XTM offers enhanced support to Adobe InDesign files 

Until recently XTM supported IDML files, but not INDD files. To meet requests voiced by our customers, XTM has been equipped with the InDesign Connector – a paid tool that has been developed to allow the processing of INDD files. The connector offers two components:

  • INDD     processing feature

  • Visual     Mode (WYSIWYG) for working with InDesign project

The optional XTM connector relies on the Adobe InDesign Server. The InDesign Server can be either licensed by our customers, or we can provide access to the XTM instance.

With the connector you can: 

  •     Upload and analyze INDD files

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

  •     Generate a WYSIWYG PDF document of the target file.

  •     Edit the translation – quickly and without hassle. The preview PDF document comes with live links from the text in the preview to the corresponding segment in XTM Workbench.

Note: Let our XTM Support Team know if you use any plugin with your Adobe InDesign. Not all of the actions offered by plugins are supported by XTM. 

How does XTM handle Adobe InDesign files? 

XTM supports three types of Adobe InDesign files:

                         Type                                                     InDesign Server                          Additional info

            Adobe             InDesign Markup Language (idml)


InDesign server not required for analysis



            InDesign             document (indd)


InDesign server required for analysis



            InDesignBook             (indb)


            The actual file is not used whilst being translated in the XTM             Workbench. It is needed only to generate a PDF preview.


InDesign Server

XTM uses Adobe InDesign Server to convert IDML and INDD files into XML files, which can then be translated in XTM. The InDesign Server is a standalone, dedicated server running on Windows systems. The conversion process goes two ways 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 comprising the translation is sent back to the InDesign Server and is outputted as an IDML or INDD file.

The files generated in the Server match the present Server version. So, as an 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 (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. 

  • If you are uploading files archived in a ZIP format, always check if files have been zipped correctly and if their file extension is the same as it was before the zipping process.      

  • Remember that XTM has limits on the size of the files you can upload,     depending on whether files are uploaded via UI (150 MB) or API     (time-out).      

  • The     InDesign Server places files in a queue and processes them one by one. In some cases, with many large files, the analysis may take quite a long time. This is because the file is still in the queue and must wait until the analysis of the preceding files is finished. On the XTM cloud, we currently have only one queue to analyze the InDesign files. Once the files are processed, they are sent back to XTM.

  • Adobe     InDesign software is subject to obligatory updates. If such a situation takes place, the XTM 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 as well as 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 intact to the translated target files. Even in highly formatted files, the in-line elements are visible in XTM Workbench. This means linguists may move them around as needed, to ensure they are appropriately placed in the target file.

  • Content planned for translation may not be set as locked or hidden by default. XTM allows for such behavior to be customized, namely, it is possible to collect such content for translation, but in that case the entire hidden or locked content will be taken for translation. 

  • Source content must fit inside the text frame. 

  • Text boxes in InDesign files are set as fixed. This means that the designers need to anticipate a scenario in which the translated text may be longer than in the source file. It cannot be changed by XTM     during target file generation. InDesign files have text box sizes specified on a case-by-case basis. If the translation is too long,     text boxes won't automatically expand stretch to encompass it.


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

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

  • When non-standard fonts are used in the project, add them to the project as Preview files or contact the XTM Support Team to have them installed for you XTM. 

  • If you are delivering additional files with fonts and images make sure they are all in a single, zipped folder.      

  • When creating a project, upload preview images in one of the three file formats that XTM supports, namely: JPG, PNG and SVG.

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