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Move Pasteboard Items to Current Spread


Editor’s note: The scripts mentioned in this article still work in InDesign 2023 18.1

As a book designer who cut his teeth on PageMaker, I was used to the idea of “One Pasteboard to Rule Them All…” — that is, a common pasteboard that always showed the items on it, regardless of what spread you were on. Of course, that’s not how it works in InDesign, where every spread has its own pasteboard.

Personally, I can see the advantages of both methods, and I wish InDesign gave you that option. Which is why some while back I was happy to come across a script by Dave Saunders, called “Move Pasteboard Items to Current Spread” which does just as its name implies: any item on any spread of the document you’re working on is moved to the pasteboard of the active spread.

I used it with great satisfaction in CS3 and CS4. Then yesterday I tried it in CS5. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that every item on every spread was moved to the current spread, whether it was on the pasteboard or not! It made quite a mess of things in the 56-page/29-spread document I was working on as the contents of all those spreads were moved to my current spread:


Turns out, as Dave Saunders told me, “…it ought to come with a big warning label: Not for use with CS5. The object hierarchy has been changed with CS5 so the script would need some reworking to behave properly in CS5.”

I’m not a scripting wizard, but I know people who are, such as Martinho da Gloria, of Automatication. Martinho was able to fix the script for CS5 so that, just like in CS3 and CS4, one double-click on the script’s name in your Scripts Panel is all it takes to move any item on any pasteboard of any spread to the current spread you are viewing. Simply drop the proper version of the javascript into your Adobe InDesign CSx > Scripts > Scripts Panel folder, and you’re good to go.

Which is not to say that the older CS3/CS4 version is not without its uses in CS5. For example, what if you wanted to move every object from one document to another?just move all the objects to the current spread first! Not only that, but text threads are maintained, so let’s say you had a thread from page 1 to 2 to 3 and you want to copy all three frames to another document while keeping them threaded. There’s no way to do that currently. But you could use the non-CS5 version of the script to move them all to the first spread without breaking the links, and then copy all three frames and paste them in your new document.

Click here to download a zip file with both versions of the script in it.

Jamie McKee is a book designer and typesetter for university presses throughout the US. More information about him can be found at
  • Da6d says:

    Yea! No more searching thru all my Pasteboards to find all those odds and ends I’ve dragged off pages waiting for a place to put them later in the document.

  • Eugene Tyson says:

    I just put the items on the master page and extend the frame to touch the page. It’s not perfect but it can do the job?

    The script seems a bit more of an elegant solution.

  • erique says:

    Never thought I’d hark back to Pagemaker, but this is a nice way to remember it.

    Thanks Martinho for updating the script and thanks Jamie for posting about it!

  • orielwen says:

    I’d just about started to get used to zooming out with my mousewheel, dragging the required item to the current page, and zooming back in again. This script makes things much easier! Thanks!

  • orielwen says:

    Note that it also moves items from master pages to the current page, which might not be what you want.

  • Jamie McKee says:

    Can you be more specific? Which version of the script moves items from master pages to the current page? The CS5 version of the script should not be doing this in CS5. But if you mean that the CS3/CS4 version of the script moves master pages items to the current spread in CS5, that is true and yes, that may not be what you want.

  • Kelli says:

    Hello, I just stumbled on this thread while trying to come to a solution for moving pasteboard items to my current spread. I am using ID CS6.

    I downloaded the “Move pasteboard items to current spreadCS5.jsx” When I open my utility in ID and run the script, it works fine for the page I’m on, but when I move to another page, the pasteboard doesn’t follow unless I click to run the script again. Must I click to run the script every time I want the pasteboard to follow? It doesn’t happen automatically? Help! and Thank you !! :)

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