**UPDATE: This bug was fixed in ID CS5.5, ver. 7.5.3. You can fix it by updating CS5.5 with the latest updates, or by upgrading to CS6.**
Edit 11/12/11: Recently it came to my attention that the way I had reorganized the post wasn’t helpful to some readers so I’m rearranging it again. I first discovered this issue in May 2011; this post has become a rallying point for those experiencing the issue, in addition to the Adobe Support Forum thread on the issue. I’ve now placed the problem/solution at top of the post, followed by more lengthy updates, and then my original post. I’ve also added other work-arounds to the solution section that had originally been included only farther down in the write-up and in the comments. There is still no true fix from Adobe.
A PDF exported from an InDesign Book file displays incorrect page numbers for some chapters. The page numbers look correct in InDesign, and when the individual file is exported by itself the page numbers are correct. The problem only occurs when using the “Export Book as PDF” option from the book panel menu.
Adobe has acknowledged that this is a bug in the book panel. The problem seems to happen most often with files updated from CS4; creating files fresh in CS5 does not seem to cause the issue for most users. They are working on a true solution. Until then, a number of workarounds exist:
Clean the corrupted chapters via IDML. Detailed instructions as follows:
- Back up the book in a safe location.
- For each problem chapter, open the file, export as an IDML file (File menu: Export, then set export type to IDML), close, then open the IDML, do a save as, and save it over the problem InDesign file.
- Once this has been done for all problem files, open the book file. You’ll most likely have a yellow warning symbol next to each chapter you just replaced because it was edited outside of the book. Open each of the chapters and then close it, saving if prompted.
- I synchronized the book and updated all numbering just for good measure, but these steps were probably not necessary.
- Export the book as PDF. The PDF should have correct page numbers. (EDIT: IMPORTANT!!!) However, you may notice other chapters that used to work fine now have incorrect page numbers. Go back to step 2 and repeat the whole process until the book works properly.
- Breathe a sigh of relief and send the PDF off to whoever needs it.
or export PDF of individual problem document and replace pages using Acrobat (added 11/12/11)
warning: if you have interactive elements such has hyperlinks, bookmarks, or navigation buttons in your PDF file this workaround might cause some of your interactive elements to not work properly. This workaround requires Acrobat Standard or Pro.
- Export the book to PDF and find which chapters have the numbering problem.
- Open those documents in InDesign and export them to PDF individually (File: Export: Adobe PDF(Print). Be sure to select the appropriate options and include hyperlinks, bookmarks, etc. if necessary.
- Open your book PDF in Acrobat and open the pages panel.
- Select all pages for one problem chapter in the pages panel.
- Right-click on a selected page thumbnail and choose “Replace Pages” then select your individual PDF for that chapter. Those pages will be replaced, and the page numbers should be correct.
- Check for proper functionality of interactive elements.
- Repeat steps 4-6 for other problem chapters as needed.
or print to a PostScript file (.PS) and distill using Acrobat (added 11/12/11)
warning: this option will not preserve any interactive features. This Workaround requires Acrobat Standard or Pro.
- Print the book. Choose “PostScript File” as the printer. In my testing I used the “Device Independant” PPD. Many years ago when I did this regularly I would obtain the Distiller PPD from Adobe and install it so that the product would recognize it properly and select it from the list; you may get better results if you do this, but I don’t know if Adobe has a “current” PPD available.
- Save the .PS file to your desktop or other easy-to-locate place on your computer.
- If you have Acrobat 9 or 10, simply open it and go to file: Create PDF: from file, then choose the .PS file. You can alternately find the Distiller application, but this way should work just as well.
or simply go back to CS5/CS4 (added 11/12/11)
If you’re producing EPUBs or otherwise using features requiring new CS5.5 features, this isn’t really an option. For some people not heavily invested in the new features, it might work until Adobe fixes the issue.
or stop using the book panel (added 11/12/11)
Again, you’re producing EPUBs, this is probably not an option. Also, if you’re producing long documents that are graphics intensive, InDesign might have a hard time handling large single files.
Workaround Summary: I’ve been following the development of this issue closely ever since I ran into it in May of 2011, about a month after the release of CS5.5. I’ve attempted to list every workaround proposed in comments or in my own testing here, as well as on the Adobe Forums. My preferred method is still the IDML fix, as it preserves interactivity and allows the entire book to be exported as designed, and seems to work in the majority of cases. Yes, there are a few confirmed cases I’ve found where users seem to have followed the procedure properly and it did not fix their problem, but there are many others who have told me the procedure worked.
Update 9/6/2011: Just discovered my second case of this problem. In this instance, One chapter has “72” for every right hand page. How awful. Book is 808pp, 70 documents. Gritted my teeth, backed up the book, and got started. ROUND 1: I ran the problem document through IDML (open the document, export to IDML, close, open the IDML, and then save over the old INDD file), made a new PDF, and examined all the pages. Now that chapter was fixed but three other chapters were broken. ROUND2: I passed the three new problem chapters through IDML, made a new PDF, examined the pages, and all page numbers were correct. Verdict: FIXED using IDML workaround described above.
Other people have reported to me that the IDML workaround has not worked for them, but in most cases I’ve heard, they have NOT repeated the process more than once. For some reason, fixing one chapter will cause other chapters that previously worked fine to begin having the problem; it is necessary to work through the process repeatedly until the entire book is numbered properly.
UPDATE 8/24/2011: As it turns out this is not an isolated problem due to document corruption as I first suspected. I’ve still only experienced this issue in one of my books, out of about 20 or so that I’ve done so far in CS5.5—but as you can see in the comments, other users are experiencing it. I’ve just received word from Sarah (see comments) that Adobe support has confirmed this as a bug:
Thank you for contacting Adobe Technical Support.
As per the discussion with the senior level, I have logged this issue with my Product Team and Engineering Team as Bug # 182559740. Our Engineering Team will look into this issue, and if in the future a resolution or fix is possible, it will be available from the Adobe Systems product update web site: http://www.adobe.com/downloads/updates/
I am closing this case as of now and if you have any new information, please contact us within 14 days, with the details, so that we may re-open this support incident.
I apologize for the inconvenience caused.
Thank you for choosing Adobe.
Incidentally, Sarah also reported to me that earlier in her troubleshooting with Adobe, one Adobe Rep actuallycommitted plagiarism by sending her an exact copy of a portion of this article with no citation!
However, it is still true that many people are able to solve the problem using IDML. It is true that after fixing some documents with IDML, others that worked before might start having incorrect numbers, and that you might have to work through the process several times. However, the cause of the problem is apparently a bug in CS5.5’s book panel, and not a problem in the documents.
Also in the comments, Daniel mentioned another workaround and I wanted to add it to the actual post, since the IDML export is not fixing the problem for Sarah and perhaps other readers. I do mention it farther down in my notes section, but I’m guessing many readers don’t make it that far. Since exporting individual documents works fine, it is possible to export the PDFs separately and then put them together into a single PDF in Acrobat Pro. Obviously this isn’t an ideal solution, and it will not preserve TOC bookmarks and cross-document hyperlinks, but it’s a workaround if the IDML steps in this article don’t fix the problem. In most cases I believe the IDML workaround will solve the issue until Adobe releases a true fix.
(6/1/11)—I experienced a strange InDesign problem today and decided to post it here in case anyone else experiences it. I couldn’t find any help searching online, but I was able to eventually solve the issue through my own troubleshooting. Hopefully anyone else who runs into this problem will find this post and it will help them. It took me hours to troubleshoot it, but now that I know the process to solve it I’ll be able to get through it faster if it ever happens again.
It’s Ironic that just a couple days ago I wrote a post about using IDML to fix corrupted documents. Export to IDML is a common troubleshooting step; when you’ve narrowed the problem down to a single (or in this case just a few) document(s), use the IDML export to see if it fixes the problem.
IDML stands for InDesign Markup Language. It’s a special flavor of XML that perfectly preserves the content of your InDesign file, so you can Export to IDML and then open the IDML without any loss of information or structure. It seems the process does get rid of unnecessary and incorrect data, though, as it often cleans up problem files.
It seems for some reason my documents had become slightly corrupt. Luckily converting them to IDML and then back to regular InDesign files fixed the problem.
Not sure if this will ever happen again for me or anyone else. The documents were all created in CS5 from a template originally created in CS4. The book file was created in CS5. PDFs exported from CS5 were fine. I opened the book in CS5.5, used it to open all the chapters and saved the chapters, thinking this would properly update them to CS5.5. My guess is that this could have caused the problem. However, I have one other book that I was working on in CS5, which came from the same template, and I used this same method to update it to CS5.5—with no problems.
Since the files worked fine in CS5 it seems most likely the problem happened in the upgrade to CS5.5. Since all the chapters were based on the same original file, it’s possible that the problem was inherited by many of the documents in the book. Still, it’s very strange.
I’m not sure if the problem is worth reporting to Adobe because it could have been a one-time fluke. If it happens again to me or anyone else I’ll report it.
If anybody needs more info, I’ll share what I had to go through to figure this all out. Most people will probably find it long dull reading, but I reserve the right to rant every once in a while about troubleshooting nightmares, and this certainly qualifies. Besides, it’s good to see what else I tried that didn’t work, so you know the solution I found is a good one!
I have an InDesign book file containing 15 chapters plus front matter, each as a separate InDesign file. It was created recently in CS5. Today I opened all the files in CS5.5 and resaved them so they would be properly updated. I also saved the book file. Then I exported the entire book as a PDF using the option in the book panel menu, set to the “High Quality Print” preset.
Everything seemed fine until I noticed that the page numbers were incorrect for certain chapters. Chapter 7 displayed 75, 76, 75, 76, 75, etc. throughout the entire chapter, but then the next chapter would start off on the correct page number and continue just fine until the next problem chapter. The next problem chapter was Chapter 12, which was numbered 139, 140, 139, 142, 139, 144, 139, etc. And the final problem chapter was Chapter 15, which was numbered 181, 182, 181, 182, 181, etc. all the way through.
In Indesign all the page numbers looked fine. If I exported those chapters individually by opening them and exporting a PDF via the file menu they were just fine. In Acrobat, if I tried using the touchup text tool to fix the numbers, the numbers would change back to something incorrect after I edited them (that was REALLY weird)! However, I could delete the problem chapters from the PDF and then insert the PDFs that were exported individually back into the book. Of course, that’s a tedious work around, so I kept looking for a real solution.
I quit out of InDesign, restarted it, opened my book and tried exporting again, same results.
Thinking something might have become slightly corrupted in those three documents, I backed them up in another folder for safe keeping, then exported each as an IDML file, opened the IDML back into InDesign, and then saved it over top of the copy in the book. Then I opened the book, opened each problem chapter though the book to refresh it, synchronized the entire book for good measure, exported the book as a PDF, and…
Those 3 chapters were now correct, but now other chapters had problems! The problem chapters were now 2, 8, 9, and 14, and they had similar problems with their page numbering.
I decided to try some other things to see if they’d help. I tried opening the files from outside of the book, directly from the Finder. It seems opening them from the book and then saving them didn’t properly update them for CS 5.5, because when I opened them this way they had a “*” before their filenames at the top of the screen indicating they had been changed while opening. I tried doing a save as with the same file name on every document to force it to update. When I was done I reopened all the files to make sure no “*” appeared before any of the filenames. Then I made a new book and imported all the chapters into it. Exported the PDF, and found that none of these things had any effect.
I was getting quite frustrated by this point! I decided to go with the IDML route again. I closed the book file, opened up Chapters 2, 8, 9, and 14 independently of the book, exported each to IDML, closed them all, opened all the IDMLs, and saved them over the original InDesign documents. Then I again opened the book, Opened the files from within the book file, saved and closed them, saved the book, and exported the book to PDF. And this time…
Chapters 4 and 9 have messed up numbers! I’m guessing I might have done something wrong with Chapter 9 the previous time, so I just repeated the process on chapters 4 and 9. And this time when I exported the PDF….
IT WORKED. Finally. I’d had to use the IDML fix for 8 of the 15 chapters, but it was fixed.