How to Open InDesign Documents in Older Versions


Many of Markzware’s products really get at the heart of issues we as designers and production folk have to deal with. Their latest offering—MarkzTools—excels at scratching an annoying itch we’ve all encountered. This InDesign plug-in allows users to open up documents in older versions of InDesign than the version in which they were created. Are you still the only one working in CS5.5, while the rest of your workgroup is immersed in the world of the Creative Cloud? No worries: MarkzTools can help.

The MarkzTools plug-in is as simple to use as other Markzware products. The user can initiate the conversion through a menu option in InDesign, or simply use InDesign’s Open command. Either way, the conversion is seamless and allows the user to just keep working. This plug-in takes away the need for saving as an IDML file and re-opening in InDesign, a practice which can lead to multiple versions of the interim IDML file floating around. Like using an IDML file, there may be items which don’t successfully transition backwards, so some cleanup will be inevitable. Helpfully, the newly-converted files will show a preview of any missing images, unlike an IDML file which displays missing images simply as grey boxes.

Following the trend in software and helper apps, Markzware is releasing the MarkzTools software via annual subscription. Currently, the plug-in is on sale for $99 for the year, with a regular price of $149. Near the end of the year-long subscription period, the user will be prompted to renew to continue using the plug-in. MarkzTools works on Macs running 10.6.8 or higher only and with InDesign versions CS5, CS5.5, and CS6.

  • Jock Graham says:

    Just what I’ve always wanted – but is there an earlier version I could use, as I’m still working in CS4 ?

  • User McUser says:

    Great, so instead of renting InDesign CC, I’ll just rent this plugin instead. Why doesn’t anyone just *sell* software these days? Nope, gotta keep extracting those fees!

  • Ekwoman says:

    It only goes back to CS5, unfortunately.

  • Ekwoman says:

    There are plusses and minuses to each “sales” (rental?) model…but it looks like the subscription model is here to stay.

  • Jim Jordan says:

    Here’s a recipe for downsaving InDesign files for free.

    1. Install VirtualBox [free] ( )
    2. Start up an instance of Windows [free] ( )
    3. Install a free Adobe 30-day ID CC trial
    4. Open the newer ID CC document and save down to your normally installed version
    5. Blow up the virtual machine when you’re done.
    6. Repeat as needed. Software downloaded in steps 1 and 2 can be retained and reused as needed.

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