution you provided is great and easy.


  • Sophie says:

    Hi, I’m new to this program as my school has introduced it for use in a subject this year.

    At school they have CS3 but at home i have CS4
    I’ve been able to open the CS3 files at home but if i work on the document and resave it, will I be able to open it at school again?

    Be nice to me, I’m not very technology savvy.


  • Mike Rankin Mike Rankin says:


    Check out the comments above by me and Bob Levine on Dec 10th.

    That wasn’t so bad was it? : )

  • Tony says:

    Thanks for this info. I was able to stay in the good graces of my partner (aka wife) after pulling this one off. It was looking dicey for a moment after all the work she put into that document.

  • Tony says:

    I thought I’d follow up on my previous message. Our translation seemed to work, but once we got into the book length project back in CS2, the wheels fell off.

    Everything seemed fine for a while, but suddenly we couldn’t get text to flow into new frames. We kept getting “unable to set bounding box” errors which we could neither decipher or eradicate.

  • C Barnes says:



  • J Hormann says:

    Thanks a ton. You’re a lifesaver, or marriage saver. Working from home on CS2 keeps the husband happier than having me in the office at all hours! Worked like a charm.

  • Soaf says:

    Thank you so much! This was really helpful! It saved my back!

  • Deb Kelley says:

    THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! It worked! I did all the yearbook layout for my kids at home on CS4 and they can edit on CS2 at school. You are a lifesaver!

  • L. Lehman says:

    Excellent! I’m on a tight deadline and this tip rescued me. Thanks!

  • danichfuer says:

    Great Hack. It took a fairly large and complex magazine layout and tried to downsave all the way to CS. It works, too. There were some outlines that were wrong and little bitty things that had to corrected but as a last resort hack, this is awesome. Thank you!

  • Alex C says:

    Brilliant solution. Thanks!

  • FayeW says:

    Hmmm, good starting point, but I have just tried it and it did not bring across really simple backgrounds and drop shadows. So, would work in a crisis, but not 100%.
    Thanks for the info.

  • Sami says:

    I’m still working with CS2 (children’s books) and my clients send me CS4 interchange-files.
    This tip really saved my night! (These working ours will kill me some night, but until then I’m a happy man.)


  • sally says:

    Thank you for this tip! You saved my ASS today when a client sent me an unopenable InDesign file. Your trick worked like a charm!

  • Jill says:

    thanks for posting. very easy to follow for someone intimidated by code and entertaining, too.

  • Leslie says:

    Mike – you are THE MAN! Thanks!

  • Rich K says:

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for this w/around – i have CS4at home and must use CS2 at school (comm. college) and yes I found out the worst way it wouldn’t work – stayed up ’til 5am tweeking a n/letter at home took it to school next day to find it would’nt open had to redo entire project from begining _ rather than debate why adobe choose to do this (PS is backward compatible thru out…so why would I think otherwise about INDD??!! silly me)

    So now I just discovered this tip of yours (yeah!!!) but I’m such a newb I can’t figure out specifically how to “open the INX and change the XML declaration” yes I’ve tried to no avail – in the past this type of thing turns out to be right under my nose (!) however any assistance you can provide will be greatly appreciated – in other words exactly where and how do I access the XML declaration

    thanks in advance,

  • Rich K says:

    Well didn’t I say it was right under my nose…

    After poking around this site a bit I saw another reference to this thread in regards to TUAW…so I clicked on that and saw the need to open in text edit and change the settings…ahhh he mumbled – I’ve got text edit (on my iMac core2duo 2.33 20″ white body) and then it all became clear…I’ll be back with real problems somewhere down the road as I’m really new to INDD and will be doing more and more as time goes on – sorry for any inconvience and thanks again for this site – it’s going to be very helpful!!
    time to explore!!

    -Rich K

    PS: Any ideas how to convince a California community college to upgrade from CS2 to CS4 in the middle of this budget crisis??

  • Mike Rankin Mike Rankin says:


    Would this be a situation where Adobe’s educational discount applies? In any case, I think you’d have to find specific functionality the CS4 provides which would save $ over sticking with CS2. Either that, or tell them that CS2 files all have a built-in self-destruct mechanism, and will disappear on 09/09/09. I’ll back you up. Good luck.

  • Mike Rankin Mike Rankin says:


    Thanks! I’m printing out your comment and showing it to my kids next time they think I’m a dork. Which should be right….about….now.

  • Rich K says:


    I believe it would, I do have the faculty advisors ‘backing’ on this upgrade (‘sounds like a good idea to me, talk to IT about it’) and I just found out the photography dept computer labs (I’m in the journalism dept now) have CS4…hmmmm as I learn over and over in life it can’t hurt to ask.

    If not then I’ll try the 09/09/09 scenario!!

    Thanks again for this site!

  • amanda says:

    oh thank you! you just saved me a 7 hour round trip drive to brooklyn – to fix an eighth inch of bleed!

  • Mike Rankin Mike Rankin says:


    Awesome! Here at InDesign Secrets, we strive to help you lower your carbon footprint ;)

  • Julia says:

    It didn’t work for me. I tried all suggestions.

  • Mike Rankin Mike Rankin says:


    Sorry to it didn’t work for you. Maybe with some more details we could help you figure it out.

  • Sandy says:


    Love this but, maby I’m blonde…
    I converted the CS4 inx file to a txt file. I edited the line as shown in notepad, saved, converted back to inx file. But for the life of me it doesn’t want to open

    I tried this several times.

    What am I doing wrong? Is it notepad, PC.

    Please help!

  • Sandy says:

    I got it to work yeehaaaaa.

    Opened the file in dreamweaver. Did the changes.
    Maby notepad threw in invisible charaters?


    Thanks man

  • Ken says:

    This hack is a lifesaver for me. Worked perfectly with one caveat that I thought I should share. When I first exported from ID CS4 to inx and then opened it in my text editor, being lazy I did a cut and paste from this article. BAD IDEA!! It didn’t work well at all and actually corrupted the inx file upon the attempted opening, I believe.
    The problem? By doing a cut and paste, I inserted “curly”quotes instead of “straight” quotes. I re-exported from CS4 and edited the inx by typing in the proper stuff directly and Viola! …Worked like a charm!

    Thank you!

  • Scotty says:

    This was also a lifesaver for me. I teach students and we have CS2 and CS4 in the teaching area but I have CS3 at home. I made a lesson and forgot to save it in INX but thought – don’t worry – I’ll open it in CS4 and save it back to CS2. No luck. I had to dismantle the file and rebuild it (I’d embedded all the images (easier for that particular lesson)).

    This is the first software I’ve used that doesn’t save backwards several versions. I’d even accept a serious health warning from Adobe to have that ability. I understand the posts above about the new features that would cause backwards compatibility no matter what.

  • Scotty says:

    Sorry – in the above comment I meant to say

    I?d even accept a serious health warning from Adobe to have that ability (to backsave several versions). I understand the postings above about the new features that would cause backwards potential incompatibility problems no matter what.

  • Lyana says:

    Thank you Mike! You are fantabulous. At first, we could not get this technique to work. But I knew someone else would have found the answer in your thread, as to why…and sure enough.

    Once I changed the curly quotes in my xml file to straight quotes, it worked like a charm.

    Now if you could only help me figure out how to get the intern’s dog to stop licking my toes!


  • Neomi says:

    Thank you so much for this. I opened the .inx file from CS4 in word. Made the adjustment from:


    and opened it in CS2.

  • Kelsey Adams says:

    how do i change the xml declaration?

  • akzidenz says:

    It works! Thank you, saved my skin.

  • Gwen Speicher says:

    This hasn’t worked for me (my client) so far, after 2 tries. I’m sending him a 3rd INX file with the changes made in Notepad, not copied and pasted, but carefully typed in per Ken’s suggestion above. The last file I sent him resulted in an error message in CS2 saying :
    “InDesign may not support the file, or a plug-in is missing.”
    I do use a third-party plug-in called APID Tool Assistant, so I’m sending that to him as well.
    I’ll let you know if it works this time.

  • Kelly Hodgkins says:

    Hi there

    WOW am I impressed!! That’s so cool and so much easier than I had thought it would be! My printer works on CS2 and I have just upgraded to CS4 and was envisioning hours of problems and just like that it was sorted!

    Thank you so much!!

  • Rose says:

    Thinking about SANDY (up the comments list)
    She had trouble converting things on a Windows PC – INX to Notepad to INX to be able to edit the vital line of code.

    Remember most are on MAC’s using this app (supposedly). Windows is notorious for saving everything in ‘ISO’ that has not only given me nightmares on PHP and databases but THIS cure aswell?
    maybe Sandy made it UTF-8 on the save options to work?…… most likely (for benefit of Windows users)

  • Erik says:

    Thanks so much for this tip. My office uses CS2 and I just bought CS4 for my personal laptop at home. Just about freaked out when I realized there was no double-downsaving (since NONE of us even have CS3)

    I took a CS2 file off our server, dropb0xed it to my laptop, tinkered with it in CS4, saved it as an inx and dropboxed it back to my office mac.

    The trick worked fine for me, except that it didn’t save the filename (no biggie there) and all the linked photos were unavailable ? and the reference filenames were replaced with the word “fo.” When I re-linked them from our server, however, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the original cropping was preserved. It was just a matter of remembering which photo went in which photo box!

    Thanks again!

  • Erik says:

    I also just noticed that the workaround doesn’t retain any frames around photo boxes. Again, that’s pretty easy to fix.

  • Kathleen says:

    I have both CS2 and CS4 on my PC laptop, and I can’t get this fix to work. I saw earlier that it may have something to do with using WordPad and Windows adding in extra characters, but how do I fix this? Any help would be so very appreciated!

  • wow wow wow wow wow says:

    You get a great big gold star by your name! I’ve been battling to get one file converted.

    This is such a relief.

    Thannnnnnnnnnnnnk you!!!

  • Jorden says:

    Double-downsave works pretty good. I tend to use Notepad++ in WinXP all the time anyways, so it’s pretty straightforward.

    Has anyone ever developed a script, or some sort of automation for this? There will be a need for me to do this conversion on a daily basis for quite some time, so wanted to check before trying to figure something out (I’m no coder/programmer anymore…)

    –Thanks Much!!

  • Kathleen says:

    Figured it out! Apparently there’s a difference between NotePad and WordPad, go figure.

  • Jonathan Arnold says:

    Hey, loved the info. I had used it in notepad to view the XML coding and made the simple changes. Wala, it worked! The only thing that did not get transferred over was the opacity of pictures. This was an easy fix by going back to the original document in CS4 and looked at what the opacity settings were. Thanks, a whole bunch.

  • kmocho says:

    It works from cs4 to CS1 too! SUPER

  • Paula says:

    Worked perfectly. Thanks so much!!!

  • Kerri says:

    Does this work on a mac?
    I cant find the xml declaration form to change.

    thanks for the help!

  • Mike Rankin Mike Rankin says:

    Hi Kerri-

    It works on the Mac for sure. You just need to change one character in the 2nd line of the INX file (right near the top of the file).

    It will look something like this:

    Just change “5.0” to “4.0”

  • Mike Rankin Mike Rankin says:

    Gah! My code was stripped from the last comment. Let’s try this again:

  • Mike Rankin Mike Rankin says:


    Kerri, just look right at the top of the file; you’ll see readerVersion=”5.0″ That’s the thing to change.

  • Tobi says:

    Hey Guys,

    i have the problem:
    i work with CS4 of indesign, but a nother person worx with INDESIGN CS.

    I have to set down the version from 5.0 to 3.0, but what is the code after 3.0(???)

    what is the “???” for CS


  • @Tobi: Sorry, but your colleague is out of luck. InDesign can’t save back that far, and CS has no way to read INX files. Time to bite the bullet and upgrade!

  • Anthony Marshall says:

    How do you change this on a Mac?

  • Mike Rankin Mike Rankin says:


    You can edit the INX with TextEdit on a Mac.

  • Nicole says:

    My boss has CS4 and saved an exported a file as .INX and obviously I can not open it in CS2 which I have. She sent it to a friend and exported as an .INX and she could open it in CS3. The friend exported the .INX file and and sent it to me but I could not open it in CS2.

    Please someone HELP?!!? Read everyones comments and still so confused.

  • Bob Levine says:

    @Nicole: What happens when you try?

  • Robert says:

    After following these instructions, why do I have to “check out” each text box in my CS4 indesign file???

    Worse, if I check out one text box, I can’t select another one. I have to restart InDesign and it complains that I haven’t checked in my first text box then.

    I don’t care about checking in and out!!! Why did this export command ruin my original document?

  • Mike Rankin Mike Rankin says:


    I don’t know. I’ve never heard of a document doing that after exporting to INX, or any other format. What happens if you export IDML and open it in CS4? Sometimes this cures documents of strange behavior.

  • ST says:

    You are awesome!!!!!!! This worked, great!!

  • Kathy says:

    Where do I find the inx file so I can open it up in notepad? I’ve searched for it, to no avail, so I’m guessing that I need to look for something other than INX. Thanks!!

  • Kathy, when you export the file to INX from within InDesign ( File > Export and then choose INX from the Format dropdown menu in the Export dialog box), in the Export dialog box you name the file and choose a location to save it into, just like any Save As dialog box. So try again, this time making a note of its name and location so you can locate it in Notepad.

  • Kathy says:

    Thanks. It all makes sense now. I appreciate your help Anne-Marie!

  • Jerry says:

    This is great if you have an .inx file. Unfortunately, I’m stuck, looking at an .indd document and I’m not sure I can get the creator to send me a conversion.

    Is there any workaround or trick to change code from .indd to .inx?

    Hey, I’m a noob, what do I know about what’s possible?


  • Jongware says:

    The trick is in asking your creator to ask for it … Only the original program can export the original file as an INX. If that wasn’t necessary, this entire thread was not needed!

    It’s simple to the extreme: Open File, Export, select “Interchange Format (INX)” as file format. Compress using your favorite compression program because INX are plain text files, and some dumb mail programs may mess it up! Then send.

  • Bsmart says:

    Amazing! Thanks for making my life a lot easier. I’m a graphic design student and the school has CS4. The textbook CD exercise files are all CS4 .indt files, so I couldn’t work on them at home with my CS2. I just exported all of the ones I needed to .inx files and did your quick edit in Notepad. Now I can open them and work on them in CS2. Once I open them again in CS4 at school they work just fine on CS4. Thanks!!!

  • Peter says:

    I too am trying to change from CS4 to CS2.

    I opened a text editor and changed the XML declaration as described. I then resaved the file as a .inx

    I am trying to package the file and send it to a print company half a country away. My question is How would you open the file in CS2? Do you just open the INX file in CS2? How do you package such a file to send across the internet if it is not an .indd?

  • Mike Rankin Mike Rankin says:


    The person receiving the file can open the INX by double-clicking on it, dropping onto the InDesign app icon, choosing file > open, etc. Since IDML is just a small file, you can just attach it to an email.

    That said, most folks (myself included) don’t recommend sending INX to your printer because you may get unexpected changes like text reflow when the new file is created. Be sure to thoroughly proof the new file before it gets printed.

  • Ruby Loftin says:

    Great tip. I used it tonight. I’ve CS4 at work and CS2 at home. I thought I was out of luck. You’re tip was a life-saver.

  • Vyg says:

    I’ve tested the occasion, when the source file was created in CS2, and was later corrected with CS3. I just opened .indd (CS3) in CS4 (I haven’t CS3), exported .inx and in WordPad changed the header for CS2
    It works perfectly!!!
    It’s amazing decision, Mark!

  • BMore says:

    Not sure where I’m going wrong here…

    I’m trying to convert from an InDesign CS4 to CS2. I had the creator export from CS4 an .INX. I saved that on my desktop, right click and Open With > Wordpad. What opens is a big string of boxes and gibberish. At the very bottom of the file is something that looks like code, but I can’t find the XML declaration the blog mentions.

    Any advice?

  • BMore says:

    Never mind. I think there was a problem with the .INX file. Had the creator try exporting again, and now I see the correct text!

  • JTrim says:

    Perfect! Thanks for saving me days of work, Mark.

  • Dzenan says:

    Man, you saved my life. Twice!
    Thnx a lot lot lot!


  • Pekka says:

    Thank you Mike!

    Finishing some ancient odd bits last time in CS2 in my old Windows XP computer, CS4 in my new Windows 7 computer. CS5 is waiting in a box to be installed .. probably next week.

    I had problems saving in right character format from editor. Problems solved.

    The following is not a comphrensive analysis, just a quick list what worked for me, I hope it saves someone 10 minutes of valuable lifetime.

    Did not work: Textpad editor
    Did not work: Notepad Save As encoding: Unicode
    Did not work: Copying the header line from Mike’s post above and pasting it to editor

    1. InDesign CS4: File > Export > Save As Type: Indesign CS3 Interchange INX
    2. Open the .inx in Windows XP Notepad editor
    3. TYPE these changes to the 2nd XML line
    DOMVersion=”6.0″ > 5.0
    readerVersion=”5.0″ > 4.0
    product=”6.0(602)” > 5.0(662)
    4. Save As ‘GiveANewName.inx’, encoding: UTF-8
    5. In InDesign CS2: File Open ‘GiveANewName.inx’

    I got some formatting changes from original CS4 >CS2, but compared to starting from scratch, it saved my day.

  • Isaac says:

    Out of curiosity, would something like this work in the .indd file too?

  • Jongware says:

    Isaac: In principle: sure, why not? It’s only a matter of removing all data related to the features added with the new version (stuff like grep styles, conditional text).

    The problem is, after removing this stuff, you have to shuffle around and re-write vast amounts of data. Indd files are stored in a binary format, other than .inx (which is, essentially, plain text), so you have to have exquisite knowledge of the storage format.

    I know just enough of that to say, from the bottom of my heart, “Let’s leave that to Adobe shall we.”

  • Anthony Marshall says:

    I recently downloaded the trial for CS5.. I was wondering how I can go about changing the file down to CS4 as my trial has expired and I need to change a recent instruction leaflet I have created. Any ideas??

  • Mike Rankin Mike Rankin says:


    You’d have to get your hands on an unexpired copy of CS5 and export your file as IDML, which you could then open with CS4.

  • Woife says:

    do you know if its work from CS5 to Cs3?

  • Jongware says:

    Woife: No. CS5 can only down-save to IDML format, not to INX, which is required by CS3. You need a working CS4 to do so.

    Down-saving is in general not a good idea, and should only be done when there are no alternatives. All new features of CS5 will be stripped silently when the file is opened into CS4; and all of CS4‘s new features will be stripped from that when saved as INX and opened into CS3. Apart from that, the Paragraph Composer has been improved for CS4, so all text will re-flow when opened into CS3.

  • Larize says:

    Awesome! Thanks! You saved me!

    I downsaved a converted CS3 doc in CS4 to read on CS2!!!!


  • Cat says:

    OMG can’t believe that worked! BUT I have to do that to EVERY document I work on in :-( In order to use a plug in I have for CS2 that I don’t have for CS4. That sucks. It is easy enough but I need something quicker. That works with the export. Is there any plugins that do this?

  • olive says:


    Thank you so much for posting this tip! Unfortunately it did not work for me. I am curious what I am doing wrong. I change the line in the INX file, but Indesign will not let me open the INX file, so I try to open the regular Indd file and I get the error that I need plug-ins. Just so you know I am trying to go from CS4 to Cs2. If anyone knows what I am doing wrong, I would greatly appreciate your help

  • Jongware says:

    Olive: it’s a trick, not really supported by Adobe. If it works, great, but there are absolutely no guarantees.

    Still: you could check if you used CS4- or even CS3-specific features in your file. If so, remove them and you could try again.

  • Rodney says:


    Has this been tried with CS5 yet?

  • tap says:


    If Indesign is simply not recognizing the file when you try to open it, this might help…

    After changing in the TextEdit, I had to manually change the extension to .inx. Although I was able to open in InDesign after that, I must warn you it crashed completely on me shortly afterwards.

    It crashed immediately when I tried to reopen a couple of times and eventually it wanted my registration number. It would not accept it. I have reloaded the software (after carefully following all directions for uninstalling) and it is still refusing my registration number as invalid.

    Obviously I now have to contact Adobe. In the past, I did need a new registration number (because uninstall was not able to be done on previous computer) and I was able to obtain one from Adobe but only during bus hours. So it may have something to do with an already overused registration number (even though I uninstalled).

    On other side notes, shortly before discovering this fix, I updated the software. Also, the CS4 was on windows and CS2 in on Mac.

    Not sure if my crash problem is at all related to the save back, but if I get Indesign back up, I’m scared to try again.

    I was able to open the .inx file I created and save as a cs2 .indd file, but I don’t know if I even want to open that again either (if I get indesign working again).

  • peter says:

    Can any one save a few files for me which were saved in CS4, and I need to open in CS2? contact me if you can help… [email protected]

  • Anna says:

    Worked a treat. Thank you!!!!

  • toryoom says:

    …I’m still suspicious Adobe is less about trying to be consistent here (there are too many options available to just close the door on officially created down saving methods entirely), and more about just becoming like Microsoft with the covertly forced updates.

  • Lisa says:

    Sweet. This was a great tip! One client has not upgraded and I accidentally save their file in CS4. D’Oh!
    Your little tip got me back to CS2.

  • Suri says:

    Thank you very much for the excellent tip!

  • wejpul says:


  • OH MY… All I can say is SWWWWWWEEEEEEEETTTTTTT!!! You are my hero today.

  • Mike Rankin Mike Rankin says:

    Thanks, Julie (and everyone else who found this tip useful). Glad to help :)

  • Rodge says:

    many thanks, worked great for me.

  • Teri Rider says:

    Thank you so much! It did work just changing the one line: readerVersion=?5.0? > 4.0. It even saved my style sheets. Wonderful tip. Saved me hours of work.

  • Mike Doutkevich says:

    Thanks a lot, Mike.

    It works, but I’ve found some losses after conversion:
    ? Some boxes got fill, some lost;
    ? All links became broken & filenames in list were changed to some fail name (a couple different names was changed to one single fake name);
    ? Corner effect was cleared;

    I’am happy to see that all texts are still in proper place, styles (tehre weren’t any GREPs) were moved properly.

    Original layout in InDesign CS4 (6 or 6.0.2) was made on Windows XP and conversion made in InDesign 4.0.5 on Windows XP too. I’ve changed a “readerVersion” only in AkelPad (changes in some other XML-editors were unsuccessful, as single readerVersion as all positions following Mike’s list in initial post).

  • Aaron says:

    Entertaining post, Mike! :)

  • Jonathan says:

    Not only do I get great vibes from your page, but my wife’s job has just been saved too and you’ve never even met us. If you’re ever in Marseille, look us up and come for dinner.

  • Robert says:

    Free service to downgrade from whatever version to whatever version who don’t want to mess with XML files:

  • Landis says:

    It is mentioned above that this also works moving to CS1 from CS4. What will the header need to read like? I don’t have CS2 to generate one for review. Only CS4.

    thank you

  • Madhy says:

    10 years old article but I happen to come across this process and still struggling with it. When you say ‘opened the INX and changed the XML declaration from’ – how/where do you do this? I am trying to open an Indesign INX file that was exported from CS4 in CS2 as couldnt get hold of Indesign CS3 anywhere.

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