Adobe InDesign integration


XTM Cloud offers enhanced support for Adobe InDesign files.

Some time ago XTM Cloud only supported IDML files , not INDD files. To meet many requests from our numerous clients, the InDesign Connector has been implemented in XTM Cloud. The InDesign Connector – a paid tool that has been developed to enable INDD files to be processed.

The InDesign Connector has two components:

  • the INDD processing feature,

  • Visual Mode (WYSIWYG) for working with InDesign projects.

The optional XTM connector relies on the Adobe InDesign server. This, in turn, can be either licensed by our clients, or we can provide access to the XTM Cloud instance.

Using the connector, you can:

  • upload and analyze INDD files,

  • use the XTM Visual Mode to review a translation in its original context and then update the target text in real time,

  • generate a WYSIWYG PDF document from the target file,

  • edit the translation – quickly and without difficulties. The preview PDF document comes with live links from the text in the preview to the corresponding segment in XTM Workbench (see Using LiveLink with the InDesign server for more information).


Let our XTM International Support team know if you are actively using any plugin with your Adobe InDesign. Not all of the actions offered by plugins are supported by XTM Cloud.

How does XTM Cloud handle Adobe InDesign files? 

XTM Cloud supports three types of Adobe InDesign file:


 InDesign Server

Additional information


 InDesign Server

Additional information

  InDesign Markup Language (IDML)

InDesign server not required for analysis


       InDesign document (INDD)

InDesign server required for analysis


 InDesign book (INDB)


 The actual file is not used whilst being translated in XTM Workbench. It is only needed for generating a PDF preview file.

InDesign Server

XTM uses Adobe InDesign Server to convert IDML and INDD files into XML files, which can then be translated in XTM Cloud. The InDesign Server is a dedicated standalone server running on Windows systems.

The conversion process involves two steps and is essentially very simple: files submitted for translation are converted into an XML file. Later on, when a target file is generated, the XML file containing the translation is returned to the InDesign Server and outputted as an IDML or INDD file.

The files generated in the server match the current server version. So, for example, a source file generated in InDesign 2017 will be transformed to the current year’s version provided that the Server has been updated to that version. In the case of older INDD files (which are not compatible with the updated server version), two files will be returned: an updated INDD file and an IDML file. Users might not be able to open the INDD file using the Adobe tool they have but they will be able to open the IDML file using any version of InDesign.

Adobe InDesign software is subject to obligatory updates. If such a situation occurs, the XTM International Support team must be informed about it because a difference between the client's version and the version supported by the XTM InDesign server can adversely affect the analysis and generation of preview or target files. In that case, the XTM InDesign server must also be updated.


Source file formatting is fully maintained and transferred over to the translated target files intact. Even in highly formatted files, in-line elements are visible in XTM Workbench. This means linguists can move them around as needed to ensure they are appropriately placed in the target file.

Content planned for translation might be set as locked or hidden by default. In XTM Cloud, such behavior can be customized. It is possible to collect such content for translation, but if you do, the entire hidden or locked content will not be taken for translation. Furthermore, source content must fit inside the text frame.

Text box sizes in InDesign files are fixed. This means that the designers need to anticipate a scenario in which the translated text might be longer than in the source file. It cannot be changed by XTM Cloud during target file generation. In InDesign files, text box sizes are set on a case-by-case basis. If the translation is too long, text boxes will not automatically stretch to contain it.

See Adobe InDesign – most common issues & troubleshooting for more information on common issues and troubleshooting guidelines.


Images can be either embedded in or linked to INDD or IDML files. When InDesign is configured for your XTM Cloud account, there is a section in the project creation window, under the Additional files, called Preview files. It enables you to upload linked images and the fonts used in the document. 

Consistent with the InDesign preview method, graphics are first taken from the localized directory level. If a localized version of the graphics is not available, the source version will be used instead. This means that graphics that require no localization does not need to be placed in the folders that are to be localized.

XTM Cloud also features font mapping. For example, a specific font can be set to change to a different one by default (as specified for a particular language) in the target file. Remember, however, that any change of font or resolution can result in different analysis times.

When non-standard fonts are used in the project, you can add them to the project as Preview files or contact the XTM International Support team to have them installed for you. However, before you do so, we recommend that you read our article describing constraints and good practices when uploading preview files for InDesign projects: Uploading preview files for InDesign projects.