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How to install scripts in InDesign

We all love the power of using scripts, but before you can use them, you have to install scripts in InDesign. Here’s how.

Download the script onto your computer and if necessary, unzip it. You should end up with a plain text file with a special filename extension:

  • Javascript files can be run on Mac or Windows and have a .js, .jsx, or .jsxbin extension – “script.jsx”
  • Applescript files are Mac-only and have an .applescript or .scpt extension – “script.applescript”
  • Visual Basic files are Windows-only and have a .vbs extension – “script.vbs”

Tweaking Scripts

If you need to change a setting inside of a script, you can edit it in a text editor. Be sure to save the file as a plain text file with the original extension.

Installing Scripts in the InDesign Scripts Panel

There are two places you can install scripts in InDesign: The application folder and the user script folder. The easiest way to find these folders is to open the Scripts panel in InDesign (Window > Utilities > Scripts), then right-click on either Application or User. We tend to use “User” for scripts that we’ve downloaded—”Application” makes the script available to all users on the computer—but it’s up to you and the permissions you have on your computer. From the context menu, choose Reveal in Finder (or Reveal in Windows Explorer).
scripts panel reveal in finder option
Inside the folder that opens there is a folder called Scripts Panel. Put your scripts inside that.

Any script inside the Scripts Panel folder will show up immediately in InDesign. No need to restart the program.

More after the jump! Continue reading below
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How to Run Scripts from the InDesign Scripts Panel

To run the script, open a document in InDesign, then open the Scripts panel (see above) and double-click the script name. Some scripts require you make a selection first before you run them, because they act on the selection. See if the script writer provided any sort of documentation if you can’t figure it out.

When the Script is Nothing But Text

If you’ve downloaded or clicked on a script and you just see a bunch of text, you’ll need to get it into a format for you to install. Click here  to read how to do just that.

Working with Old Versions of InDesign or Older Scripts

If you’re still using CS or CS2, follow this info: To install the script, locate the Adobe InDesign program on your computer and drag and drop the script file into the Adobe InDesign CS2 > Presets > Scripts folder. If you don’t see a folder called Scripts inside of Presets, you can make one yourself.

Note that you may need to have an admin account on your computer in order to add plug-ins and scripts to InDesign … but once they’re in there, any type of user account can use them.

If you are having trouble running older scripts in a newer version of InDesign, read this post.

Anne-Marie “Her Geekness” Concepción is the co-founder (with David Blatner) and CEO of Creative Publishing Network, which produces InDesignSecrets, InDesign Magazine, and other resources for creative professionals. Through her cross-media design studio, Seneca Design & Training, Anne-Marie develops ebooks and trains and consults with companies who want to master the tools and workflows of digital publishing. She has authored over 20 courses on lynda.com on these topics and others. Keep up with Anne-Marie by subscribing to her ezine, HerGeekness Gazette, and contact her by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @amarie
  • José Ramos says:

    Beautiful!!! It worked like a charm. Actually better, ‘cuz charms never work.
    Now, if I only had a script to unlink all stories in a given document, I’d be set. How hard can that be, right?

  • José Ramos says:

    Sorry, I meant to write this in another thread. Guess that’s the draw back of tabbed browsing. ;)

  • Tricia says:

    this is absolutely amazing!! thanks so much!!!

  • Gary Spedding says:

    Can this be made (for a novice) to work in CS? i d not have the luxury of CS2 and with CS3 on the way soon it may not be worth moving to CS2.

  • Tina Delceg says:

    Had a little trouble editing the script for zooming to actual size, but finally found a script editor on my mac that did it. Great help, thanks very much.

  • Hamish Symington says:

    You need to make sure it’s a .as and not anything else. .scpt or .app won’t work. Save your script as ‘text’ from Script Editor, then rename it from .applescript to .as (took me half an hour to work this out…)

  • Anne-Marie says:

    I’m curious why a person would need the Script Editor … I just open or copy/paste ID scripts in TextEdit (switching to Plain Text mode if necessary), then save them from there as .jsx or .as.

  • yassaman says:

    It cant add pages between pages. Only adds in end :(

  • buddygal says:

    How can i install PDF presets that seem to be missing in my CS2?

    just trying to get in on the correct topic here. Thanks!

  • Scott_the_Geek says:

    I tried the jsx file on Indesign CS with no luck. I also attempted to resave the file as a VBS with no success running it either.

  • Anne-Marie says:

    Scott, I think CS1 Javascripts end with just “.js” … but sometimes the scripts call for CS2-only functions, so just changing .jsx to .js might not work. Look on your CS1 install CD for the folder containing the CS1 scripts. (They’re in the Extras/Resources CD, I think in the Technical folder.) Adobe doesn’t offer the CS1 scripts for downloading at the site I mentioned in the post, only the CS2 ones.

    Renaming a .jsx file to .vbs doesn’t do a thing, the coding the file actually contains is still Javascript, not VBScript. Sorry …

  • laura k says:

    Thank you for describing this process! I could not find it anywhere in the CS2 documentation. (It tells you to install but never tells you how.) Thanks also for including how to open the Scripts palette — the menus are not intuitive, and I don’t use InDesign often enough to remember everything from use to use. It would be a big help for Adobe to include that sort of stuff when they write their manuals.

  • Adolfo Meneses says:

    Thank you, I almost have tears on my eyes, I’ve been looking for this procedure for hours. I wonder what the adobe guys was thinking when they wrote the online help.

  • Caryn says:

    Great stuff! However, I tried to use Clever Find/Change Dialog Box Closer and it isn’t working. I can set the shortcut, but there isn’t a way to get out of the find or change boxes. So, when I hit the key it simply places the stroke in the box and doesn’t close the box. I’m sure it’s something simple, but what am I doing wrong?

  • Caryn, this plug-in may only work in CS2. Are you trying it with CS3?

  • John says:

    to:David Blatner
    Yes. Its working in CS3 too.

  • ioanna says:

    Hello

    Altough I have
    place a script into the scripts folder
    indesign cs2 doesnt read it..

    could you please give me an advice ??

    I don’t how i can eddit or save a txt to a script format

    but i have also tried to fix it with a scipt editor and stil doesnt work

  • Home Luxury says:

    Awesome. Works great. Thank you. :D

  • Is there a website on the web with free InDesign scripts available ?

  • Stuart says:

    WOW! Life saving script! (a little over the top, I know, but you don’t know how much this has helped me in a very time critical situation.)

  • andre says:

    Big Thanks! But… the script doesn’t work correctly with the changing of Hebrew vowel’s punctuation of MSS text… does any body could help me to adjust the script?

  • neomi says:

    Thank You SO much David for this action script. It’s a
    life saver for those of us who don’t want to plunk down another grand on the ME version.

    all the best
    N.

  • profeivan says:

    In InDesign CS3 I used the Dave Saunders´ Change Case of Selected Style script and it worked fine. Now, in CS4 the script reports an error on line 41:
    app.findPreferences = null;
    Any suggestions? this is a very usefull script I use all the time. Thanks in advance.

  • Michael says:

    Hello,
    I’m French, so sorry for my english.

    I want change the price Euro on my doc.
    How do that ?

    Because the prefixe, for me, is at the end.
    Ex : 1500,50 ? -> 1500.50 x 1.78

    Thk you in advance.

  • Katarina says:

    In Cs3 it just doesn’t work, When a double klick it, I mean the script, in the script folder in indesign, it does nothing, I even made the Version 4.0 Scripts folder, installed java again…

    I’m new at this, It just doesn’t work :)

  • Old Jeremy says:

    That is quite a common problem, and the solution is discussed here:

    https://forums.adobe.com/message/1973478

    Basically, your preferences are probably set so that scripts don’t interact with anyone.

    What you should do is copy and paste the following technical-looking line into a text file, save it with the extension .jsx, then put that file into the scripts panel folder (where the other scripts are). Then run it by double-clicking on its name in InDesign’s Scripts Panel. After that, all the scripts should work.

    app.scriptPreferences.userInteractionLevel = UserInteractionLevels.interactWithAll;

  • Anna says:

    That script saved me … and so much time
    million thanx!

  • Drew says:

    I’m on cs1 and I just can’t get this script to work. I’ve followed the above comments and tried saving the file in various formats both from TextEdit and ScriptEditor and nothing seems to work for me. Please help! I need this script desperately.

  • jitesh says:

    i am getting error in document system freezes & crashes

  • borash says:

    breath taking! Works perfect.
    thank you again

  • Chai says:

    Answer to ioanna

    remove the word .txt from ReverseText.jsx.txt so it should read ReverseText.jsx instead of ReverseText.jsx.txt then place it in your javascript of indesign.

  • Esam Qoul says:

    It worked like a charm

    Thanks

  • ecols says:

    This is an AMAZING script. I love it!

  • Which script are you talking about?

  • I can’t thank you enough! It worked just fine in CS3.

  • stretchs says:

    awesome script, just saved me an hour on a 105 page layout import. thanks a ton

  • Ahmed Maher says:

    Many thanks

  • Rehan says:

    I am using InDesign CS4, I tried it for Arabic, but it’s not working.

    If anyone knows how to deal it with CS4, it would be great help.

    Thanks…

  • Steve says:

    Man! This is great! Thank you so much!

  • Annalee says:

    This script is a lifesaver!!

  • Reza Haniff says:

    Thank you so much , well done on the script ,it’s amazing how something so small can have such a huge impact on your productivity.

  • Jim Morgan says:

    Hello;

    I’m using “InDesign CS4 Middle-Eastern” on win XP SP2 32-bit , But I got A problem

    When I copy scripts to the User folder or the App folder, nothing shows up in InDesign Scripts Panel.

    I tried a variety of script types, I even copied (duplicated) some of the default scripts (the default is working fine for me) .. but also nothing shows up

    I also tried to install an mxp script with Adobe Extension Manager, then the Extension Manager put the file in the right folder, But also the script doesn’t show up in InDesign.

    Any help will be great !

  • Jim Morgan says:

    I’m also enabling the “Enable Attached Scripts” in Preferences > General

  • @Jim: Are you putting them inside the user folder or inside the Scripts Panel folder? They have to go inside Scripts panel. Also, make sure they are .jsx or .js or something like that, not .zip files.

  • Jim Morgan says:

    I do exactly as you said, David, I even open those folders from InDesign “Reveal in Explorer” command, even more I copied one or 2 of the default scripts to the destination folders, but InDesign acts like there is nothing.

    By the way, thanks for the great work :-)

  • @Jim: Thanks! I don’t know what the problem could be. Perhaps rebuild preferences? Restart? Very mysterious.

  • Jim Morgan says:

    oh, I reinstalled InDesign and it’s working fine now

    Thanks David for your replies :-)

  • taz says:

    Yes, thank you for your explanation. Bye~

  • Kris says:

    Thank you so much! It actually worked – wow.

  • Karunamurthi says:

    Hi,

    I need, how to layout for head level and body matter in script method.

    For example: Head level 1 is 46p and body matter is 32p how to split in script. (ID-xml workflow)

    Any help will be great !

  • Kevin Krows says:

    It looks like this script only allows for years 2004-2007. How do you change this or how can I get an updated scipt that includes current and future years?

  • @Kevin: Which script are you talking about? Sounds like a calendar script. Do you mean the calendarwizard script I talked about here?

  • linds says:

    thanks, super helpful to a new script user!

  • Andrzej Michalski says:

    I am writing a script in JSX to modify the text in an anchored text frame and modify the size of a graphic frame, but when I run it the anchored object disappears (it seems that the anchor vanishes). I’m really stuck with the main problem being lack of detailed documentation.

    If anyone has experience of the above that would be great, but just as importantly does anyone have any proper documentation for scripting InDesign CS5.5 via jsx?

    Thanks!

    Andrzej

  • Jongware says:

    Andrzej, you can ask specific questions in the Scripting forum (you have to register as forum member first but it’s free).

    On documentation: there is a lot of basic how-to’s in the PDFs in Adobe’s own Scripting Resources section. For a detailed item-by-item description, you can consult the built-in Help in the Toolkit Editor, or see the list at the end of my article JavaScript for the Absolute Beginner.

  • kapooostin says:

    Does anybody still need a script to unlink stories in document/book?

  • Bill says:

    The scripts folder won’t open. “Application” and “user” won’t open. How do I get it to open. I have Indesign CS5. I am trying to import a multi-page PDF file into an Indesign CS5 document. Why should this simple task be so difficult and time-consuming? If somebody can help, I would appreciate it. Adobe Tech Support could not fine an answer for this. Thanks, Bill

  • Jongware says:

    Bill, are you trying Scott Zanelli’s Multipage importer script?

    Not being able to open must be some sort of local issue with your computer — you don’t mention your OS, but if it is Windows 7 it might be something related to your user account.

    For the time being: if you get stuck by this and can’t get on with the job at hand, try the Manual way. Use “Place” the usual way to select your PDF, but make sure “Show options” is selected. In the little Import Options dialog, choose “All” for page range. This ‘loads’ your Place Gun with all pages, and you can click once per page to place all of them.

  • stefg says:

    very, very nice – thank you so much!

  • Shorty says:

    For anyone still needing to split threaded stories using a script, try Story Splitter, mentioned here:
    https://creativepro.com/splitting-up-threaded-stories-into-separate-frames.php

  • Alissa says:

    has anyone gotten this “multi-page pdf placing” script to work with CS6? I’ve placed the script file in the correct place as described above…but when I click on the script to launch it, InDesign thinks about it forever and nothing actually happens.

    Thanks

  • ptr says:

    Is it just me or does this script only place the pages of the PDF as images?

  • Rebecca says:

    THIS IS BRILLIANT!!! THANKS! WHERE HAS IT BEEN ALL MY LIFE

  • Cyndi says:

    hi i may be ignorant on this…but i downloaded the Adobe Calendar Wizard and the scripts are in Dreamweaver…? is this what i place in InDesign…any help would be great….1st time with a calendar and anything to do with scripts

  • Cyndi says:

    Never mind guys…i figured it out:)

  • Ginger says:

    Thank you! I have Adobe Cloud and it worked great, except it deleted the pages that were already there, after the placement, e.g., I placed the pages at p11 and I had content on page 30-35. Those were deleted.

  • Shannon says:

    Thank you so much!! This script was amazing and so fast whew I was dreading opening all those pages and you really saved me the headache!!! By the way this website is an invaluable resource for all of us!!!!

  • Tenzin says:

    How can I install indesign free of cost in window 8.1?

  • Bruce Armenante says:

    I downloaded the MergeTables script from a link on this site. I’m on a Mac/Mavericks/InDesign CC 10.2.0.69. I opened the Scripts panel, right clicked on it to “reveal in finder” and it opened the folder “armcomdes” which is a folder inside the Users folder on my system. Copied or dragged the “MergeTables.jsx” to that folder and… nothing. It doesn’t show up in the Scripts panel. Not sure what I’m doing wrong.

  • Amit Tekale says:

    Thank you for such a nice tip. Implemented smoothly and working fine on my PC.

    I came to this page from indesign-faq.de. The author from this site has provided instructions to edit the script. Pasting here with due credit :

    I just got an email telling me that this very very old script of mine stopped working under CS5
    The script automatically creates a backup copy of the current document while saving. Apply cmd-S as shortcut for the script and you won’t notice it is there.
    The new version of “save_with_backup” is now a JavaScript (i.e. works on PC as well as on Mac) with a few minor improvements.
    Configuration

    Before using the script you need to adjust three lines in the code to point to your preferred backup-location.
    var desktop_path = Folder.desktop.toString();
    // var backup_path = “/someFolder/someSubfolder/backupLocation”;
    var backup_path = desktop_path+”/backup”
    Currently the backupfolder is on the desktop. You could point to a deeper subfolder of the desktop by changing line 4
    var backup_path = desktop_path+”/diversesZeuchs/InDesign-Backups”
    In case you want your backupfolder somewhere else, change the code like this
    var desktop_path = Folder.desktop.toString();
    var backup_path = “/someFolder/someSubfolder/backupLocation”;
    //var backup_path = desktop_path+”/backup”
    The Result

    The script creates a subfolder structure. One subfolder for each day you do a save in the form yyyy mm dd and each document gets a time-prefix in the form hhmmss_

  • Jeffrey says:

    Hi,
    The plugin works great but i have one question.
    How can i make it to round up after to 2 numbers behind the comma.

    I got this: €90.909090909091
    But i need this: €90,91

    Sorry for my pour englisch.

    Hope anyone can help.

    Kind regards,
    Jeffrey

  • jb says:

    this is amazing, thank you!

  • WM says:

    This is fantastic. Is there a way to easily change the font type and size?

  • i did as instructed but when i get to the data merge portion, the create merge document is grayed out and i cannot select it. i ran the script and the csv file was created in the folder. but i can’t click on the create merge document because it is grayed-out. please help. I’m using indesign cs6

  • William Garner says:

    Wao, you guys are world-class! Thanks for such wonderful reveals to InDesign’s secrets.

  • Memory Morgan says:

    Thanks, so simple to use and easy to understand!

  • Huss Mansour says:

    Hi there I am looking for this script tomaxxilinkrename [1.0].jsx for windows 7 to add it.
    I tried several times. I couldn’t find it.
    I need it for InDesign CS5
    I would thank you for helping me

  • Diogo says:

    Hello, great tut, i´ve followed your footsteps but the script wont act after choosing the selected folder containing the images, running indesign CC on a macbook pro – Yosemite OS. any idea?

    Cheers

  • Paul says:

    I am about to throw out Adobe Indesign CC as I cant get ComboMambo to run. Without an ability to add & control lists its usless to me. ComboMambo displays in the Scripts window under User, so I am assuming its in the correct folder, I used the reveal in Finder method. But when I doubleclick ComboMambo it opens a popup window asking to be pointed to a text file.. not what I expected

  • G KARTHEEPAN says:

    Hi I am new comer for Indesign script. Anybody can help me, for Indesign Paragraph Styles. Extract the detail and placed in relevant paragraph styles.
    Example: Paragraph Style “Text”. I want details like this
    “Text
    Palatino LT STD
    10pts/12pts”
    Fix new frame in outside Margin

  • ian butler says:

    Saved me hours of extra work. Great work!!!

  • Arthur Oxborough says:

    Hello! This script is no longer linked online. Is there anywhere else I can find it?

    thanks,
    Arthur

  • Karl says:

    Thank you very much! The only request I can see would be an option to export a list of pages, rather than just one or just all.

  • Anne-Marie Concepcion says:

    A note to our readers: Many of the comments on this post appear to have little to do with *installing* scripts, and instead are referencing specific InDesign scripts, with questions about their usage. That’s because when we write about a script in an InDesignSecrets blog post, we often include a link to this post as well to help users install the script.

    And then when a user has some question or trouble with the script, they sometimes just post their comment here instead of the original post.

    In case you were wondering. ;-)

  • Henrik Stig Møller says:

    Waw! It’s working right out of the box! Thank you very much.

  • jayesh says:

    Hi,
    The plugin works great in inDesign cs6 but i have one question.
    can i run this script for particular font
    (like {findWhat:” – “} with Times New Roman {changeTo:”^=”} Arial

    text {findWhat:” – “} {changeTo:”^=”} {includeFootnotes:true, includeMasterPages:true, includeHiddenLayers:false, wholeWord:false} Find all space-dash-space and replace with an en dash.

  • Liz F says:

    Thank you! Was having trouble installing Calendar Wizard in IDD CC 2017.

  • maurice says:

    Neat, would be great if a step by step guide would be provided to add clarity as to how you are attaching click event handlers to call the attached functions in the other script. Thus far I’ve been unable to replicate this as I assume others have also had difficulty.

    Even a simple onClick() to add to a button to call a function/method will not work so I’m curious as to how the working demo actually works, is there an InDesign file you could share with the rest of the class?

  • Septimus says:

    On my Mac I put scripts in Applications > Adobe InDesign CC 2019 > Scripts > Scripts Panel.

    That way you don’t throw all of them away when you need to trash ID’s Preferences again.

    • Erica Gamet says:

      I always place my scripts in the Application folder as well, since I want all my scripts available to all users on my machine. When I present or teach, I use a different (presentation) user and don’t want to worry if all my scripts are installed. The preferences issue is a good reason to, as well!

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