Friday, January 05, 2007


Universal Pasteboard

One disappointment that PageMaker users experience is that InDesign doesn't have a universal pasteboard. Instead, each spread has its own pasteboard. In a discussion this morning on the U2U forum, the idea was voiced that a feature in InDesign to move all pasteboard items to the current spread would be a good substitute.

Well, that's what scripts are for.

But before I leap in and write a script, I thought I'd post some immediate thoughts about what the script should do about certain situations.

First, to find if an item is on the pasteboard, particularly if you know in advance that the item in question is know not to be inline or part of group (for example, the item is a member of the collection returned by document.pageItems).

Something along these lines works:
myDoc = app.activeDocument;
myObjs = myDoc.pageItems.everyItem().parent;
for (j = myObjs.length - 1; j >= 0; j--) {
  if (myObjs[j] == "Page") { continue }
Of course, we still have to write the function, but some issues have to be resolved:
  1. What if the item is on a hidden layer?
  2. What if the item is locked?
  3. What if the location of the item on its source spread would put it on a page of the current spread?
  4. Conversely, what if, when moving from a two-page spread to a single-page spread, the item will be more than a page width away from the live page?
  5. While we're thinking about that, what about multi-page spreads or even dragged apart single-page spreads?
Clearly, these questions need to be answered before I can write the function. I welcome any input.


Hi Dave,
We met in Seattle at the InDesign conference, me and a friend (the applescript geeks) stayed in the same bar...I mean hotel as you :p. I'm the skinny one, not the bearded fellow.
I wanted to let you know I am working through the classroom material you gave out, and will be commenting soon ;)

the you know how i have cussed designers for loading up their pagemaker pasteboard with unused pics....they never send them to us prepress guys, i had to hunt these pics down...omg...

Hi Mikie,

What a splendid bar (hotel) that was. I've found one rather embarrassing error in one of the scripts in that package. I hope you're finding the material useful.

Good point about the pasteboard, but at least InDesign doesn't include those items when you Package for Print -- which catches a lot of people out when they try to use this command as though it were Package for Archive.
1. I would copy it and keep it on a that layer. In fact, I would process each layer separately, to keep each object on its layer.

2. Ditto. I would copy it and lock it on the new page. (In my mind it should reflect all the pages' pasteboards as closely as possible.

3.,4., and 5. Those are pretty sticky points! Those weren't issues in PageMaker! :) I would define the pasteboard as the area from the paper edge until the egde of the pasteboard. I would check for the same number of pages/placement per spread. If it's not the same, if, and only if the same location would be on a page, would I move the location. If it's moved, I would keep the relative location to the page.

Also, an option to either keep the original, or delete it would be very useful. Maybe some way to mark which spread it came from would also be nice-although I'm not sure how that would work.

This script is a great idea!

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