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Troubleshooting InDesign

Easy Options to Try First

Option 1: Check System Requirements 

 Make sure you system support the InDesign requirements. Make sure you video card drivers are up-to-date; go directly to the GPU company to check for drivers.


  • Try to work locally rather than through a VPN.
  • Install InDesign on the main drive and not on a server-based or external drive.

Option 2: Restart

Restart InDesign--quit and save if you can, otherwise Force Quit (Mac: Cmd-Opt-Esc; Win: Cntl-Shft-Esc).

If you still have a problem, shut down, wait a minute or two, and restart your computer.

Option 3: Reset InDesign's Preferences

To do this, start InDesign and immediately hold down the modifier keys. You will see a confirmation dialog box asking if you want to delete your preferences if your timing was correct. If InDesign just starts up as normal, quit InDesign and try again—but hold the keys down faster! This will not affect your workspace(s).

  • Windows: Control-Alt-Shift
  • Macintosh: Command-Control-Option-Shift (Note: Other Adobe apps use only Cmd-Opt-Shift).

Option 4: Delete Cached Data Folders

Windows: Turn on Hidden Items under the View section of the File Explorer.

  • Go to: C:\Users\~UserName\AppData
    • Once there, continue to: \Roaming\Adobe\InDesign\Version [#] and delete* folder contents.
    • Back out to the AppData folder and go to: \Local\Adobe\InDesign\Version [#] and delete* or re-name the folder contents.

Macintosh: View the hidden user Library folder holding down the Option key and selecting the Go menu while at the Finder.

  • After the user Library folder opens, navigate to:
    • Once there, continue to: Preferences/Adobe InDesign/Version [#]  and delete* the folder contents.
    • Go back out to the Library folder and navigate to: Caches/Adobe InDesign/Version [#] and delete* or rename the folder contents.


  • The version number is the actual InDesign version number, not the year. For example, InDesign 2022 is actually InDesign version 17.x.
  • You may want to make a backup of these folders up before deleting them.

Option 5: Remove/Update Third-Party plugins

It's generally a good idea not to update InDesign to major versions until any third-party plugins, such as font manager plugins, have been updated and tested. Some system-wide plugins can cause problems sometimes too. Remove the plugins from InDesign's folder and see if InDesign works properly.


  • you may need to rebuild your preferences after removal
  • if you have to uninstall the plugin, check to see if you need to deactivate it first
  • Turn off Auto-Update, Remove Old Versions, and Import Preferences in the Creative Cloud app (this is on a per program basis).

If the problem persists, try the tests below.


These tests are to [try to] determine if the problem is with the computer, the software, or the file. If you can eliminate the computer and software, you probably have a corrupt or soon to be corrupt file.

Test A: Isolate Problems with a Single File

Create a new file (or two) using the same workflow methodology.

    • If the problem goes away, it could be a corrupt file.
  • Save the potentially corrupt file as an IDML file
    • reopen the IDML file and Save As a INDD file.
    • If problem goes away, keep good backups, and check all the graphics for possible corruption.
  • If a problem arrises when printing or exporting, isolate the problem using the "Binary Technique"
    • Try printing/exporting the first half of the file. For example, if the file is 48 pages, print/export the first 24.
    • Then try the second half.
    • If one half creats the error, output that into half again. For example, if the first half generates an error, print/export pages 1-12 and then 13-24.
    • Continue this process until you can isolate the problem pages.
      • Check to see if the pages contain any images or formatting that are causing the error. Delete items until you can track down the corruption.
      • Sometimes the entire page might be corrupt. Delete the entire page if necessary.

Test B: Create New User (on same computer)

Create a new user (you need to be an admin user to do this) and log in as the new user

  • Run InDesign, open the file
    • Package the files over to the shared Public folders, use a server, or use a flash drive.
  • If it does not persist, the problem is somewhere in the user's cache files.
  • If it does, the problem is probably with InDesign or the operating system.
    • This is assuming you did the IDML test already.

Test C: Try Another Computer

If the problem goes away when using another computer, the problem may be:

    • The operating system on the other computer—this includes font problems.
    • A corruption during the install of the InDesign software or plugin.
    • Some leftover user files that were not removed.

More Complex Options

Option 6: Uninstall the App and Reinstall

User the Creative Cloud app to remove InDesign. When asked, remove preferences.

  • Reinstall InDesign.
  • See if problem goes away; if not, continue to option 5.

Option 7: Use Adobe CC Cleaner

Download and install Adobe Creative Cloud Cleaner tool at:

  • Follow the instructions and remove InDesign completely.
  • Reinstall when finished.

Option 8: Repair the OS

This is beyond the scope of this information. Generally, both Windows and Macintosh have methods to repair or replace the OS during the startup procedure. Best to Google how to do the process, however some links are below (current at time of writing). Print it out so you will have it in front of you during the process.

Workflow Suggestions

Never copy-and-paste graphics--always Place them.

  • Check the Links panel to see if graphics have been pasted into InDesign.
  • You can unembed images if you still have access to the originals.

Change your fonts to OpenType or TrueType*

  • PostScript Type 1 fonts will not be supported by newer versions of InDesign.
  • Avoid platform specific formats, such as Dfont or Mac TrueType.
  • Adobe OpenType fonts end with Std (Standard) and Pro (Professional)

*Mac TrueType fonts are not cross-platform; Windows TrueType are.

Make regular backups.

  • If working on a single InDesign document, do a Save-As periodly and update the versioning number/date.
  • If working on a multi-file book document, manually back up the book folder by creating a zip archive.